I’m Chase Smiley, a new case manager here at Hospitality House. I work specifically with homeless victims of crime which is a common occurrence for a lot of our homeless population. I previously worked at a residential treatment facility and nonpublic school for emotionally disturbed youth and received extensive training in trauma informed care and crisis communication which is part of the reason I fit well in this position.

I would like to share a story about a man who we will call Jacob; he is a 65-year-old Grass Valley resident, where he has spent the last 30 years. Jacob was living in a former care home facility in the area. There appeared to be code violations and his safety was at risk. He lived there for ten years and one day he received an eviction notice telling him to vacate the premises after never once missing a rental payment or causing any disturbances. Jacob had to leave and left behind all his belongings and became homeless for the first time in his life at the age of 65. He made his way to the woods where other homeless residents were residing. Over the six-month period Jacob was homeless, he shared that he was victimized multiple times, physically assaulted, and robbed of the little belongings he had. Thankfully, Jacob found his way to our shelter. He has been with us for about a month now. I have been working with Jacob extensively to try and get him housed and back on his feet. It has turned out to be a difficult venture as housing in Nevada county is scarce and on top of that, he is dealing with an eviction on his record that should never have happened. Despite the many obstacles and tragic sequences of events that Jacob has been through, he still finds a way to be optimistic and hopeful for his future. I believe without the help of Hospitality House and all the community members who support our shelter, Jacob’s story may have ended much worse. We will continue to look for a safe home for Jacob, and if anyone has a home or room they may want to rent, please call me at 530-615-6006.

We like to recognize our amazing volunteers for their hard work and the many hours dedicated to the mission of Hospitality House. This month we dedicate the Volunteer Spotlight to Cissy Murphy! Cissy has been a volunteer of Hospitality House since its second winter open. She was part of the Abundant Life group that provided dinners at one of the host churches during Hospitality House’s nomadic period and packed lunches for 40-50 guests a couple times a week during the summer months. Cissy continues to help and volunteer in any way she can whether it be cooking delicious food or taking on event planning to further our work. We thank you Cissy for your years of dedication and love to our homeless community.

This month we are celebrating 15 years of services! Hospitality House’s efforts to launch began in winter 2004 and by June 2005, we became an officially recognized 501(c)(3). Today, hundreds of lives have been touched and even more have homes. We are here today because our little community believed we could do better, and together, we are doing more every day to help local individuals and families in Nevada County.

Normally at this time we also thank all the cook groups who came and cooked over the last week, but to keep our shelter safe amid COVID-19, our cook groups are supporting our meals by donating financial support and food, and Chef Chris is safely cooking all meals instead. We’d like to thank Alta Sierra Latter-Day Church, Twin Cities Church, Holy Trinity Church – Episcopal: Historic Faith for Modern People, Seasoned with Love, Choppers, The Home Team and Abundant Life Community Church for all their recent help. 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 body spray
• Men’s & Women’s shorts and tank tops
• Tylenol (not ibuprofen)
• Adult coloring books
• Colored pens and pencils
• Any crafts that can be done by one person
• Deodorant
• Shampoo and conditioner, regular sizes
• Bleach

Anyone who has upgraded their personal assist devices, and have old ones just lying in their dresser drawer, please consider donating these gently used items:

• Diabetes test kits (Glucose meter & test strips)
• Hearing aids, any condition
• Eyeglasses, any kind
• Earplugs

We will be delighted to have these items for repurposing to any shelter guests with those specific needs.

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!