I’m Elida, and I’m the ARGP Shelter Case Manager at Hospitality House. ARGP stands for Adult Re-Entry Grant Program, which, in the easiest of terms, means I help people with minor criminal offenses who are also struggling with homelessness. My main priority is to help homeless individuals transition back into housing, and I’m always looking for creative and permanent housing solutions.

I want to share a story with you, a story about a client of mine who I will call Mary. Mary was referred to me by Nevada County Probation. I intensively managed Mary’s case, and worked with her to qualify for housing assistance through our ARPG program. Mary shared that her childhood was filled with a lot of mental, sexual, emotional, and physical abuse. Her childhood experiences directly influenced some of the decisions she made growing up. With no family structure, she was arrested for her first crime at the age of 14 and shortly after started using methamphetamine. She ran away and spent the rest of her teen years living in drug houses and selling drugs. She had her first child at 18 years old and was arrested a few times after and lost custody of her child. For the next four years, Mary saw her child only a few times. Mary moved to a trailer with no power and running water in North San Juan, where she lived through a lot of traumatic events. In 2018, she had her second child who she also lost custody. She then decided to enroll in rehab through our partners, Granite Wellness Centers, where she went through an eight-month recovery process and took steps to gain back full custody of her children. Mary worked hard through rehab, benefitted from its programming and today, she maintains her sobriety. Her oldest child is now graduating from high school almost a year early now, and Mary is 20 months sober. She is housed and working and has maintained her job for close to a year and was recently promoted to a manager position. Mary and her children have come a long way to recover from abuse and substance use and have successfully broken the cycle of substance abuse, violence and homelessness that plagued her family for generations.

Thank you to everyone that gave towards the May Match challenge of up to $25,000! Your donations help ensure people in crisis continue to have direct access to emergency shelter, food, PPE, job training, customized case management, and all the tools and support needed to return to stable housing! Thanks to you… we achieved our match goal and continue to stand strong for our community! If you missed the chance to participate in the match, every gift, big or small, continues to change lives. Thank you, all!

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 cooking groups are supporting our meals by donating financial support and food. Our newly on-board Chef Sandro and Chef Assistant Gina are safely cooking all meals instead. We’d like to thank Unitarian Universalist Community of the Mountains, Telestream, The Gourmet Squad, Meals by Heels, Peace Lutheran, the Home Team, and Seventh Day Adventist Church, SPD Markets and BriarPatch Food Co-op for all their help. To everyone who donated our most needed items last week, thank you as well!

Now, on to the needs of the shelter for this week are:

• Baby wipes and a co-sleeper for a special needs baby
• PPE masks and gloves
• Blankets, twin size
• New Pillows
• Bottled water
• Women’s underwear, sizes S, M, and L
• Men’s underwear/boxers, sizes M, L, and XL
• Shampoo and conditioner, travel size
• Travel bags, duffel bag bags and backpacks

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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