In a creative atmosphere that is inspired by color, artistry and a maze of resource rooms, the local office of CAHS (Consolidated Agencies of Human Services) remains an active and valuable treasure to the Mineral County community.
Erin Dunagan, the front office assistant explained, “We are so diversified in our assistance programs, it’s best to have one of our brochures. We work with many agencies to provide a place that people can come to for family support, services and supplies.”
With a lending library in the lobby, there are many family resource books and brochures, but the help doesn’t stop there. One cubicle houses infant and children’s clothing plus necessary articles of assistance. Should an adult require clothing help, a voucher is given to them, as they work with Patricia’s Thrift on E St.
Another room was specifically for the Learn and Laugh program, which is overseen by Diana Fisher. Fisher shared, “This is a safe, fun spot where the youngest of the children (under four years old) can come and play with one another while the mothers interact and join them. It’s a time to learn, but it’s really designed as an outlet of supporting one another too. We don’t babysit their kids – we all share in the playtime and grow time together.”
With craft kits lining the cubed storage and all the play sets and books available, it was clear that this time set aside on Thursdays built relationships. With over 36 years of serving Mineral County, the CAHS programs rely upon grants, government assistance, donors and foundation money to keep going. Debbie Lee, a CAHS Director explained that each area is overseen by not only their staff, but includes checks and balances from other agencies. Whether it be the national WIC (Women, Infant and Children) program or the Domestic Violence services which outreaches throughout the county, the accountability remains predominant to keep all aspects strong.
“Parenting classes can be voluntary, but many are court-ordered. Unfortunately those are the parent’s that need our services the most, but because there’s no real push or follow-up from the court, they normally don’t show up. We wish there was some sort of criteria or consequence for not showing up once the court has mandated it, but that needs to come from the judge’s side rather than us.”
Sometimes a stranded visitor or a homeless person will arrive in town from highway 95, so the sheriffs work hand in hand with the CAHS staff to assure that someone can get food or water from the food pantry, or use some short term assistance or a voucher for a bus ticket to reach their destination. There are specialized staff members that also work with mentoring youth, especially those in high risk situations.
A “safe room” was designed in the building as a strict confidential area in which anyone can get help, or express truths that they may need to share.
Chaletta Speights, the Domestic Violence Director said, “We are serious about helping people – even when they feel they have nowhere to turn. The State of Nevada is supportive in stopping domestic violence, so we are grateful to have such a system in place for those that find themselves in an abusive circumstance. One way to stop it is to deal with anger management, which prevents domestic violence in most instances. We offer those classes too.”
With numerous classes, programs and assistance, Executive Director, Carla Hemnar offers her services to share at community groups, businesses and churches, to spread the word. With forms available to help seniors with weatherizing their homes, to low income utility bill assistance, the CAHS staff will be happy to walk you through any process to make life easier for families in need.
To contact the office during normal business hours, call 775-945-2471; for Domestic Violence crisis calls, call 775-316-2917.