Help Celebrate Christopher’s One Year Anniversary
This month marks one year of sobriety for Christopher Cox, thanks to community supporters like you who never gave up on him. In addition to sustaining his sobriety, Christopher overcame homelessness and moved into his new permanent home at the end of March, too.
Christopher’s past contributed to his homelessness. Home life was hard on him and at the tender age of 13, he fell into drugs and became addicted. By age 19, he was homeless and surviving on the streets. For the next several years, Christopher struggled with addiction, homelessness and the law.
“I got so tired of just seeing all the devastation it [drugs] was causing in my life,” reflected Christopher on the first day in his new home. “I got so sick so many times and almost died. That was the turning point for me. Almost dead.”
Christopher engaged the Homeless Outreach and Medical Engagement (HOME) team, our collaborative street outreach team comprised of Hospitality House, Turning Point and Nevada County Behavioral Health that helps people unhoused get connected to available resources. One of those resources was the Adult Re-Entry Grant Program offered at our shelter. The program is designed to help homeless people with minor criminal pasts rebuild their lives and return to housing, and that’s exactly what Christopher achieved.
Christopher took back control of his life and today, he’s looking forward to the future. Watch a short video update from Christopher below:
To help more individuals like Christopher return to housing, please give today>
New Homelessness-Related Training for Local Law Enforcement
Local law enforcement reports that a significant number of calls for service are in response to concerns involving homeless individuals, highlighting the need for homeless-concentrated training. Hospitality House and its partners introduced Peace Officers and Standard Training (POST) curriculum in Nevada County, a training focused on homelessness best practices that is officially available to all law enforcement throughout the state of California.
“Today’s peace officers are expected to interact and deal with complex issues such as homelessness and individuals experiencing a mental health crisis on a regular basis. Increasing the skillset for the average peace officer in the field can save lives of both peace officers and the public,” explained Lt. Sean Scales of Nevada County Sheriffs Office (NCSO). “As society’s expectations of peace officers change, it is important to ensure the training peace officers are provided with changes to reflect these expectations. This training represents a step in that direction.”
The curriculum was created in partnership with Grass Valley Police Department (GVPD), NCSO, Nevada City Police Department (NCPD) and Nevada County Behavioral Health, following a collaborative grant award to Hospitality House from the California Commission on POST with a goal to train a total of 105 local officers in 2021. Twenty-four GVPD sworn officers have been trained to date with more officers in queue from NCSO and NCPD in the coming months.
Hospitality House Executive Director Reflects on One Year in a Pandemic
What has it been like to operate a homeless shelter during a pandemic?
In an article by Executive Director, Nancy Baglietto, learn how Hospitality House has navigated the rough waters of the pandemic.
Nancy writes in part: “Early into the pandemic, The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty concluded: ‘Homeless individuals infected by COVID-19 will be twice as likely to be hospitalized, two to four times as likely require critical care, and two to three times more likely to die than the general population.’ Despite our ‘can do’ positive attitude at Hospitality House, our team looked not to IF an outbreak would occur, but rather WHEN.”
Giving Hearts, Lending Hands
Any gift to Hospitality House makes a difference. Joining the Hearts & Hands Club allows you to give monthly and helps improve the lives of homeless individuals.
Together, we are changing lives. Sign up here to join the club!
All Shelter Guests Offered Onsite Covid-19 Vaccinations
The health and safety of our guests is extremely important. When the risks of Covid-19 necessitated quarantine and social distancing, we transitioned from an overnight shelter to a 24/7 facility, separated our dorm bunks and moved vulnerable individuals and families into motel rooms, in partnership with County of Nevada. We also began offering PPE on the streets and offered additional motel expansion efforts with FREED Center for Independent Living, Turning Point Providence Center, Communities Beyond Violence and Sierra Roots. Since October, we have offered onsite Covid-19 testing twice a week for our staff and shelter guests in partnership with Western Sierra Medical Clinic. In February, we began offering onsite vaccinations to those most vulnerable and at-risk for Covid-19 as well as frontline staff, in partnership with Nevada County Public Health. By March, vaccinations were made available to all staff and guests. We would like to thank the community and all of our partners for helping to keep our staff and shelter guests safe. As of today, not one guest in our shelter has tested positive for Covid-19. Help us continue these efforts. Give today>
Volunteer Spotlight: Beverly Werntz
This month, we would like to honor Beverly Werntz for eleven years of service as she continues to care for homeless individuals in Nevada County. Serving others has always been important to Beverly, both in her professional role as a registered nurse and through volunteering with Hospitality House.
