Every person deserves food on their plate and a roof over their head, unfortunately, many neighbors in the North Tahoe – Truckee region face these challenges daily. North Tahoe-Truckee Homeless Services (NTTHS) works to provide access to human necessities and end homelessness, one person at a time. Today we share a story of success based on a letter we received from our newly housed neighbors who we will refer to as Kathy and Spot.
It is June 2023, I was living and working out of my vehicle with my dog, Spot. During this time, my clutch went out and so I parked the vehicle in a “safe” place until I could save enough to get it fixed. A friend let me know about the Day Center run by North Tahoe-Truckee Homeless Services (NTTHS), I went there and began to communicate with staff about resources they offered at their center.
On my first day, I completed an intake, did laundry, received a hot meal and a hot shower. After a week of coming to the center, my vehicle got towed and I found myself with no home, living outside most nights. I continued my search for housing while stopping by the day center for meals for myself and Spot.
I continued to work and searched for higher paying jobs because the cost of living and housing in Truckee and Tahoe is extremely high. We were able to use NTTHS’s mailing address to complete the applications. I got offered a job but needed to go to Reno for pre-employment screenings, the team at the Day Center arranged a ride for me, and I was able to secure the job.
I kept searching for housing but began about a 3-month chapter of my life that felt like a never-ending nightmare. I stayed with friends for a few days at a time. I slept in the stairwells of apartments that I had access to. I slept outside on sidewalks and abandoned porches and patios with Spot, my dog, scared and crying myself to sleep. Then, waking up early enough to clean up somewhere to get to work on time and hide my secret about being homeless.
The housing crisis had turned into a living nightmare for me. I kept asking myself….” how did I get here?” Before this I had never in my 60 years been homeless. I have been independent and self-sufficient my whole life and have been employed since I was 14 years old.
When I asked the day center staff for help, they informed me I may qualify for housing assistance through their Rapid-Rehousing program. They made me feel worthy again and gave me the inner strength to keep moving forward when I wanted to quit. I did not have anywhere else to go. I was at the bottom and lowest I have ever been. There was a path out and NTTHS led the way for me. NTTHS welcomed me and Spot. The community, on the other hand, looked down on us and judged us for not having a home. People looked away when I went to the store un-showered and obviously living without a roof or water. I felt humiliated and embarrassed many times, but I had to overcome the situation.
Fortunately, NTTHS connected me with Placemat and with support from NTTHS’s Rapid Rehousing program, Spot and I are now housed! I do not know what would have happened to us if it was not for these programs and people. I am so grateful for the help I received through the support of NTTHS’s staff and housing funds.
Know that NTTHS made a difference in our lives, and we will be forever grateful, Kathy and Spot
To learn more about our services, volunteering, donations, and how you can help us support neighbors like Kathy and Spot, visit our website: www.NTTHomelessServices.com. On the home page you will find a link to our Annual Report which shares statistics and more stories of neighbors engaging in these services. You can also reach NTTHS by calling our program phone, 530-386-7954 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.