It may sound simple, but it’s actually fundamental: humans need food, water, air and shelter to survive. Only when these basic needs are met can a person move from struggling, to surviving, to thriving, able to focus on higher needs and connect to community. Housing ends homelessness and starts a full life.
Consider the story of our 55-year-old friend "Mary." She grew up coming to her family’s Tahoe cabin, vacationing during the summers and winters. She loved this area, and in her early twenties moved here to build a life. Like many people, she worked at the ski resorts, helping visitors enjoy their time and make memories while doing something she loved.
One day, she began experiencing unusual heart palpitations and went to the ER to learn she needed surgery. She expected a routine procedure with a short recovery time－but complications set in. At the end of her long hospital stay, she left without her 10 toes. With this loss and extended hospitalization, she was unable restart work at the resorts or at any job requiring long hours on her feet.
During this ordeal, Mary lost her housing. With ongoing physical challenges and no housing, her health declined quickly. She didn't have family support or ties to another area, so she stayed here, doing the best she could.
Fortunately, she connected with North Tahoe - Truckee Homeless Services where we were able to give her basic necessities: a warm meal, space to be, a shower. She then engaged with a case manager who helped her make doctors’ appointments, collect her vital documents, and form housing plans. When affordable housing became available in Truckee, Mary was able to complete applications and submit needed documents with NTTHS support.
We also connected her to FREED, an amazing organization that promotes “independence and self-determination for people with disabilities through person-driven services, collaborative community partnerships and education, and leadership that advocates for fully inclusive communities.” Its support has opened the way for Mary to receive her Social Security benefits.
And FREED helped her qualify for a Supportive Housing unit dedicated to adult community members with physical, mental, or developmental disabilities. Without having to wait for her Social Security process to resolve, Mary has been able to move into her own apartment, thanks to FREED’s assistance with the federal program HDAP (Housing and Disability Advocacy Program).
Mary is at last home: supported by weekly visits from a nurse and social worker and still connected to FREED and NTTHS. As she regains stability, she’s able to start taking better care of herself and work toward new life goals. Facing another major surgery in the next 6 months, Mary is grateful to have a warm, safe apartment to go to when it's time to heal.
Mary’s story is about housing, but so much more. It’s about rebuilding a life and building community. This is what a healthy community does: we care for our vulnerable members so they not only survive. They thrive－and take their valuable place in our diverse fabric of neighbors and friends.
This beautiful quilt came from Michelle's post on Island Life Quilts: https://islandlifequilts.blogspot.com/search?q=house+pattern
Thank you to all who support NTTHS with time, talent and finances and play a vital part in every success story ❤️