Hospitality House is the only emergency homeless shelter in Nevada County, with 69 beds for homeless men, women and children.
 
I’m Rob Barker, Outreach Case Manager for Hospitality House. I connect with residents and business owners involving homeless residents. I advocate for Hospitality House’s “Good Neighbor Policy” and “Mutual Respect Code” for the well-being of our community.
 
I want to share with you my story of how I came to realize how pets can mean the world to a person. I previously worked as a drug and alcohol counselor, and at times I found myself frustrated that clients who suffered from substance abuse, addiction and homelessness would deny help because of their pets. Clients would rather deny treatment or sleepout in a 30-degree weather than abandon their pets. I couldn’t really understand why a person was willing to risk their lives and preferred to live on the streets or in a car instead of seeking treatment or shelter. Then one day it clicked in my head, as I listened to clients over and over. I realized that a dog was just not a pet, but that dog meant everything to that person. What I found is that many of our clients have gone through traumas, have lost all their family, have been rejected and judged throughout their lives. But pets never left them. Their animals were their support; they don’t judge. Instead, they wag their tails and provide unconditional love.
 
Because of these barriers, Hospitality House is em-“bark”-ing on an important initiative to integrate homeless people with pets into its shelter, but it can’t launch the new program without the community’s support.
 
The new pet program is designed to help homeless pet owners receive shelter and services at Hospitality House without the need for pet separation in exchange for assistance.
 
Our team spoke to one homeless veteran on the streets named Shaun, who said: “If I had the opportunity, I would shelter at the Hospitality House, if I could bring my dog with me. Without her, I wouldn’t even consider it.”
 
To offer complete care to pets for one year, Hospitality House anticipates an operating budget of $30,000.
 
With the community’s support, the pet program could launch as early as November of this year and would provide animals with indoor shelter, food, licensing, veterinary care, spay and neuter, wellness checks, flea and tick treatment, medications and even medical operations if needed. Most importantly, it will keep homeless pet owners together with their loved one at the shelter so they can benefit from the shelter’s programming to help transition back into housing, which is the ultimate goal.
 
To help launch the pet program at Hospitality House, those interested are invited to visit hhshelter.org/pets or call 530-615-0852.
 
This past week, we were blessed by many caring individuals. I’d like to give a big thank you to Unitarian Universalist Community of the Mountains, Calvary Bible Church of Grass Valley, Interfaith Food Ministry, Sierra Pines UMC, Jazzercise, The Home Team, and Crossroads Community Church for coming out to cook. We are grateful to all of you, and of course, everyone who donated needed items.
 
Now down to the nitty gritty needs of the shelter for this week…
 
• Men’s sweatpants, sizes L
• Men’s jeans, sizes 34/34 & 36/34
• Men’s t-shirts, sizes L & 2x
• Boxer shorts, sizes M & L
• Women’s jeans, sizes 10 & 12
• Women’s t-shirts, sizes L
• Women’s sneakers, sizes 8 to 10
• Cotton socks
• Razors
• Hairbrushes
• Blankets
 
Please drop off urgent items to Utah’s Place, located in Brunswick Basin, past the DMV, at 1262 Sutton Way. For all other donations that may benefit a homeless guest or the shelter in general, please take them to the backdoor of Bread & Roses, our thrift shop, located at 840 E Main Street, directly next door to Sierra Cinemas. Guests at our shelter are given shopping vouchers for the store to buy what they need, so your donation directly helps them. All other items are sold with 100% of the sales supporting the shelter’s operations. If we all stick together, we’ll get what we need. Thank you.