My name is Fred Skeen. I’m a case manager at Hospitality House. My job is to assist guests with qualifying for social services benefits, arranging medical care referrals, and eventually getting them into independent housing. We make every effort to guide our guests in their transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency and housing.

For this week’s news, I would like to share the story of Christopher Cox, and celebrate his one year of sobriety, 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 past rebuild their lives and return to housing, and that’s exactly what Christopher achieved. He took back control of his life and today, he’s looking forward to the future.

Normally at this time we thank all the cook groups who came and cooked over the last week, but to keep our shelter safe, our cook groups are supporting our meals by donating financial support and food. Chef Gina is safely cooking all the meals instead. We’d like to thank Unitarian Universalist Community of the Mountains, Mount Saint Mary Academy, Unity in the Gold Country Spiritual Center, Seasoned with Love, Choppers, The Home Team and Seventh-day Adventist Church, BriarPatch Food Co-op, SPD Markets and Emily’s Catering for all their recent help. To everyone who donated our most needed items last week, thank you as well!

Now down to the nitty gritty needs of the shelter for this week…

· PPE masks and gloves (please keep donating these)
· Blankets, twin size
· New Pillows
· Silverware
· Bottled water
· Hand warmers
· Travel bags/duffle bags
· Brushes/combs/hair ties
· Toilet paper
· Paper towels
· Men’s jeans, sizes 30-36
· Women’s jeans, size 2-18
· Men and Women’s shorts, sizes M – 3XL
· Men and Women’s undershirts
· Men and Women’s tank tops
· Women’s underwear, sizes S, M, and L
· Men’s boxer briefs, sizes M-2XL
· Men’s pajama pants
· Women’s loungewear, lightweight
· Women’s casual summer dresses
· Women’s and men’s sandals, sizes 9-12
. Men’s tennis shoes, sizes 9-12
· Women’s tennis shoes, sizes 7-9
· Ensure/Boost drinks for a guest undergoing chemo and radiation treatments

Please drop off urgent items or mail them to Utah’s Place, located in Brunswick Basin, past the DMV, at 1262 Sutton Way in Grass Valley. For a tax receipt, please ring the doorbell and wait for someone to come outside to assist you. We greatly appreciate the community’s help at such times of uncertainty. In the words of Utah Phillips, “If we all stick together, we’ll get what we need.” Thank you!

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