My name is Seth Derrick, and I serve as an Outreach Case Manager for Hospitality House. I work as the front line to support individuals that are living outside to engage them in services and take steps to end cycles of homelessness. This week I’d like to share a short story about a man who I’ll refer to as Curtis.

I met Curtis living out of his car with his dog Bowie near a local community resource center. With initial engagement he seemed very hesitant about receiving supportive services or utilizing our shelter program but when he learned Hospitality House had a pet program, he welcomed support for Bowie to ensure adequate nutrition and care.

Over the next couple of months, I continued to engage Curtis to build rapport and to check that his needs were being met for survival. With increased contact and conversation, Curtis began to trust me and became more open to support services. When he no longer had a car to sleep in, he turned to Hospitality House for support to care for Bowie as well as himself.

Curtis and Bowie began staying at the shelter together in our Outreach Dorm. This opened support services that allowed Curtis to take his pet to the vet to receive wellness checks, vaccinations, and a clean bill of health. With some advocacy and consistency utilizing the Outreach Dorm, Curtis was moved into the Onward Dorm, which is our longer-term shelter stay and guarantees that a bed will be saved nightly. This provides Curtis with further stability and hope for continued growth and rehabilitation. Curtis shared that he previously struggled with alcohol for a long time to numb his responses to stress and trauma. However, since having a consistent, safe, and secure place to rest his head, he has been alcohol and drug-free.

Curtis now has stability and is eager to pursue other goals with the help of Hospitality House case management and is ready for some of the next steps in his life. He also has found pride in doing support work at the shelter to give back to the program as well as the individuals served.  While Curtis isn’t housed yet, we are proud of his progress and ready to help him with his next steps.

If you’d like to help Curtis and other guests at the shelter return to housing, please consider a gift today. No amount is too small to make a difference. Every dollar counts!

Right now, I’d like to thank our volunteers who help us throughout the year. A big thank you to Marna Duncan and Hilary Dart for their weekly grocery shopping support and thank you to George Dunstan and Bill Blount for their ongoing spiritual support at Utah’s Place and our senior housing complex, Sierra Guest Home.  Thank you also to our loyal cook group, Repeat Offenders, for coming out last night and serving up their ground beef marinara pasta, which is a favorite every month!  If you have an interest in volunteering, please call us at 530-615-0852 or email A special thanks also to our partners for providing ongoing food and/or financial support: SPD Markets, BriarPatch Food Co-op, Telestream, Interfaith Food Ministry, the Bishop Store (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Nevada City) and Food Bank of Nevada County. To everyone who donated our most needed items last week, thank you as well!

Now down to the nitty gritty needs of the week:

  • Twin-size blankets – URGENT NEED
  • New pillows (we are unable to accept used)
  • Men’s winter coats, jackets and hoodies (all – sizes; no women’s attire at this time)
  • Granola bars

NEW DONATION HOURS AND DROPOFF LOCATION: With construction finally complete at our shelter, effective immediately, donations from our needs list above and all unexpired/store-bought foods are now being accepted at Utah’s Place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 830am – 330pm and Saturdays from 10am – 2pm. Our shelter is located 1262 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, CA 95945. 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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