Grant to help Warm Room operations this winter | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Grant to help Warm Room operations this winter

Motivational signs created by local students cover the walls at the Warm Room during the 2016-17 season.

The South Lake Tahoe Warm Room recently received a financial boost in its efforts to open and operate for the 2017-18 season.

The Sierra Health Foundation awarded Tahoe Coalition for the Homeless (TCH), the nonprofit that operates the Warm Room, a $15,000 grant for the operation of the overnight emergency shelter.

"This grant will go a long way in helping us get up and running this winter," Marissa Muscat, executive director, said in a press release. "We appreciate the Sierra Health Foundation for their acknowledgment that the health of community individuals is improved by having a safe and warm place to sleep at night."

The Sierra Health Foundation is an independent foundation committed to supporting health-related activities in Northern California.

Now preparing for its third season, the Warm Room provides a refuge to the area's homeless from Tahoe's harsh winter elements. In 2016-17, more than 200 individuals and businesses supported Warm Room operations.

According to TCH, Warm Room was open 137 nights, served 136 individuals, and provided over 5,500 shelter bed nights.

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TCH also provides emergency motel rooms for families with children under 18, and did so for seven families with children last winter. The majority of guests were Tahoe locals when they became homeless, and 26 percent were employed, according to TCH. The average guest stayed 25 nights last winter.

The Warm Room provides light food and drink and referrals to resources, in addition to shelter. Last season guests received referrals to the mental health department, substance abuse programs, medical appointments, job boards/job training information, and more.

Donations to TCH can be made at tahoehomeless.org or mailed to PO Box 13514, South Lake Tahoe, CA, 96151. Contact Jenny Kossman at jkossman@tahoehomeless.org to learn about operating a supply drive and how to donate supplies. Contact Marissa Muscat at tahoewarmroom@gmail.com for questions regarding the Warm Room's operations.