My name is Will Buss and I am the Shelter and Sierra Guest Home Staff Supervisor at Hospitality House. I oversee staff at the shelter and at our senior housing complex, Sierra Guest Home, making sure our team adheres to our program objectives and that guests comply as well. I have been cross training both facilities to create a bigger sense of team and to ensure my team always feels supported. The shelter and Sierra Guest Home are just two parts of what we do here to mitigate homelessness.

When I am at the shelter, I make a point to not only connect with staff often but our guests too. One guest that has left a big impression on me is a woman I’ll refer to as Raina.

I have been working weekends a lot and one weekend last month, Raina just showed up at our door with a bag of stuff. Raina is a fragile, elderly woman who reminds me of a grandmother figure. I learned she had left her home to flee severe domestic violence. She came nightly to our Outreach Dorm until we had space available in our Onward Dorm. We noticed early on that Raina seemed to be in pain from prior knee injuries and was unable to use our stairs. We enrolled her in our onsite medical respite program, which gave Raina an opportunity to rest and recover 24 hours a day, seven days a week in our shelter. She is getting medical assistance offsite too, which was set up by her RN case manager, Fred Skeen. When Raina was strong enough, we moved her upstairs into our Onward Dorm. While Raina couldn’t walk up stairs initially, she now moves up and down them no problem, which has been great to see as her confidence and physical abilities are growing by the day. She is so happy and proud of herself that she shares with me daily how many times she climbed the stairs.

Since getting into Onward Dorm, Raina has been placed on several waiting lists for senior housing and has purchased a new laptop and cell phone, both of which I helped configure. In addition to increasing her mobility, she’s also found her voice here. Raina didn’t talk much about what happened to her initially but after realizing she was in a safe, stable environment, she’s shared in greater detail what had been happening to her. Her abuser is a local in the community and Raina is ready to press formal charges against him. We are proud of Raina for putting herself first and taking this next step in her healing.

If you have housing options that may be a good fit for Raina, please feel free to reach out to me directly. I can be reached at 530-615-6679.

At this time, I’d like to let people know that our popular Empty Bowl benefit for the shelter is back this September, thanks to generous artists, restaurants and sponsors in the community. Mark your calendars because one week from today, tickets go on sale at 9 a.m.! Empty Bowl is back in two parts: first, through restaurants, Sept. 9-23 AND second, with an Empty Bowl Art Extravaganza on Saturday, Sept. 24, which is an exclusive opportunity for ticketholders to come together to shop bowls, participate in an auction and raffle, listen to live music and enjoy a no-host happy hour. Learn more about Empty Bowl at hhshelter.org/empty-bowl. We’d like to thank YubaNet and Pawnie’s Home Care for being return sponsors again this year.

I’d also like to thank our volunteer food shopper, Hilary Dart, for helping us with shopping needs every Tuesday and thank Telesteam who cooked up their tasty lasagna for all our guests last week. 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:

  • Men’s shorts, t-shirts and underwear (underwear must be new)
  • Depends / adult diapers
  • 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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