Utah’s Place Case Statement
Providing a Compassionate Place of Safety, Rest and Sustenance
Utah’s Place Campaign Case Statement
Grass Valley, California
All of us need the best in each other.
And if we can find it,
And if we can give it,
The rest will soon follow.
If we all stick together,
We’ll get what we need.
Hospitality House History and Goals
As with many wonderful projects, Hospitality House was a big idea hatched by a small number of people. In the winter of 2004, a group of concerned residents gathered to discuss their dream of helping homeless people in Nevada County by providing shelter and food during the winter months. Utah Phillips was one of those people, and it was he who suggested the name Hospitality House, reflecting his deep respect for Dorothy Day’s Catholic Worker movement. Establishing the shelter was the last project of his life, and one very dear to his heart.
Today Hospitality House is the only emergency overnight shelter serving Nevada County, which has a population of 98,612. Partnering with nearly 30 local faith communities, in 2012 Hospitality House provided meals and overnight shelter to 389 guests, with approximately 13,100 bed nights, housing retention service to 745 drop-ins and 40,063 meals.
Our Welcome Center in Grass Valley is currently the daily point of intake for approximately 40 guests, who are bused nightly to alternating shelter locations in local churches. The shelter has a policy of zero-tolerance for drugs and alcohol. Our guests use shower and laundry facilities and receive case management, job counseling, and medical/dental attention. Our staff includes an executive director, two case managers, an administrative assistant, and lead and staff monitors; at least six volunteers help out each day.
Our goal is to provide a safe, stable, welcoming environment that supports people in taking steps that lead to independent living. Many of our guests use Hospitality House as part of their addiction recovery program. Others who arrive at our door with serious physical illnesses and disabilities receive the medical care they need. Over the years, we have partnered with more than 100 organizations and agencies to broaden our guests’ opportunities. The result is that annually more than 40 percent of our guests move into housing. To help ensure their success, we also offer food, case management, and job search opportunities for one year after they have found a home.
Studies have shown that the average person who was chronically homeless accessed over $40,000 per year in public services. By providing early crisis intervention and individualized case management, Hospitality House benefits our community by reducing the number of people who wind up in the county jail (costing an average of $145.00 per night), reducing people’s visits to the hospital emergency room (costing an average of $3000 per visit), reducing dependence on public assistance programs, and reducing calls for service from law enforcement agencies.
Hospitality House first opened its doors in November 2005 to seven people; today we receive upwards of 40 every day. Due to rapid growth, in 2010 we decided to conduct an assessment; we determined that our program had outgrown its nomadic model. In particular, transportation was becoming increasingly expensive and complex for such a large number of people. Our disabled guests are challenged by the steep steps of a large school bus while waiting to board the bus in a line of 40 people. During the winter, cold or inclement weather threatens the health of those who are elderly, disabled, or who are in any way vulnerable.
While our sleeping mats are of high quality, they are still mats on a floor. Many of our elderly and disabled guests have trouble getting up and down, and those who are injured find it hard to be comfortable. In addition, our Welcome Center facility has become far too small to accommodate the number of guests we receive. We have exceeded our capacity to maintain an optimum environment, and it is clear that we needed a larger, permanent facility.
The Opportunity — Utah’s Place
Based on our assessment, we decided that a permanent facility was critical to our guests’ well being. In 2010 we applied for and were fortunate to receive a $1 million Emergency Housing and Assistance Program Capital Development Grant that allowed us to purchase a new home for Hospitality House. We were thrilled that we could begin to fulfill Utah Phillips’ dream!
Following an extensive search in 2011, we used the grant funds to purchase a 6,500-square-foot building centrally located in the Brunswick Basin in Grass Valley. Renovations will turn the building into a year-round 54-bed shelter—an anchored, supportive environment where our guests may thrive as they work toward acquiring independent housing.
In honor of Utah Phillips’ dream and his devotion to the homeless in our community, the building has been named Utah’s Place.
Utah’s Place Plans, Services and Programs
A permanent building will allow us to offer expanded services to our guests in a more cost-effective way than our current nomadic model.
- Emergency Shelter: We will offer emergency shelter and support services for up to 36 men and 14 women as well as a private room for a family of up to four. This includes three daily meals, shower and laundry facilities, and access to clothing, toiletries, and other needed items.
- Food Service: A commercial kitchen will expand our food preparation ability in a clean, safe environment.
- Social Services: Two on-site caseworkers will counsel guests and offer referral services to other appropriate county services and community agencies.
- Job Search and Life Skills Programs: A “Pathway to Housing” room will be devoted to job searching and life skills trainings in such areas as career planning, work habits, communication, money management, homelessness recovery and self-care.
- Addiction Recovery: Expansion will allow space to hold on-site AA and NA meetings.
- Medical Care: A nurse’s station will be used to provide TB screening, flu shots, and other medical attention.
- Utah’s Place will be compliant with all requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Bathroom facilities adequate for a large number of people.
- On-site storage space.
Utah’s Place Renovation Project Budget
The total cost for the building project is $1,731,622, of which we have already secured two-thirds in grants and donations.
Phase I: We must raise the balance — approximately $350,000 — within two years of starting the renovation work. Work began on the project the first week of April, 2013.
Phase II: The new building will have additional expenses, and some expenses will be eliminated, such as transportation, Welcome Center rent and insurance. By October 2013 we also must raise $500,000 for our first year in operation to ensure sustainability.
How You Can Help
Utah Phillips was an ardent advocate for the rights of homeless people. Having been homeless himself at one time, he felt a great responsibility to help those in need. To help fulfill Utah’s dream of a permanent shelter, please join us in carrying forward this important work. We believe the community will come together, and with every donation, small and large, we’ll get what we need.
How to Contribute
You may make your contribution in either of two ways:
- By check, made out to: Hospitality House, P.O. Box 3223, Grass Valley, CA 95945
- By credit card here.
Please include a note that you wish to direct your donation towards Utah’s Place.
Staff and Board of Directors
- Cindy Maple, Executive Director
- Yolanda Cookson, Development Director
- Joanna Robinson, President
- Doug Lautzenhiser, Vice President
- Dick Kuhwarth, Treasurer
- Ben Emery, Secretary
- Tammie Hamilton
- Frank J. Lang, Jr., MD
- Vee Proietti
A Community Partnership
Hospitality House is truly a community effort. We are indebted to many individuals, businesses, agencies, and organizations for making our program possible. Notably, we are grateful to our local faith communities, which for the last seven years have shared their facilities for overnight accommodations, prepared food, and offered their steadfast compassion.
- Bahai’s of Nevada County
- Calvary Bible Church
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
- Combie Bible Church
- Congregation B’Nai Harim
- Emmanuel Episcopal Church
- First Baptist Church of Grass Valley
- First Baptist Church of Nevada City
- First Church of Christ Scientist
- Grace Lutheran Church
- Grass Valley Friends/Quaker Meeting
- Grass Valley Seventh Day Adventist Church
- Grass Valley United Methodist Church
- Life Fellowship
- Mountain Stream Meditation Center
- Nevada City United Methodist Church
- Peace Lutheran Church
- St. Canice Catholic Church
- St. Patrick’s Catholic Church
- Salvation Army
- Sierra Center for Spiritual Living
- Sierra Pines United Methodist Church
- Sierra Presbyterian Church
- Trinity Episcopal Church
- Twin Cities Church
- Unitarian Universalist Community of the Mountains
- Unity in the Gold Country
- Veritas Church