Opinion: Homeless in Tahoe | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Opinion: Homeless in Tahoe

When I first arrived in Tahoe people often joked about the homeless. The joke went something like this: Lake Tahoe has a built-in remedy for the homeless — it’s called snow. The sad but untold truth is that homelessness exists here year-round.

September is the beginning of the Jewish High Holy Days. It is a time for reflection and to take stock of all the blessings we enjoy. It is also time to remember those less fortunate.

It is so gratifying that Temple Bat Yam is filled with such kind-hearted people who do more than just think about those less fortunate; they actively do something about it. Rabbi Evon Yakar makes it clear that each of us has an obligation to serve those in need. Commitment to this philosophy grows stronger each year. It is the reason why I remain a steadfast supporter of the temple and all it does for this community

Too often we forget that many of our co-workers, neighbors, relatives and friends may find themselves out on the street with no where to go. Whether it’s due to abusive behavior, mental illness or just bad luck, these individuals are in desperate straits and need to find warm shelters to survive our harsh winters. As the saying goes “there but by the grace of God goes I.”

This year Temple Bat Yam, in alliance with the Unity Church Spiritual Center, is volunteering time and resources for the South Tahoe League for the Homeless.

I have never participated in the start of a grassroots organization before. Being a volunteer has been a real education for me. So much research and leg work has gone in to this project. There is, of course, the public relations and speaking, grant writing, setting up a website and event planning. And Temple Bat Yam is right there to support their endeavors to help shelter the homeless this winter.

As of yet, no place is available to actually shelter the homeless; but we at Temple Bat Yam are involved in the investigation to locate appropriate housing. At this time we are collecting food and clothing for the homeless. Events have been planned. If anyone in our community knows of a facility that might be available, please email me.


A Good Samaritan was driving when he saw two people bending over in the grass. He decided to see why. He walked over to them and asked what they were doing. The woman said they were homeless and grass was the only thing they could eat. The Good Samaritan said, ‘’You can eat over at my house.’’ The woman said, ‘’We have nine children ­— will there be enough?’’ ‘’Oh yes, ‘’ the Good Samaritan replied, ‘’the grass is 2 1/2 inches taller over there.’’

Amy Snelson is a resident of South Lake Tahoe and a congregant of Temple Bat Yam. She may be reached at amyjosnelson@gmail.com.

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