Placer County homeless shelter shutting its doors

Published: Thursday, Jul. 26, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Thursday, Jul. 26, 2012 - 6:52 am

The Gathering Inn, which for nearly eight years has provided shelter and other services for homeless people in Placer County, has fallen victim to the same economic conditions that have affected its clients.

The nonprofit Roseville shelter, which is the only overnight program for the homeless between Sacramento and Reno, will close its doors Monday because of a lack of funds, executive director Suzi deFosset said Wednesday.

"Funding has dried up," deFosset said. "Grants are less available. Foundations aren't giving as much. Individual donations are down. We started this year with an $80,000 deficit, and we just haven't been able to shrink it down to nothing."

DeFosset said she intends to "bang on every door I can find" in an effort to reopen the shelter, which serves about 60 people a night. Unless new sources of funding can be found, 13 staff members will permanently lose their jobs, she said.

Each afternoon, the "nomadic shelter" offers people showers, clean clothes, social services and transportation to an area church where they can eat a hot meal and spend the night.

In recent years, "we have been seeing more families with younger kids," deFosset said. The Gathering Inn's clients also include people who suffer from mental illness and "medically fragile" men and women who suffer from diabetes and other ailments, she said.

The shelter will see its last clients Monday morning. Its health clinic and interim care program, which provides help for needy patients after they are discharged from the hospital, will remain open, said deFosset. The health clinic is staffed by volunteer nurses and doctors.

"People are very fearful," deFosset said of the news of the shelter's impending closure. "They honestly have no idea where they are going to go and what they are going to do."

DeFosset said she is seeking "community partners" and corporate sponsors who can help make the shelter financially stable during rough times.

"I need to know that we are going to be here year after year," she said. "I'm hopeful we can find that. There is no doubt in my mind that we will open again."

For information about the program or to donate, visit www.thegatheringinn.com. Checks can be mailed to The Gathering Inn at P.O. Box 297, Roseville, 95678.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Cynthia Hubert



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