Since Election Day 2012, Nevada City seniors have intentionally met and occupied public space in the town’s historic downtown in an outreach effort to homeless individuals, the disenfranchised and the youth.
“Basically, the object is for us to get to know the individuals,” said Reinette Senum, who chairs the Nevada City Sustainability Team, at Tuesday’s meeting of the Nevada City Council.
The campaign, launched by See Jane Do’s, Elisa Parker, volunteer coordinator Katherine Doolittle and Senum, is called The Grandmother Pledge.
The goal of The Grandmother Pledge is to build a stronger sense of community, awareness and safety for the public, merchants and visitors.
Initially, The Grandmother Pledge was celebrated by 60 participants on the Boardwalk on Commercial Street.
A Feb. 23 workshop has been designed to give a comprehensive overview of the program, provide a deeper understanding of challenges on the streets of Nevada City and brainstorm solutions.
“We’re going to address many of the misconceptions of homelessness because there are a lot of them,” Senum said.
Topics to be discussed at the 90-minute workshop include addictions; mental, emotional and anger issues; and social-skill building. Resources and tools that foster trust and relationships while establishing clear boundaries will also be shared.
“My heart is being turned. I am really understanding the graciousness, the kindness and the caring the homeless of our community have,” said workshop presenter Janice O’Brien, vice president of Sierra Roots, a local homeless advocacy group.
“I so much want the interface between the homeless and the ordinary citizen,” O’Brien said.
Also available during the workshop will be lessons learned by Hospitality House’s outreach coordinator, Jeffrey Dupra, Nevada City Police Department officer Shane Franssen and Bill Peach, the first person to earn exemption from Nevada City’s homeless-curbing no-camping ordinance.
“Ultimately, we are trying to create a space where we can come together, face to face, and deal with some of the most complicated issues of our times,” Senum said in a statement. “While the roles of government, organizations and churches continue to play a significant role in addressing these challenges, it also requires more daily interaction by community members. We’re calling upon the grandparents for this.
To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4236.