We watched the town hall meeting on homelessness in Nevada City last night on NCTV (a station where we are “regulars”). The room was packed. It showed what a complex problem we face — and it is likely to get worse, as some speakers noted.
But the panel, which included homeless advocates, “electeds” and public health officials (Reinette Senum, Jeff Brown, Joanna Robinson and others), showed that good work is being done in our area.
I’m glad we’re getting ahead of possible problems before winter — unlike last year when a homeless person died in the cold (unacceptable, whatever the circumstances, in a small community such as ours).
We’re going to be more prepared, and our community seems more “aligned” on homelessness too. County supervisors and Council members from Grass Valley and Nevada City were all present last night. Thanks to Robert Bergman for his communications and organization efforts.
We’re all a step closer to homelessness than we think. Years ago in retirement, my father — a button-down oil exploration geologist and executive — volunteered for the U.S. Census in Western Sonoma County and helped count the homeless — no easy task.
He met people under bridges or in encampments who said they never expected to wind up homeless — but they lost their job, or their spouse, or they got sick without insurance and so on. It was a good lesson for me while growing up. I’ve always respected that concept — almost anyone can wind up homeless.
Resident Tom Durkin, who volunteers at Hospitality House, set up his laptop so all of the guests there could watch the town hall meeting.
The town hall meeting came amid a shakeup on the Hospitality House board. “A group of people called Friends of Hospitality House had lost confidence in the Hospitality House board because of their lack of fundraising and poor management decisions,” according to a statement in the afternoon.
The previous board resigned and a new one was named: “Joanna Robinson will be the new president, Doug Lautzenhiser will be the new vice president, and Christine Gentilhomme will be the new secretary. All are co-founders of the organization who helped to create the mission and core values that Hospitality House stands for. Other new board members include Ben Emery, Tammie Hamilton, Julia Jordon, Cindy Maple, and Susanna Wilson. The new board will actively recruit additional new members.
This is a good group of people; many of them comment here regularly about local issues.
It’s less constructive to pass judgment on the “changing of the guards” on the Hospitality House board, because there’s so much work to do going forward. It is a reminder, however, that being a board member on a nonprofit (we have so many of them) is hard work and stressful.
Each year, we try to make a generous donation to a nonprofit here — sort of rotating around. In the past, it’s been The Center for the Arts, then the Friendship Club. This time, we’ll be donating money to Hospitality House to help with their permanent home.
The other day, we received an invitation for a tour of the permanent Hospitality House building this weekend, and it’s on top of my desk in the “to do” pile. Our family is looking forward to it.
Thanks to all our residents who care about our homeless.
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