The Gathering Inn
The Gathering Inn is a program developed by the churches in south Placer County to provide the homeless with supper, hospitality, and a place to stay overnight. It also works to help people out of homelessness by networking with other agencies and programs, and starting new ones.
Every night during the fall, winter, and spring, homeless people register at the Gateway facility in Roseville or Parkside Nazarene Church in Auburn. They arrive at the designated site to take showers and safely store their belongings, then are picked up by The Gathering Inn bus and taken to the church that is hosting them that night. Two trained supervisors are present at all times. After the bus arrives and the group settles in, the people supervising give announcements and instructions. Then the church members conduct a 10 minute devotional and serve dinner. After dinner, some activity is provided, but many guests want to just go to sleep. Church members leave at 9 PM.
Some churches with large facilities host The Gathering Inn for many days, some take whole weeks. APC has hosted The Gathering Inn one or two nights during the year. We are scheduled for two Friday nights in 2008. The first time we hosted, less than a dozen people were involved. The last time, there were over thirty, not including the children who came to sing. Each time, Judy Gough has directed the dinner preparation and serving and received appreciation for the excellent meal provided.
Thirteen religious congregations in Auburn participate in The Gathering Inn, even more than Roseville's twelve. In all, thirty-nine congregations are currently involved in the program. More churches are getting involved in helping with The Gathering Inn. There is a hope that each year the calendar will be extended until the program goes year-round. The number of people housed ranges from 35- 55. Earlier in the winter, there were families with children. So far all families have found housing through the assistance of Placer County Health and Human Services. Six out of every ten guests found housing during their stay.
Volunteers come to The Gathering Inn weekly to interview people and find housing as is possible. Some of these people would never come into the office but when the office comes to them, they respond.