Hospitality House is the only emergency homeless shelter in Nevada County, with 69 beds for homeless men, women and children.

I’m Nicole Lescher and I’m a Case Manager at Hospitality House, setting goals with clients to help them transition from homelessness to housing.  Every week we share a story, so folks in the community can get a view into what we do at the shelter.

This was an exciting week at the shelter, as four of my clients moved into permanent housing! One of these clients has been working diligently with me for the past one and half years. As most of you know, many clients come to our doors as a last resort, this was the case for Anna. Anna has been struggling with homelessness for the past 10 years, due to physical and mental disabilities. Since 2010 she has applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), three separate times, all resulting in denial, due to lack of medical records which support her mental illness diagnosis and her physical disability. Denial is a very common experience for many individuals that are disabled, due to lack of medical records. This happens because many people experiencing mental illness do not seek medical support or do not recall where they have been treated for their disabilities. Many individuals with mental illness experience symptoms of paranoia, distrust, fear and denial, all of which contribute to them not wanting to seek help in formal psychiatric settings. I assisted Anna to file for SSI through the SOAR works program, created for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness with serious and persistent mental illness. The SOAR application takes about 60 days to complete, through the process I collect all of the client’s medical records and write a lengthy medical summary reports that encapsulates the client’s history, and all contributing factors which lead  to their inability to work due to disability, be it mental or physical. The approval rate for a SOAR application is much higher than an application completed at SSI. Five months after the application was submitted, Anna and I got news that her SOAR application was approved, and with the income she found housing 15 days later. This exemplifies how disabilities impact individual’s ability to obtain gainful employment, in which result in homelessness. AND, how once they have income, they have the ability to secure permanent housing, as Anna did.

More good news this week! Hospitality House is em-“bark”-ing on an important initiative to integrate homeless people with pets into its shelter, but it can’t launch the new program without the community’s support.

The new pet program is designed to help homeless pet owners receive shelter and services at Hospitality House without the need for pet separation in exchange for assistance.

This program would provide animals with indoor shelter, food, licensing, veterinary care, spay and neuter, wellness checks, flea and tick treatment, medications and even medical operations if needed. Most importantly, it will keep homeless pet owners together with their loved one at the shelter.

To help launch the pet program at Hospitality House, those interested are invited to visit hhshelter.org/pets or call 530-615-0852.

This past week, we were blessed by many caring individuals and I’d like to give a big thank you to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, Nevada City United Methodist Church, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, The Home Team, Kitchen kutUps, Repeat Offenders and Alta Sierra Ladder Day Saints for coming out to cook. 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 jean, sizes 34/34, 36/34
  • Men’s boxer shorts, sizes M & L
  • Women’s T- shirts, sizes L
  • Women’s sneakers, sizes 8 – 10
  • Women’s jeans, sizes 8 – 10
  • Cotton socks
  • Hairbrushes
  • Q-Tips
  • Razors
  • Blankets
  • Fitted twin sheets -only

Please drop off urgent items to Utah’s Place, located in Brunswick Basin, past the DMV, at 1262 Sutton Way. For all other donations that may benefit a homeless guest or the shelter in general, please take them to the backdoor of Bread & Roses, our thrift shop, located at 840 E Main Street, directly next door to Sierra Cinemas. Guests at our shelter are given shopping vouchers for the store to buy what they need, so your donation directly helps them. All other items are sold with 100% of the sales supporting the shelter’s operations. If we all stick together, we’ll get what we need. Thank you!