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.

An extraordinary thing happens when people experience hardship together. While all our guests share the common trauma of homelessness, there are many things that make them unique. However, during the COVID-19 outbreak, they are finding themselves in unity with the fear and anxiety that the pandemic brings to each one of us. The shelter has been “sheltering in place” for the past three weeks. In attempt to keep our community and guests safe, we have suspended all volunteer positions at the shelter. To help us with these additional tasks of keeping the shelter spic and span, some guests have happily volunteered to help. We are particularly grateful to have an incredible Caretaker Team. All of our caretakers are experiencing homelessness and they are up at the crack of dawn to prepare the coffee station and kitchen for a long day of service, additionally keeping up with laundry, cleaning and other guest needs. We are also very grateful for one guest who has volunteered his days to help make three meals a day with our Chef Chris. For those who are sheltering in place at your homes, you may know the feeling of being “stir crazy” right now. Many of our guests are feeling that restlessness as well, being together under one roof for three weeks. To help calm the nerves, we have implemented two 15-minute breaks outside for all shelter guests to walk and take breaks on property. Shelter staff have been stable pillars over the past three weeks, encouraging guests to extend graces, increase compassion and find peace within during these very challenging and uncertain times. One guest in particular, Jose, recently began serenading our shelter guests to pass the time. His positive attitude and joyful personality brightens up the entire shelter. His personality, smile and joking provides a magical relief for what we are all experiencing, extreme exhaustion and unrelieved anxiety about the Covid-19 situation. If you’re on Facebook, visit the Hospitality House Community Shelter page to watch a short video of Jose playing the guitar.

As you might have heard, Hospitality House is now operating its emergency shelter and programming 24 hours a day, seven days a week at four locations: Utah’s Place and three motels with the likelihood of taking increased safety measures in the coming days. Individuals are receiving onsite supervision, case management, hygiene necessities, food, and a place to stay throughout the day and evening. Hospitality House has become an around the clock operation. The Homeless Outreach and Medical Engagement team aka HOME, a collaborative partnership between Hospitality House, County of Nevada Behavioral Health, Turning Point Community Programs and AMI Housing, is helping with food delivery to motels as well as Hospitality House’s Homeless Access Transportation (HAT) van, a service made possible by County of Nevada and United Way of Nevada County. A big thank you also to our Lake Wildwood volunteer weekend food drivers! To learn more about our safety protocols around COVID-19 and ways to have an immediate impact in your community today, visit 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 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 Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, Nevada City United Methodist Church, IFM Impastas, St. Patrick’s Rookies, Jazzercise, The Home Team and Repeat Offenders for all their recent help. A big thank you also the Oaks Clubhouse in Lake Wildwood for helping us provide meals on weekends too. 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…

• Women’s and Men’s jeans and pants
• Rain gear
• Handwarmers
• Deodorant
• Ibuprofen
• Tylenol
• New blankets (new and packaged only)

In addition to these urgently needed items, we are also actively collecting needed items to slow the spread of COVID-19. A few of these items include n95 masks and homemade masks, hand sanitizer, Airborn, disinfectant soap, disinfectant wipes, and disposable cleaning gloves. Please visit our website at hhshelter.org to see the full list. 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!

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