I’m Casey, a Registered Nurse for the Homeless Outreach and Medical Engagement (HOME) team with Hospitality House. My main priority is to help individuals experiencing homelessness improve and maintain their health before, during, and after they transition back into housing.

I want to share a story about a client I will call Amber.

In the fall of 2020, I received a call from Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, informing me that they had a patient who was in late-stage liver failure and homeless. Amber, a young mom with two kids, who had been living out of her car, was on death’s door. Years of substance abuse had taken a toll on her body and her doctors were uncertain if she’d survive.

For Amber, the stakes were dire. Thankfully, was ready to commit to change. Once I started working with Amber, my priority was to improve her health and help her achieve and maintain sobriety. Thanks to our partnership with AMI Housing, once she was ready to leave the hospital, I was able to place her into a motel through AMI where she could recuperate. I began to manage Amber’s care by administering mediation, organizing transport to her doctor’s appointments, and connecting her with Nevada County Behavioral Health, where she started seeing both a psychiatrist and therapist. Additionally, I was able to get Amber on disability income.

Sober and stable, Amber’s health improved drastically, and she is no longer in liver failure. Additionally, Amber’s children, who had been living with relatives for some time, were now able to regularly visit Amber in the motel.

Amber has learned to manage all of her own medical care and recently purchased a more reliable car. My next step was to move Amber into permanent housing with her two children. Thankfully, together we were able to find an apartment for her this month.

Now 15 months sober and in good health, Amber will be spending Christmas with her two children in their new apartment. I’ll be putting up a donated Christmas tree for them this week, and, thanks to the American Legion Auxiliary Group #103, Nevada City Ladder Day Saints, and Nevada County Democrats there will be presents under the tree and stockings filled with toys and treats.

If you’d like to help more individuals reach housing, we invite you attend our 16th annual Night of Giving tomorrow, Saturday, the 18th at 7pm. Angel donors and local businesses have come forward to offer a triple match on donations made during Night of Giving.  $15 becomes $60, enough to provide a night of emergency shelter, three hearty meals, clothing, and personalized case management for one person. We invite you to stay home, tune in, and donate!

We want to thank BriarPatch Food Co-op, Coldwell Banker Grass Roots, Sweetland Garden Mercantile, MWA, Inc, and PE Consulting & Associates for sponsoring Night of Giving AGAIN this year. Learn more about the event.

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 Alta Sierra Latter Day Saints, Twin Cities Church, Trinity Episcopal Church, Mountain Stream Meditation Center, Jazzercise, Abundant Life Church, 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! Here is a list of items currently needed at the shelter:

  • Waterproof/ rain gear
  • Hand warmers
  • Ponchos
  • Twin-size blankets – VERY URGENT NEED
  • Pillows (new only)
  • PPE masks (paper disposable or neck gators)
  • Toilet paper
  • Bottled water
  • Travel bags/ duffle bags/ backpacks
  • Plastic utensils
  • Paper plates/ bowls
  • Disposable cups
  • Hairbrushes
  • Gloves
  • Beanies
  • Leggings
  • Warm boots (men’s and women’s)
  • Women’s long sleeve shirts size M to XXL
  • Women’s shoes size 8 and up
  • Sweatpants (men’s and women’s)
  • Depends (men’s and women’s) size S to XXL
  • Men’s pants size 34×32, 32×32, and 30×32
  • Men’s shirts and jackets size 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 (the admin office is closed December 20th – 24th to give our staff additional time with their families. Utah’s Place will remain open 24/7 during this period). 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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