My name is Fred Skeen. I’m an RN 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 share a story of a gentleman I have known for several years, who I’ll refer to as Thomas. Thomas is in his early 60s, an Army Veteran, and self-describes himself as the black sheep of his family. I first met Thomas during our nomadic days as a homeless services provider, when we would move from church to church each night. Since then, Tom has intermittently struggled with homelessness and alcoholism but was in stable housing for the last few years with his long-term girlfriend until just recently.
Sadly, when his girlfriend decided her life would be better without Thomas in it, he had nowhere to go, so just before Thanksgiving, she dropped him off at our shelter and Thomas wheeled his way up our ramp for help where he continues to receive food, shelter, and case management.
Over the years, Tom’s health has significantly declined. Three years ago, he had a kidney removed due to a tumor and more recently, a low back compressed nerve disorder resulted in paralysis, leaving him wheelchair bound.
In the weeks ahead, I’ll be working with Thomas to increase his medical services through the VA. We are also looking for wheelchair-accessible living for Thomas, preferably a single-unit apartment or a room for rent that is wheelchair friendly. I’ve known Thomas for over 10 years, and I can tell you first-hand, he is a genuinely nice person with steady income who just wants a stable home and independent living. If you or someone you know has any housing leads for Thomas, please know that we do have a Homeless Veterans Housing Program at Hospitality House that is ready to help Thomas with first month’s rent, last month’s rent and security deposit to aid his transition.
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, and Chef Gina is safely cooking all meals instead. We’d like to thank Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, Sierra Presbyterian Church, St. Pat Sidekicks, Sierra Pines, Kitchen KutUps, BriarPatch Food Co-Op and SPD Markets for 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 for this week:
- Twin-size blankets- MOST URGENT
- Men’s sweatpants, small-2X – URGENT
- Men’s pants or jeans, sizes 30 – 38 – URGENT
- Men’s shoes or boots, size 14 (we have a special guest with a broken foot who would greatly appreciate a pair of shoes in size 14)
- Men’s and woman’s boots, all sizes
- Men’s shirts and jackets, size m -2xl shirts
- Women’s long-sleeve shirts, size medium to 2xl
- Women’s shoes, size 8 and up
- Waterproof/ Rain gear
- Toilet paper
- PPE masks (paper disposable or neck gators)
- New pillows
- Bottled water
- Travel bags / duffle bags / backpacks
- Plastic utensils
- Paper plates/ bowls
- Disposable cups
- Men’s and women’s Depends, S-XXL
For increased safety and to streamline our donation process, donations are no longer being accepted at our shelter. Please drop off your items Monday – Friday, 8am – 5pm at our admin office, located at 488 Crown Point Circle, Suite 100, Grass Valley, Ca 95945. 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!