Day center for homeless, mentally ill to open in Carson City | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Day center for homeless, mentally ill to open in Carson City

Rhonda Costa-Landers

Kevin Clifford/Tribune News Service/ Volunteer Victoria Erwin stains a cabinet while her husband Joseph sweeps the floor on Thursday in preparation for the opening of "Do Drop In." The building will be a daytime drop-in center for homeless and mentally ill persons.

CARSON CITY – When Dee Dee Foremaster talks about the realization of her longtime dream being fulfilled, tears come to her eyes.

Foremaster, a licensed social worker, has received a grant to open a new day center in Carson City for the homeless and mentally ill. As director of the new “Do Drop In,” she will be doing the same work as her position of director of the Rural Center for Independent Living.

“When I first started this project, a board member gave me this key chain that says, ‘To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.’ It’s given me a lot of inspiration.”

The Do Drop In is a place with information on jobs and housing, and where clients can keep in contact with family via a computer kiosk or just hang out. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“People who are on the street often hang around public places,” Foremaster said. “Casinos, the library, businesses.

“We are giving people who are homeless or have disabilities a place to go. They can watch TV, relax, and know they’re safe. That is most important – that they feel safe.”

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That is why Foremaster moved the Center for Independent Living in with the Do Drop Inn. The CIL is a federally funded program. With this in mind, it assures Foremaster a location for the day center. The rent is already paid for one year.

Several volunteers including Joseph and Victoria Erwin, J.J. Maes, Andrea and Greg Johnson, Lynda Allen, Theresa Simmons and Jeannie White have worked numerous hours to help Foremaster prepare for Tuesday’s grand opening.

“This has been a community effort,” Foremaster said. “And without community assistance, the homeless will continue to stay homeless. In order for this to succeed, we need continued community support. I pray to God the religious community will support me.”

The project got off the ground with a $15,000 grant from Todd Butterworth with the Office of Disability Services, with the Division of Health and Human Services. Foremaster also received a lot of help from Chris Bayer with Court Appointed Special Advocates.

In addition to job and living resources, the center will have food and coffee. The Friends in Service Helping van will pick up anyone at the center at 3 p.m. and take them to the FISH dining room for a meal.

Monte Fast, executive director of FISH, called Foremaster a tiger when it comes to getting things done.

“She’s a down-in-the-trench warrior. She fights for her clients,” Fast said.

Foremaster needs volunteers, donations and a little bit of carpentry work to complete the center.

“We could use an air conditioner and someone to install it,” she said. “Area rugs, cleaning supplies, paper products, a refrigerator, hand soap, single-seating chairs, books, games, videos or DVDs and magazines.

“And some minor construction to put up a couple of sound walls and electrical outlets. We are a nonprofit; it’s tax-deductible.”

Fast said FISH serves much of the homeless and mentally ill already, but most of those clients don’t have a place to go during the day or a place to get necessary resources.

“This is an important thing, especially in adverse weather,” Fast said.

Fast believes Carson City will continue its supportive action.

“We need support systems, like churches and civic groups with volunteers, and cash flow,” he said. “Dee Dee is a licensed social worker. Maybe she can get some of the homeless people to change their minds and get their life straightened out.

“This has been a missing part of the puzzle in Carson City.”

Members of Foremaster’s Gold Star Committee will be on hand for the grand opening Tuesday from 4-6 p.m. They are some of Foremaster’s first clients who have succeeded in getting off the street and securing a job.

Those interested in volunteering or donating can call Foremaster at the Do Drop In at (775) 841-2580.

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