I’m Elida, and I’m the ARGP Shelter Case Manager at Hospitality House. ARGP stands for Adult Re-Entry Grant Program, which, in the easiest of terms, means I help people with minor criminal offenses who are also struggling with homelessness. My main priority is to help homeless individuals transition back into housing, and I’m always looking for creative and permanent housing solutions.
I want to share a story with you, a story about a client who I will call Jeremias. I first talked to Jeremias about six months ago when he called asking if I could help him find housing as he had been living with a roommate in an unhealthy environment.
Jeremias grew up without a father; he never met his father and shared that not knowing his father affected him a lot. Jeremias further elaborated that his mom would always leave him and his brothers alone, without any parental supervision. This behavior made Jeremias feel abandoned by his mother. He witnessed a lot of gang activity growing up and most of his family was involved in gang life. Jeremias expectations for life were low; he never felt he deserved much of anything, and it came as no surprise that he joined a gang. In the gang, he experienced something he lacked at home: family. His gang said they would never leave him or abandon him.
By the time he was 15 years old, he was using drugs. He said that the first time he took drugs he lost all fear to everyone and everything. There was no more pain for him; he lost all emotions and did not have feelings anymore. He was arrested at a very young age and sent to Juvenile Hall, then prison when he turned 18 years old. He is now 44 and has been in and out of jail and prison his entire adult life. For years he also struggled with addiction and was in and out of rehabilitation centers before a breakthrough finally occurred. It has been two years now that Jeremias is sober; he states that the last time he went to prison something clicked in his thoughts. He finally realized that he did not have to live the unhealthy life he had lived his entire life.
I was able to provide Jeremias with case management, help him through the process of rental application and housing assistance through ARGP. Also, Hospitality House’s collaborative Homeless Outreach and Medical Engagement team with the County and Turning Point assisted Jeremias by providing him with a safe place to stay for three weeks prior to moving to stable housing.
Jeremias reflected and told himself that he was worth living a life of sobriety and freedom. He ends his story by saying that by the grace of God his children and grandchildren still love him. He is now responsible, hardworking and is finally housed. The reasons individuals and families become homeless vary greatly. In Jeremias’ case, the path began at childhood, but donors like you can help change that. Give today or learn more about our work at hhshelter.org.
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. Chef Sandro and Chef Assistant Gina are safely cooking all meals instead. We’d like to thank Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, Nevada City United Methodist Church, Sierra Pines United Methodist Church, Kitchen KutUps, The Home Team and Repeat Offenders, SPD Markets and BriarPatch Food Co-op for all their help. To everyone who donated our most needed items last week, thank you as well!
Now, on to the needs of the shelter for this week are:
• Blankets and sheets, twin size
• New pillows
• Bottled water
• Bras, all sizes
• Men’s underwear/boxers, sizes M, L and XL
• Women’s underwear, sizes S, M and L (or 5,6,7 and 8)
• Shampoo and conditioner, travel size
• Men’s and Women’s deodorant
• Duffel bags and backpacks
Please drop off urgent items or mail them to Utah’s Place, located in Brunswick Basin, past the DMV, at 1262 Sutton Way in Grass Valley. 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 uncertainty. In the words of Utah Phillips, “If we all stick together, we’ll get what we need.” Thank you!