I’m Nicole Lescher and I’m a Case Manager at Hospitality House, setting goals with clients to help them transition from homelessness to housing.

Each week we like to share a story about one of our guests, to help our community understand the diversity of Nevada County folks who experience homelessness. About a month ago a gentleman came to our door seeking help; I’ll call him Blake. When I met with Blake the day after he got to the shelter, I asked him how he heard about the shelter and how he got here, to which Blake answered, “You know, I can’t remember.” We learned quickly that Blake suffers from severe short-term memory loss. Over the past month I have gotten to unravel the story of his life, which for me, has been an honor. Blake has lived a full and colorful life, being a writer for a prominent rock magazine in multiple countries. Blake is a skilled musician, vocalist and guitarist. He fondly remembers the time in his life where he played in front of thousands of enthusiastic fans at large venues. Blake’s health is declining rapidly, and he is a candidate for a board and care facility where he can get support with tasks of daily living and medication management. Unfortunately, access to board and care facilities are few and far between, especially those which are affordable for individuals who do not have savings and are living off meager retirement allotments. Getting to know Blake and understanding more in depth about him and his story is by far the most rewarding aspect of my work with Hospitality House. In the nearly two years I have been with the shelter, there is not a guest I have met that resembles the next; each individual has their own story, their own gifts and their own unique struggles which has led them to our doors seeking help. I cannot stress this enough in hopes to disembark some of the stigma surrounding folks who experience homelessness. Blake, like all the guests in our shelter, need help and we hope our community will join us in providing support and compassion.

With concerns surrounding COVID-19, Hospitality House implemented its emergency action plan to lessen the likelihood of illness, which includes preventive steps taken inside our shelter and activities on the streets in partnership with County of Nevada, CA through the Homeless Outreach and Medical Engagement team aka HOME team. As the County likes to say, we’re “Better Together” and right now we are all working together to keep our folks safe. The HOME team is providing free sanitation kits, education on hygiene and helping individuals who may be symptomatic get into treatment. Learn more about what we’re doing to slow the spread of COVID-19 at hhshelter.org.

This past week, we were blessed by many caring individuals and I’d like to give a big thank you to Alta Sierra Latter Day Saints, Twin Cities Church, Unity in the Gold Country Spiritual Center, Seasoned with Love, Choppers, The Home Team and Abundant Life Community Church for coming out to cook. To everyone who donated our most needed items last week, thank you as well!

Now down to the nitty gritty needs of the shelter for this week…

• Men’s and women’s heavy jackets
• Men’s pants
• Men’s t-shirts
• Men’s shoes
• Men’s underwear
• Men’s hoodies
• Women’s shirts
• Women’s shoes
• Handwarmers
• Women’s underwear
• Women’s hoodies
• Coffee
• Earplugs
• Eye masks
• Ibuprofen
• Q-tips
• Shampoo and conditioner, full size
• Tylenol

In addition to these urgently needed items, we are also actively collecting needed items to slow the spread of COVID-19. A few of these items include Airborn, disinfectant soap, disinfectant wipes, and disposable cleaning gloves. Please visit our website at hhshelter.org to see the full list. Please drop off urgent items to Utah’s Place, located in Brunswick Basin, past the DMV, at 1262 Sutton Way. 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 certainty. If we all stick together, we’ll all get what we need. Thank you!

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