Nevada City warming shelter opens for weekend |

Nevada City warming shelter opens for weekend

The Nevada City Veteran's Memorial Building at North Pine and Cottage Street.
John Hart/ | The Union

Facing a National Weather Service winter storm warning, Nevada City has allowed a homeless-servicing nonprofit to open a warming shelter at the town’s Veteran’s Building Friday through Sunday nights.

“We’re getting our teams ready,” said Janice O’Brien, a member of Sierra Roots, the nonprofit to whom the Nevada City Council granted temporary and conditional use of the Veteran’s Memorial Building as a cold-weather shelter at a contentious Nov. 20 meeting.

As of press time Friday, temperatures were forecasted to drop to 25 degrees Friday night into Saturday, with 100 percent chance of precipitation and 5 to 9 inches of snow expected, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures are expected to drop to as low as 10 degrees Saturday night, with an 80 percent chance of precipitation and 1 to 3 inches of snow possible. Sunday night’s low is forecasted at 16 degrees, though the clouds are expected to have dissipated by then.

The weekend opening of the warming shelter comes after two days of Nevada City refusing to allow its facilitation at the city-managed, county-owned building located at 415 N. Pine St.

“They are not bad people,” O’Brien said of the homeless. “They are cold people and hungry people.”

When Nevada City approved the use of the Veteran’s Building for a warming shelter during the 2010-11 winter, it established shelter-opening criteria, such as a temperatures below at least 28 degrees or “significant” below-freezing precipitation.

Though the weather services’ three Nevada City measuring points registered a low of 23 degrees Wednesday night into Thursday and an average of 23.6 degrees Thursday night into Friday, no shelter opened in Nevada City those nights. Instead, the Nevada County Salvation Army took in Nevada City’s homeless, as they did in the winter of 2012-13, though the organization no longer possesses the large van it used to transport people that winter and has informed the city it cannot continue to shelter the homeless from the cold.

On Thursday night, the Salvation Army sheltered 25 people from the cold, O’Brien said.

“Salvation Army was very full,” she said. “They aren’t prepared to take so many people.”

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email or call 530-477-4236.

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