Tahoe Coalition for the Homeless opens winter Warm Room
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — The Tahoe Coalition for the Homeless opened the doors to their new South Lake Tahoe Warm Room on Friday, Dec. 18. The facility, located off of Highway 50 on Silver Dollar Avenue, gives those in need a warm place to stay overnight during the winter and is free of charge.
“I think it’s very exciting. It’s something that people have been talking about for many years,” said Aaron Darke, a member of the coalition’s advisory board. “It’s ridiculously cold. People need somewhere to stay.”
The coalition is a joint effort between numerous nonprofit and civic organizations.
“It’s all privately funded,” coalition executive director and Barton Health physician Marissa Muscat said. “All sorts of different agencies have come together to work on this.”
The new warm room includes 20 cots and can accommodate up to 25 guests at a time.
Those in need may come to sleep or simply for a warm place to sit and stay dry.
The facility is open nightly from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and is expected to remain open as needed through the winter.
While the coalition doesn’t currently have a full kitchen or meal services on site, they do have limited facilities to cook instant foods and can provide free coffee.
“The warm room is a pilot program to see what kind of response we get,” Darke said of the group’s efforts so far.
After a failed attempt to setup a similar offering in the city’s recreation center, the group made arrangements to rent the previously unoccupied space through the winter. Darke and Muscat said the coalition will reassess their needs at the end of the season and potentially seek a more permanent location moving forward.
In addition to the accommodations, the warm room serves as a liaison to other public services to those in need.
“We’re trying to break the cycle of homelessness with resources,” Muscat said.
The organization is still looking for volunteers and will continue to accept donations through winter. Darke said they are currently working on a website, and hope to have it up some time in January.