Brunswick Commons Resource Center and Affordable Housing

Hospitality House recently teamed up with County of Nevada, the City of Grass Valley and Regional Housing Authority with a shared goal to build a welcoming day services center and 41-units of affordable housing. This project aligns with Hospitality House’s mission to assist homeless residents in transitioning from homelessness to housing, and the long-term vision of providing permanent supportive housing to County residents. The Nevada County Board of Supervisors gave final approval on the project on Jan. 22, 2019, which means Hospitality House and its partners are moving forward to bring this project to fruition. 

Dan Miller, Nevada County Board of Supervisors, gives his public support:

 

THE PROJECT INCLUDES TWO PARTS: A DAY SERVICES CENTER AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING. 

DAY SERVICES CENTER  (Brunswick Commons Resource Center)

Conceptual drawing of Brunswick Commons Resource Center as prepared by Robert Wallis from Wallis Design Studio Architecture

The center, known as Brunswick Commons Resource Center, will include supportive mental health services for Nevada County residents in a location near essential services, such as hospitals, employment, grocery stores, and other allied community partners. Visitors will be able to take classes, meet with case managers, receive medical referrals, get therapy, look for jobs, fill out paperwork in addition to accessing bathrooms, showers and food. Additionally, nine units of transitional housing will be available to assist individuals who are preparing for entry into permanent housing. 

AFFORDABLE HOUSING (Brunswick Commons)

The project includes plans for affordable housing called Brunswick Commons, comprising 41 units, 12 of which will be designed exclusively for those chronically homeless and mentally ill (this is a No Place Like Home requirement and potential funding source of the project). One unit will also be designated for a complex manager. 

“Utah Phillips (Hospitality House co-founder) would be so pleased and proud of the community he loved for its ongoing support of our homeless neighbors. He would certainly welcome any Hospitality House partnership that produces meaningful benefits for folks in need, including a partnership with Nevada County and Grass Valley City governments when they stand staunchly by the people and for the people.”

         – Joanna Robinson, Utah’s wife

Lisa Swarthout, Grass Valley Major, gives public support:

 

HOW DID THE PROJECT ORIGINATE?

Building a day services center and affordable housing is a collective idea made possible by Hospitality House, County of Nevada, City of Grass Valley and Regional Housing Authority. This vision is coming to life because of dedicated community partners who saw a need to do more to help its homeless population. Through extensive creative brainstorming and workshops, a plan was put in place to make an idea a reality. 


 

WHERE WILL IT BE LOCATED?

The Brunswick Commons Resource Center and the Brunswick Commons housing complex will both be built at 936 Old Tunnel on a five-acre parcel of land that is centrally located in the Brunswick Basin. 

HOW WAS THE LOCATION DETERMINED? 

Extensive time and research was invested to determine the most logical place for the day services center and housing, which needs to be in a centralized location for accessibility to services. The Brunswick Basin was carefully determined to be the best suited location for a number of reasons, including safety. 

Community safety is critical, and it was highly considered when brainstorming sessions for this project first began. Since its inception, plans for this development have included security, patrolling, and fencing. Homeless neighbors are already in the Brunswick Basin and this project provides an opportunity to supervise them. This adds safety to an element that already exists, and gives people who are already in the neighborhood a welcoming place to go during the day where they can be proactive and get help.

Judy Petrie, Sierra Presbyterian Church, weighs in on the project:

 

WILL THESE EFFORTS ATTRACT MORE HOMELESS PEOPLE TO NEVADA COUNTY?

No. Extensive research has gone into this project and the opposite has been found true. This project follows a Housing First model, which is an evidence-based approach to quickly connect individuals and families experiencing homelessness to permanent housing without preconditions and barriers to entry, such as sobriety, treatment or service participation requirements. The priority is to immediately transition folks into permanent supportive housing rather than wait until the household’s mental and/or medical health is stabilized.

It may seem simple, but the answer to end homelessness is having a home. The Housing First approach is a proven, successful method in reducing homelessness. In fact, an article written by David Langness in January 2019 appeared in The Union on this subject that includes hard evidence and references to successes in other areas, such as Utah. By following a Housing First approach, Utah decreased its homeless population by 72% percent. That’s a huge number. Read full story and examples of success.

WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO BUILD A DAY SERVICES CENTER AND HOUSING?

Homelessness is a real problem in the community. There are hundreds of people without a home and taking no action does not help the situation. These are your neighbors and they are a part of the community. Helping those in need is a fundamental principle of Hospitality House. In recent months, Hospitality House received support from United Way of Nevada County and County of Nevada and was able to expand its services to connect with homeless residents living on the streets and in camps (these are individuals not currently sheltering at Utah’s Place). Between October and December 2018, the new Street Outreach team has: 

  • Served 280 people
  • Made 970 referrals to other service providers
  • Provided 471 unique rides to approximately 85 individuals
  • Had 595 conversations with folks in the community in an effort to connect them to services

These stats are based on less than two months worth of data and are strong indicators of a serious problem. By building a day services center and affordable housing, the Hospitality House team and its partners will be able to connect even more people to resources and housing, reducing fire danger from unsupervised camps in the process. 

WHO’S PAYING FOR THIS PROJECT?

If all goes as planned, Brunswick Commons Resource Center will be paid for in part by a Community Development Block Grant, otherwise known as a CDBG. The application request of $3 million will be submitted in February 2019. 

Brunswick Commons affordable housing, on the other hand, may be paid in part by No Place Like Home (NPLH). This is a highly collaborative application process between Hospitality House, County of Nevada, the City of Grass Valley, and the Regional Housing Authority. The grant application was submitted on Jan. 30, 2019, and it is anticipated it will take up to 4 months to learn if the application is accepted. If accepted, $2 million will help fund the housing portion of this project. 

HOW CAN I HELP?

Being an advocate for those in need and supporting this project through public channels, such as Facebook or writing a supporting opinion piece in the newspaper, is much appreciated. Additionally, supporting this project and the work of Hospitality House with a financial gift to help those in need is also greatly appreciated. Because of caring individuals like you, 120 people entered permanent housing in 2018. Give a gift today.

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