Family center needs support of community
Outlining needs at the Booth Family Center
Ron Cherry, Grass Valley Salvation Army board chairman, wrote to The Union to describe needed donations and improvements at the Booth Family Center.
Donations to may be made to the Salvation Army, P.O Box 1358 Grass Valley CA 95945. Furniture or other material donations may be made at the Salvation Army, 10725 Alta St. in Grass Valley, and specify that it’s for Booth Family Center. Call 530-274-3500 for information.
1. Beds: Most of the beds are in disrepair. We have had “Band-Aid” fixes for them for the past few years. They are getting to the point where the paint is chipping off and bars are breaking underneath the full-size mattresses.
2. Floors: The floors were replaced right before we bought the place. At this point, they are really bad. With the high volume of traffic that we have in and out and some water damage in the kitchen, it just looks gross. It is possible that they would just need to be stripped and waxed; however, the kitchen/dining room is past that point. We mop that room every night, and the flooring is starting to come up in the corners.
3. Dining room and family room floor: When you are standing in the dining room and family room, the floor slopes down. We went and looked underneath, and the entire beams that support the floor are bowed.
4. Deck: When the deck was built, it was built right up against the buildings. Because of this, water soaks the board and then sits right up against the building, which is damaging the building. The deck boards are also breaking, and we’ve replaced a few. Mostly, the whole area needs repair, and a “trap door” needs to be installed on the deck around the water heater so that we can access the pipes and shut-off valve underneath.
5. Walls: A few of the rooms have damaged dry wall, especially in the bathrooms. There are no fans in the bathrooms, which causes a ton of moisture to build up there. I think this has slowly broken down the walls in some of the bathrooms.
6. Windows: A couple years ago, we found a hole in the window on 111. We don’t know how it got there, but it is there and window really needs to be replaced.
7. Toilets and sinks: In the bathrooms there are many toilets and sinks that need to have an “overhaul.” Some of them need to be replaced while others need to have their seals checked. Many of the sinks appear to be completely stained and gross because, over the years, the enamel has worn off and now you just see brown and/or metal. The drains in all of the sinks need to be replaced as well. Some of the sinks are attached to the wall, and some of them have wooden pedestals under them.
8. Tile in bathrooms: All of the bathrooms have original tile. It is a peachy-pink color, and some is cracked. One of the bathrooms has “squishy” tile meaning that it feels like there is water under the tile around the toilet. Most of the grout in the bathroom needs to be seriously scrubbed or re-done.
9. Showers: A few showers leak on and off. As soon as we call someone out to look at them they suddenly stop leaking. It is really annoying. Some of the shower heads also need to be replaced. I have replaced a few but am always finding new problems with the old ones. Some of the shower doors also leak.
10. Speed bump: We would like to put a speed bump in by the stop sign at the bottom of the parking lot.
11. A/C and heater units: Each room is set up with an A/C and heater unit. These units are in serious need of service. Over the years the front panels on each of them have broken. Estimates for new units run about $2,000 each to replace and many are at that point.
12. Ceiling fans: We have replaced several of the ceiling fans, but there are several more that will need replacement in the next year or so.
13. Lighting: The wall sconces in the room seem to work OK in that they light up. The problem is that they aren’t really bright enough to light the room. We have bunk beds in all of the rooms, and they generally block out the light and cast large shadows, making the room seem really dark.
14. Small items: We need a supply of plastic mattress covers. We lack pillows because most families never have any when they arrive.
15. TV cables: We need to organize the cable cords in each of the rooms. Some of them are hanging out of the wall.
Rocío Ramirez knows how important the Booth Family Center has been to her family.
A mother of three who is now 32 weeks pregnant, Ramirez says it boils down to a basic necessity of life.
“Just having a place to live,” Ramirez said, “that my kids have a place to live.”
The Booth Family Center, operated by the Salvation Army, opened in 2008 on Rough and Ready Highway. Before the Salvation Army took over, the facility was known as the Manzanita Family Center and similarly served as a safe haven for families going through poverty, struggling with abuse issues or who could no longer afford their homes.
Homeless prevention is the main goal of the Booth Center, guiding families toward permanent homes and living independently on their own. The Booth Center offers a six-month-long program, which in addition to providing a place to stay, has individual weekly sessions with each family to make sure it is staying on track with its plan to find a place to live.
In addition, the center offers alcohol and drug prevention classes, parenting classes, budgeting classes and many more forms of counseling to help ensure families will be able to make it on their own.
“These families want to be self-sufficient,” said new Salvation Army officer Sid Salcido. “We want them to move forward in their lives. Most of these people never thought they’d ever be in a homeless shelter, and we want to help them get back on track.”
Sid Salcido and his wife, Reyna, who previously lived in Southern California, have been the Grass Valley Salvation Army officers for the past four weeks, taking over for Don and Martha Sheppard, who took on new assignment in Tacoma, Wash., after a three-year stint in Grass Valley.
“… And we’re loving every minute of it,” said Reyna Salcido. “Grass Valley is a wonderful town, the community here is so welcoming, and they are all really supportive of Salvation Army.”
Among the needs requiring their early attention are facility improvements at the Booth Center, which has fallen into a state of substantial disrepair, beginning with the beds provided for its guests.
“We have had ‘Band-Aid’ fixes for them for the past few years,” Grass Valley Salvation Army Chairman Ron Cherry wrote to The Union in providing a list of improvements needed at the Booth Center (see below). “They are getting to the point where the paint is chipping off and bars are breaking underneath the full-size mattresses.”
Guests such as Ramirez can’t help but notice the deteriorating accommodations, but instead of dwelling on the disrepair, she focused on more immediate needs such as additional blankets for her family members. For a request as simple as blankets, even the smallest gift or donation can go a long way, she said. And the Booth Family Center is asking for the community’s help, whether in the form of funding or donated materials, labor or service expertise.
“The hard part of this job though is when we can’t help people — when we don’t have a solution,” said Sid Salcido. “There are nine families in the shelter right now, the majority of them with infants and children. We feel embarrassed that families have to stay in those rooms with such horrible conditions. We need people to reach out and support.”
For all the good it does in transitioning homeless families, it needs support from the community, the Salcidos said. From items such as mattresses to lawn mowers to refurbishing toilets and sinks or dealing with mold issues, the shelter needs immediate help in order to continue providing a healthy and stable home for these families.
“This entire place is supported by a few grants and funding from the community,” said Sarah Eastberg, who has been the director of the Booth Family Center for the past two years. “For a lot of people here, this is their only place to go, so I think it’s really important to keep a place like this up and functioning, so when people come in, it is nice and organized and they, themselves, can function.
“Many of these families came from overcrowded apartments, camping. We even have a lot of people who were couch hopping. The families here will be much more successful going out (to improve their lives) when they have a stable place to come from.”
Maya Anderman is a Nevada Union High School graduate working as an intern at The Union. Contact her via email at email@example.com.
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