My name is Levi Bryant and I am the Data and Information Technology Manager at Hospitality House. I am primarily responsible for data management, tracking each and every individual served as well as the services the individual received from our agency, such as food, clothing, case management, shelter, transportation, etc. Having comprehensive data helps Hospitality House secure grants and contracts, and helps us better understand the complexities of homelessness and patterns in homelessness.

Veterans, as an example, are a demographic we track. In our last fiscal year, we served 53 homeless veterans. Of those veterans, only 17 accepted shelter at Utah’s Place. This is an example of a pattern we commonly see among veterans year after year in Nevada County. While we helped 53 vets total across our programming and services, 68% of these services happened outside our shelter walls, suggesting our homeless veterans may be more likely to be service-resistant and survive on the streets or in camps. Of our 53 vets, we also know that 28 have some form of income, such as income from the VA, social security, employment, or other, while 47% have no known income to their name. This tells us that housing the 47% will be an added hardship and creative solutions to achieve housing will be needed. Of our 53 vets, 26 were also found to have some form of disability, most of which are physical, mental, or a chronic health condition. Many vets have multiple disabilities, and of our disabled vets, each has 2.4 known disabilities. A disability can also be a barrier to housing.

Lastly, over the last two years, we’ve found that 61% of the vets we’ve served are seniors, ages 55 and up; 55% have experienced some sort of victimization, such as arson, burglary, domestic/family violence, DUI/DWI victim; and 28% of vets have been a victim of domestic violence specifically. Any type of victimization generally means our case managers will have to work harder to build and establish trust, which also adds reasoning for the tendency to be service-resistant.

All of this information that we collect and analyze is shared with case managers so they can adjust their engagement and trust-building strategies accordingly to best help veterans receive the help and services needed to return to housing. The data overwhelmingly tells us that a predisposition to be service-resistant, lack of income, disability, and overall health all pose barriers to housing.

To help overcome these hurdles, Hospitality House offers a program exclusive to veterans, called the Homeless Veterans Housing Program, which was founded by veterans in the community. Veterans experiencing homelessness or at-risk for homelessness may qualify for a number of services, such as homelessness prevention, rental assistance, and more. Visit https://hhshelter.org/programs-services/veterans-housing/ for more info.

If you’d like to further our work to help vets and more people in need, right now we’re gearing up for our popular artist- and restaurant-driven benefit, Empty Bowl. The event’s primary objective is to raise awareness and support for individuals and families struggling with homelessness. First, ticketholders will dine at one or more featured restaurants between Sept. 9-23 where they will receive a beautifully donated artisan bowl that is then filled with a donated meal by each restaurant; second, on Sept. 24, patrons will be invited to an Empty Bowl Art Extravaganza, which is an exclusive opportunity for ticketholders to come together to shop bowls, participate in an auction and raffle, listen to live music by Mark Vieaux and enjoy a no-host happy hour from 4-6 p.m. at Peace Lutheran Church. Tickets are on sale now (https://emptybowl2022.rsvpify.com/) and are subject to sellout.

I’d like to thank our artist community for donating hundreds of artisan bowls to make the event possible—a few artists include Liz Conley, Karen Tanaka, Alika White, George Schroder, among many more. I’d also like to thank our eight host restaurants for donating meals to fill every bowl with sustenance. A special shoutout this week to Heartwood Eatery and Friar Tuck’s Restaurant and Bar, two of our featured restaurants. A big thank you also to AJA Video Systems and Chapa-de Indian Health for being return sponsors again this year.

And while I’m giving thanks, I’d like to give a shoutout to our volunteer food shopper, Hilary Dart, for helping us with shopping needs every Tuesday, and to Telestream for cooking their favorite lasagna, garlic bread and salad for all of our guests this past Saturday. If you have an interest in volunteering, we have several opportunities available in our culinary department. Call us at (530) 615-0852 or email info@hhshelter.org to learn about our opportunities. A special thanks also to our partners for providing ongoing food and/or financial support: SPD Markets, BriarPatch Food Co-op, Telestream, Interfaith Food Ministry, the Bishop Store (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Nevada City) and Food Bank of Nevada County. To everyone who donated our most needed items last week, thank you as well! Now down to the nitty gritty needs of the week:

  • Depends / adult diapers
  • Pillows and pillowcases (pillows must be new/packaged; we are unable to accept used)
  • Bottled water
  • Towels

NEW DONATION HOURS: To streamline our donation process, donations are no longer being accepted at our shelter (unless it’s food). Please drop off items from our needs list on Tuesday or Thursday, 830am – 5pm at our admin office, located at 488 Crown Point Circle, Suite 100, Grass Valley, Ca 95945 (admin is closed weekends and all major holidays). 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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