After retirement, she wanted to continue to serve. Beverly shared, “Many of the guests have touched my life. I still see so many of those faces when I close my eyes and the differences in them after being accepted and loved by the work of Hospitality House.”
Beverly’s friend Judy Olson invited her to help provide lunch for guests when the emergency shelter was still nomadic. Originally, she thought she would help once a month, but soon fell in love with the guests and experienced meaningful fulfillment in the service. Beverly started helping at least once a week. When Utah’s Place opened four years later, she coordinated two cook groups, Blessed Sister and Kitchen Kut Ups. These groups purchased, prepared, and served dinner to shelter guests for six years, until Covid-19 restrictions prevented volunteers from entering the shelter.
“The most impactful time at Hospitality House is every time I serve,” said Beverly.
The groups with which she serves bring her such joy, and there is always an encounter that stays with her long after she leaves for the night. The sincere and heartfelt appreciation that comes to her after a lovingly prepared meal makes her work in the kitchen meaningful. She looks forward to the time she and her group can come back in person.
“I am so proud to volunteer for this organization,” added Beverly. “Hospitality House really is the model for caring for our homeless population. Spending time with guests, looking them in the eye when talking to them, and hearing their stories has changed my heart and mind about our homeless issues. I wish every community could come together like we do here in Nevada County.”
Thank you, Beverly, for your continued dedication to Hospitality House and the guests we serve!
Business Appreciation: SPD Markets
We would like to extend our gratitude to the Painter family and SPD Markets for donating 10,000 meals to help feed homeless individuals and families in Nevada County. In addition to store credit, the Painter family is donating their buying power to Hospitality House, giving us direct access to ordering high quality meats, poultry and produce at no added cost, all of which can be ordered with our donated store credit.
“We are a family business that proudly supports our local community,” said Ben Painter, third generation owner and store manager. “For decades, SPD has donated to help worthwhile causes and Hospitality House is one of them. We know many families are struggling right now and if we can help our neighbors receive healthy foods as they work to get back on their feet, then we’re going to do it.”
Guests and staff alike express gratitude for SPD in the following short video:
Legacy Circle: The Gift That Keeps on Giving
Did you know that retirement plan assets can be expensive to inherit?
Many retirement plan funds are burdened by double taxation. When retirement plan assets are funded with pretax dollars and remain in an account, they are taxed due to “income in respect of a decedent.“ When inherited, the recipient is also taxed. The account balance is diminished by estate taxes, and the recipient must additionally pay income tax.
If you can make other provisions for your family, there is a better option for your retirement plan assets — a charitable gift.
This is one of many ways to join Hospitality House’s Legacy Circle, too. Membership demonstrates a strong belief in the work of Hospitality House and allows you to make a long-lasting commitment, impacting your community for many years to come. Find out more>
Needs for the Shelter:
- PPE masks and gloves (please keep donating these)
- Blankets, twin size
- New pillows
- Bottled water
- Hand warmers
- Travel bags/backpacks/duffle bags
- Brushes/combs/hair ties
- Toilet paper
- Paper towels
- Men’s jeans, sizes 30-36
- Women’s jeans, size 4-12
- Men and Women’s shorts
- Men and Women’s undershirts
- Men and Women’s tank tops
- Women’s underwear, sizes S, M, and L
- Men’s pajama pants
- Women’s lounge wear, light weight
- Women’s casual summer dresses
- Men’s tennis shoes, sizes 10-12
- Women’s tennis shoes, sizes 7-9
- Ensure/Boost drinks for a guest undergoing chemo and radiation treatments
Please drop these urgent items off at Utah’s Place, located 1262 Sutton Way in Grass Valley.