Tree of Lives by Franceska Alexander

Tree of Lives by Franceska Alexander

Sierra Roots has been working with the long-term homeless persons in our town of Nevada City since 2010, after one of our people actually froze to death on a cold winter night. Our outreach involves developing the critical trusting relationship necessary for transitioning into affordable housing and/or needed treatment. We are ready now to find or create affordable housing for safety, privacy, independence and self management in community that is the next stage called “Housing First”.

Housing First means that housing, in a warm, safe and secure place with a caring community is in itself treatment for these individuals who have been alienated from family and society sometimes for years. The high anxiety, severe depression and hopelessness these people suffer is only exacerbated by use of drugs or alcohol to take the edge away. Non-judgmental acceptance and interaction with these homeless individuals is the first step to building trust and friendship. We have already experienced a reduction of alcohol and drug use.

Our lunch program creates community gatherings with acceptance and appreciation of all. We have developed trust and acceptance from those we have worked with for the last four years. Our next critical step is to secure a viable piece of land ( 3-5 acres or more) that is close to town or on a bus line on which we will, with the help of the residents, begin to build up to 30 micro houses. Sierra Roots is working with the County Continuum of Care and have set up a task force group to take immediate steps towards acquiring land for housing our homeless population as soon as possible.

Elected officials have to see the practicality of one such solution to the number of homeless individuals who camp illicitly in the forests, parks and under the bridges in Nevada City and Grass Valley. If the citizens of these two cities want to rid the community of the unsightly and unhealthy camps that have been set up on the edges of the towns, then we have to do something else that is managed and planned for the health and well being of all – the homeless individuals as well as the larger community.

These folks have become our family and we care about them as they care about us.  Together we want to build a safe and stable village of micro houses that would serve all who do not have enough income to even rent a room or apartment, even if there were such available. We know there is very, very little available in this community.  We are in a serious housing crisis in both Nevada City and Grass Valley. At no cost to the County or Cities, Sierra Roots and all supporters of this solution are ready to set up a community of micro houses in which individuals can live safely and healthily as we build the houses together and set up sustainable projects such as an aquaponics garden, bee keeping, an orchard.

We would then begin cottage industries to help us keep the community solvent. The homeless people of Nevada City, Sierra Roots as the non-profit, and many volunteers and supporters of such a solution are ready.  We just need the land where we can start. We need big money, trained volunteers and advocates who will help us fill the chambers of the County Supervisors and the City Council when we present our proposal to the elected officials. Please let us know how you want to help us and if you support our idea for an immediate solution for 30-40 people who now live outside through all kinds of weather. They need homes and care. Please help us and let us know what you can do and will do.  We thank you in advance.