Is the number of homeless individuals in our region increasing? How do agencies work with those who are living in their cars at trailhead parking lots? A Tahoe City resident reached out to Moonshine Ink about a car that spent much of the summer parked at 64 Acres, and in response, U.S. Forest Service staff shares what’s allowed and what’s not.
On a different note, after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe versus Wade this summer, we were curious about whether local healthcare services saw an increase in elective abortions and utilization of family-planning resources. Tahoe Forest Health System doesn’t offer elective abortions, nor does the Nevada County Public Health Truckee clinic, thus the answer from Nevada County focuses on contraception. There are no elective abortion clinics in Truckee or all of Tahoe. The clinics closest to the area that provide abortion services are in Reno or Grass Valley.
Do Nevada/Placer counties have a count of how many homeless individuals there are in the Truckee/North Tahoe area? Has the number changed over the past few years? What trends are the organizations seeing with these individuals?
A Point in Time Count is a one-night estimate of populations staying in shelters, sleeping in their cars, outside, or other places not meant for human habitation. The 2022 North Lake Tahoe Truckee PIT Count identified 41 individuals experiencing homelessness. This count’s methodology provides one data point for understanding regional homelessness, although it doesn’t quantify housing-insecure individuals who are “couch surfing.”
A secondary method of tracking regional homelessness is engaging guests who access North Tahoe Truckee Homeless Services. Last year, 306 individual guests accessed the Day Respite Center, and 54 guests used the Emergency Warming Center.
Homelessness and housing insecurity have been increasing in recent years, exacerbated by the local housing crisis. We’ve seen a rise in the number of people who are newly unhoused and leaving the area for alternative housing.
While more local housing is still needed, new affordable units in Truckee, combined with NTTHS case management, helped 40 households (44 individuals) secure housing over the past year. We’re excited for the 2023 opening of Brown Bear Studios in Kings Beach. Formerly known as the 7 Pines Motel, this property (currently undergoing renovation) will provide 12 more units of permanent supportive housing for our unhoused neighbors.
~ Jazmin Breaux, Homeless Resource Council of the Sierras board, and Cathie Foley, NTTHS director
Does the U.S. Forest Service often face situations where people are living in their cars in camping areas for extended periods of time?
Yes; this type of activity is a known issue on the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, as well as other national forests in California. On national forest lands in the Lake Tahoe Basin, camping is permitted for a maximum period of 14 days in developed campgrounds and within 300 feet of the Pacific Crest and Tahoe Rim trails. The 300-foot camping buffer along the Pacific Crest and Tahoe Rim trails is intended for backpackers navigating the trails, but yes, as the order currently stands, one could utilize a vehicle for 14 days to camp within 300 feet of the Tahoe Rim Trail. That said, car camping in parking areas can be problematic due to lack of restrooms and trash service.
If our law enforcement finds that someone is staying beyond the 14-day limit, failure to abide by the prohibitions found within Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations, part 261, could range from a warning to criminal penalties up to six months in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.
~ Lisa Herron, public affairs specialist, USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
Since the overturning of Roe vs. Wade this past June, has the Nevada County Public Health clinic in Truckee experienced any increases or changes in utilization of its maternal health services? Does the clinic offer abortion services?
Public health’s Truckee clinic does not offer abortion services. Its focus is on helping women and men develop a plan for “if and when” they would like to start a family and review contraception methods that can support that plan. Since June, more women have been inquiring about longer-acting birth control methods such as the IUD or implant, and there have also been more men asking about vasectomies.
~ Taylor Wolfe, Nevada County public information officer