My name is Geoff, and I’m the Shelter Operations Manager at Utah’s Place, our homeless shelter. I help make sure everything at Utah’s Place runs smoothly and provides a safe and welcoming environment for Nevada County residents experiencing homelessness.

One man, who I never thought would end up sheltering with us, is a man who I’ll refer to as Howie. Our team found Howie surviving on the streets, highly addicted to methamphetamine. He roamed the streets daily and also frequented our partners at Spirit Peer Empowerment Center for services.

Howie never wanted to stay at our shelter. For personal reasons, he felt it would be unsafe for him to shelter with us. I spoke with Howie at length, reassured him he was welcome, and that Hospitality House has always provided a safe, welcoming environment without judgement or bias.

Howie reluctantly agreed to stay one night and that one night soon became several months. Howie accepted recovery treatment through our friends at Common Goals, graduated, and has now been clean and sober for over six months. He is also now a caretaker at the shelter, helping with the day-to-day operations and also lending a hand in the kitchen to cook as needed.

To put it lightly, Howie has done a one-eighty since arriving and continues to embrace our shelter and his recovery. While he doesn’t have a job just yet, he is actively looking so he can create income and eventually housing. If you’d like to help Howie, please consider a donation today to further our cause. No dollar is too small to make a difference.
And for those of you who attended Night of Giving last week, thank you as well. Between volunteers, artists, donors, businesses and matchers, we raised over $62,000 for the shelter—giving more men, women, and children an opportunity to receive shelter, food and housing resources. If you missed Night of Giving, the full video will be available soon to watch on our YouTube channel and website, so stay tuned!

At this time, I’d to thank our volunteers who help us throughout the year by thanking Marna Duncan and Hiliary Dart for their weekly grocery shopping support and UUCM who came out last Friday night to cook for all of our guests at the shelter and our residents at Sierra Guest Home. A big thank you also to all the folks who helped us wrap presents for our homeless children too to ensure they have a special holiday. 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!

Beginning Tuesday, Dec. 27, will be collecting:

Twin-size blankets
New pillows (we are unable to accept used)
Men’s shoes, sizes 10-14
Women’s shoes, sizes 8-10

Our administrative office is closed currently until then to give more staff an opportunity to spend time with their families for the holidays. Any emails or phone messages will be returned Dec. 27 forward. Donations of store-bought food may be taken directly to our shelter during this period. The shelter will remain open 24/7 to aid those in need. The shelter is located at 1262 Sutton Way and can be reached by phone at (530) 271-7144. In the words of Utah Phillips, “If we all stick together, we’ll get what we need.” Thank you!

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