What happens when you merge four long-standing service organizations? --You get Sierra Community House, North Lake Tahoe/Truckee’s primary crisis response and social service organization. Together, we share resources and better serve our community. Eight months into our first year as Sierra Community House, COVID-19 demanded that we shift to socially distanced service delivery. We experienced an incredible increase in demand for services including food, rental and utility assistance, legal guidance, safety and support for families experiencing domestic and sexual violence and child abuse, and mental health resources.
COVID-19 has significantly increased the number of people in our community who are vulnerable to the negative impacts of poverty and isolation. For many, it has amplified the precariousness of life in Tahoe-Truckee, the fragility of our economy and how many of us are one paycheck away from needing critical support.
More people are accessing our services – many for the first time.
-- Prior to COVID-19, Sierra Community House provided food to 180 unique households weekly. This number has climbed to 388, an increase of 216%.
-- Since March, we have provided $280,794 in direct rental assistance to help 150 families retain housing. In addition, we mobilized $128,371 in utility assistance through partnerships with Truckee Donner Public Utility District and Southwest Gas.
-- We are seeing an increase in domestic and sexual
violence and violence against children as the pandemic economy
continues to be a source of stress and frustration in families. During the 6 month period of January – June 2020, we received 620 calls to our Helpline– this compared to a total of 706 in all of 2019.
-- Demand has increased for legal advocacy as more community members face the possibility of eviction due to reduced or lost wages. Our legal advocates help renters and landlords to reach agreements and to understand complicated and frequently changing moratoriums at the local, state and federal levels.
In July 2020 Sierra Community House celebrated our 1 Year Anniversary of the merger of four social service organizations (Family Resource Center of Truckee, North Tahoe Family Resource Center, Project MANA and Tahoe SAFE Alliance). It was an opportunity to reflect on how far we have come and how our services are better aligned to meet
the needs of our community. As four separate organizations, we would
not have been able to serve the volume of individuals needing assistance during the pandemic. As one organization, we’ve been able to share resources across programs to meet the demand.
It is only through donations and volunteer support that we can ensure continued availability of safety net services for those in need during this uncertain and difficult time.
Your generous gift will provide support and relief to those persons impacted by the ongoing health emergency. In the unlikely event donations exceed expenses for this specific situation, contributions will be used for Sierra Community House's entire mission. We use your gifts where they can do the most good by pooling them with gifts of others to help connect and empower our North Lake Tahoe/Truckee community through family strengthening, crisis intervention, hunger relief and legal services.