Hospitality House is the only emergency homeless shelter in Nevada County, with 69 beds for homeless men, women and children.
I’m Rob Barker and I’m a community liaison at Hospitality House, working to connect local homeless individuals in camps to needed services, such as transportation to medical appointments, giving them meals or needed supplies, but also just as important, I work with local businesses to build and maintain relationships.
How do you work with businesses?
A lot of people don’t know that we do this, but part of my job is work with businesses, such as Safeway, Flour Garden, CVS Pharmacy and more in the Brunswick Basin to ensure their businesses are operating without interruption. What I mean by this, for example, is if someone homeless is wandering in their parking lot, part of my job is to engage them and remind them we exist, and offer them services and drive them to where they need to be. I also check in every day with stores, like Steve, the manager of Safeway, to make sure everything is going smoothly.
We do this as part of our “good neighbor” policy because so many local businesses help further our mission by providing food and shelter. We’re also trying to do what we can to reduce law enforcement hours, so if we can help if a need or concern comes about, we want to do just that.
How did you get into doing this?
I get asked a lot, “Why do I do this?” and the answer is pretty simple for me. Before I joined Hospitality House, I worked for years as a drug and alcohol counselor, and there was one guy I met, a local here, who I’ll never forget. For the sake of this story, I’ll call him Jimmy, and Jimmy was homeless but he never considered himself homeless. In his own words, he was just “camping” and he “camped” for three years…But one day, he realized when people go camping, they always go back home and but he had no home to go to. It took three years for him to realize he was truly homeless and when that clicked, he wanted to change, and guess what? He did! He’s now housed but I’ve never forgotten Jimmy and that’s why I’m now working at Hospitality House—so I can do more and directly help those in need get back on track.
For anyone looking to help in other ways, a simple way to help us is to donate or shop at Bread & Roses, our local thrift store. 100% of proceeds from the store directly support our homeless shelter, and if you shop there tomorrow, this Saturday, you’ll be treated to 50% off the entire store as our thank you to you. Yes, you heard that right—50% off the entire store—no exclusions! Bread & Roses is open today and tomorrow, 12 to 6 p.m.
At Bread & Roses and at Utah’s Place, we’re always looking for help with volunteers too. For anyone who may have an interest in volunteering, details can be found on our website, hhshelter.org/volunteer.
To everyone who volunteered to cook and provide meals last week, we thank you—Calvary Church, St. Patrick’s Church, Beverly’s Bible Study, Jazzercise, Crossroads, and Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital—thank you! And to everyone who dropped off needed items last week—thank you as well! Now down to the nitty gritty needs of the shelter for this week…
- Men’s jeans, sizes 34 and 36
- Men’s boxers, sizes S, M, L
- Men’s and women’s long johns, all sizes
- Travel size shampoo
- Travel size conditioner
- Travel size toothpaste
- Alcohol free mouthwash
- Denture glue
Drop off your donations at Utah’s Place, located in Brunswick Basin, past the DMV, at 1262 Sutton Way. Thank you for sticking together so that we all get what we need.