In less than three months, Do Drop In Director Dee Dee Foremaster has helped eight homeless people find living accommodations and several others gain employment. But on Dec. 15, the Do Drop In will be homeless.
Foremaster was served an eviction notice last week by the Carson City Sheriff's Department on behalf of property owner Joann Sheerin. Foremaster has until Dec. 15 to vacate the space she helped renovate as a day-shelter.
"We were served a 'no due cause' eviction notice, which means she (Sheerin) doesn't have to give a reason," Foremaster said.
Sheerin couldn't be reached for comment. She left a message on Foremaster's home recorder saying she received several calls from other tenants who are "unhappy with the center's clients loitering and causing problems."
"I don't know what the problem is," Foremaster said. "I haven't the faintest idea. There have been only two problems I knew about, and I resolved both of them immediately. As far as I know, only those two problems."
The Carson City Sheriff's Office said they have no record of a civil complaint at the center's address.
A neighboring business asked Foremaster to move the center's smoking area, so she did. Sheerin asked Foremaster to remove a homeless person staying in a fenced area near a Dumpster.
"I even gave them a broom and told them to clean the area up, and they did."
Foremaster signed a one-year lease on the space at No. 4 411 Hot Springs Road. On Wednesday, she held a Thanksgiving luncheon for her clients, many of whom helped cook the meal.
"This place helped get my friend off the street," said Ken Erbaugh. "When I came in, they also helped me with job and services information. They extend their hands to help others, so I thought it was the least I could do to come back and help them."
Erbaugh's friend William Shoemaker and Shoemaker's fiancee, Tanya Balanza, are off the street and Shoemaker is looking for work. He is 33 percent disabled, a crane operator by trade.
"I was on the streets for a year - Silver Springs, Carson City, wherever," Shoemaker said. "I can also do carpentry and other handyman stuff."
Foremaster's daughter, Jayme, received her Silver Award from Girl Scouts by helping at the center during the summer.
Some of Foremaster's clients, like "Hillbilly," are caught between red tape and circumstance.
Chronically homeless for more than three years, Hillbilly, 43, has suffered two heart attacks and has bone cancer. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 20 years, but because of a ruling he cannot get veterans benefits until age 55.
"This woman got me off the streets when the city, state and federal government could and would not," he said. "I was turned down for medical assistance because they said there was not enough medical information.
"But I figured since I'm stabilized, I'd come back and help. Dee Dee is the only person who's helped me."
Foremaster said she is looking for another location, but is concerned with the 30-day limitation.
"Lots of people are coming in and out constantly," she said. "These services are vital to the community.
"Am I stressed? Yes, I am. Not only am I here several hours a day, I am in the field three to five hours a day checking out housing, seeing if clients need assistance, making contacts with people who tell me they need employees. I'm networking from 3-7 p.m.
"The day I got that phone call was the day from hell for me. The bummer is, I have to be out 10 days before Christmas. This is the coldest part of the season.
"I believe in faith, and I have a lot of faith," Foremaster said. "When God closes a door, he'll leave open a window. There has to be somebody out there who can help us out."
Sheerin's message to Foremaster said she would refund the unused portion of the lease payment.
Dave Sakas, owner of Jo's Designs, next door to the Do Drop In, said the only thing that bothered him was the cigarette smoke that would come in the back door of his warehouse.
"I made the request (to Foremaster) for them to move, and they did," Sakas said. "Other than that, I have no problems. I didn't know she was being evicted."
Foremaster said she spoke with the owner of Willis Electric, who said he had concerns when the center was first opened. But, he told her, people were coming there because they needed help.
"He said everything has been OK," she said.
"People who come into the center are really upset. This area has always had homeless but I've been very careful and have made sure I don't have people loitering.
"I talked to Joann's business representative, and she said some homeless person was walking around another building nearby looking into people's windows. I told her I can't control something happening over there. There are some things you can't control."
n Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at email@example.com or 881-1223.