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.

I’d like to tell you a story about a very nice 65-year woman whom I will call Beatrice. Beatrice came to our shelter about a year ago. She went through a life phase having lost her income and her previous rental. Beatrice has some lifelong mental health issues. We have spent the past year offering case management and emotional support for her. She is also an Insulin dependent diabetic who had not been adequately managing her condition. Over the past few months, we have gained her trust and were able to work with her to re-engage her with Nevada County Behavioral Health Services and get her stabilized on her psych meds. We have also worked closely with her doctor at Western Sierra Medical Clinic to get her diabetes under control. Beatrice is very, very grateful for the care and assistance she has received at Hospitality House. Beatrice is now stable enough to begin to look for a place to live. She has a very engaging and cheerful personality, with a great sense of humor. She has limited Social Security income. We are looking for a simple “room to rent” that is close to town that might allow her to walk and run errands and allow her that sense of freedom and autonomy that we all enjoy. If you know of a room to rent option for Beatrice, please give me Fred a call directly at (530) 559-5411.

On a somewhat related note, as a steward of Hospitality House, I am often asked: “What is it like inside the homeless shelter?” Well, we’d like to invite the community to find out. On Sunday, January 31, we are offering a virtual tour. Virtual attendees will have a chance to meet staff members, including myself; learn about programming and services; see the dorms where local men, women and children sleep each night; and hear directly from homeless individuals receiving help at the shelter. Viewing options include Public Access Television (Comcast channel 11 or Suddenlink channel 16), hhshelter.org, Facebook.com/hhshelter and YouTube.com/hhshelter. Learn more about this opportunity at hhshelter.org and we hope to see you virtually at 6 pm on Jan. 31!

Normally at this time, we also thank all the cook groups who came and cooked over the last week, but to keep our shelter safe amid COVID-19, our cook groups are supporting our meals by donating financial support and food, and Chef Chris is safely cooking all meals instead. We’d like to thank Unitarian Universalist Community of the Mountains, Divine Light Spiritist Center, Unity in the Gold Country Spiritual Center, Seasoned with Love, Choppers, The Home Team and Abundant Life Community Church 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)`
· Hand sanitizer
· Towels
· *New pillows
· Blankets, twin size
· Men’s sweatpants
· Women’s *new underwear
· Nail Care
· Tampons
· Alka seltzer
· Tums
· Toilet paper
· Paper towels
· Ibuprofen
· Triple antibiotic ointment
· Cough drops
· Brushes & combs
· Beard trimmera
· Headphones/ earbuds
· Travel bags
· Bottled water
· Coffee
· Sugar
· Granola bars

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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