I’m Kelly, a licensed clinical social worker for Hospitality House and embedded in the Grass Valley Police Department as one-half of the team known as the California Violence Intervention Program, or Cal-VIP. My partner, Officer Jonathan Brown, and I specifically serve unhoused individuals. My main priority is to increase peaceful and purposeful interactions, to respond to homeless-related calls for service with Officer Brown, and to help homeless individuals transition back into housing through a number of venues.

Typically, Office Brown and I spend our days circulating through the community, engaging with individuals experiencing homelessness. Our focus is building relationships with vulnerable people who are often living with mental health, physical health, and substance use issues. We slowly build trust with these individuals through progressive engagement to eventually connect them with various community resources, including case management services, food, clothing, and shelter. Because many of these individuals have had negative experiences with law enforcement, I dress in plain clothes, and Office Brown and I drive an unmarked vehicle.

Last week we connected with a client, who we’ll call Travis. Travis lives in a van with his dog and often offers his van to other unhoused individuals, whether they need a ride or a place to warm up. Travis mentioned that he was concerned about his van’s tires, which were showing severe wear. Officer Brown, who had previously worked at a tire shop, inspected the tires and agreed that they were unsafe.

Knowing that Travis could not afford new tires, Officer Brown reached out to a few local tire shops to see if any had gently used tires in the correct size that they would be willing to sell. Thankfully, the fine folks at Grass Valley Tire said yes and agreed to install and balance the tires. While Hospitality House was prepared to step in to cover the costs, the owner of Grass Valley Tire called to inform me that they would be providing the tires and service free of charge, feeling it was an excellent opportunity to help someone in need. Thank you, Grass Valley Tire! Travis was grateful, and last we saw him, he was filling his car with people needing a ride to the warming shelter. A true holiday blessing for many.

If you would like to help those in need this holiday season, including people like Travis who Office Brown and I will continue helping in the hopes of connecting him to housing, please consider donating at hhshelther.org/donate. Donations are tax-deductible and provide wraparound services for those experiencing homelessness in Nevada County.

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 Unitarian Universalist Community of the Mountains, St. Mary’s School, Unity in the Gold Country Spiritual Center, Seasoned with Love, Peace Lutheran Church, 7th Day Adventist 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 – URGENT NEED
  • Hand warmers – URGENT NEED
  • Rain ponchos – URGENT NEED
  • Twin-size blankets
  • 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 on all major holidays, including today). 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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