Hospitality House celebrates 15 years of service | TheUnion.com
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Hospitality House celebrates 15 years of service

Submitted to The Union

This June marks 15 years service from Hospitality House, the community’s only year-round emergency homeless shelter for the general homeless population. When it first became a recognized 501(c)(3), it offered weekly lunches with plans to introduce a nomadic shelter to the community by fall of that same year.

Fred Skeen, long-time volunteer and employee of Hospitality House, remembers he was at a Thursday Night Farmers Market that same summer when he first heard about the newly established nonprofit.

“I saw Utah Phillips sitting at a table on Main Street with a couple of coins and dollar bills in a fishbowl, and I asked, ‘What’s this about?’” recalled Skeen.

Phillips, one of several original founders of the nonprofit, shared how he and other volunteers were trying to help people struggling with homelessness in western Nevada County, and creating accessible shelter was a high priority. The volunteers were working to identify churches in the community that could open their doors on select evenings to give people a chance to eat and sleep safely each night.

This endeavor became a reality in November and for the next eight years, Hospitality House operated as a nomadic shelter. Individuals struggling with homelessness would meet at a welcome center, then travel by bus to a faith community’s facility at night and return to the welcome center in the morning.

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In 2013, Hospitality House opened its permanent shelter, Utah’s Place, naming it after Phillips himself. Over the last seven years, its operations have continued to expand to best assist people struggling with homelessness back into permanent housing. Some of these services include customized case management, job training, mental health counseling, peer support, financial planning, recuperative care, transportation, pet care, referrals for treatment, and extensive outreach on the streets and into camps to help move people from the woods into shelter or housing.

“In addition to shelter, our partnership with the county and hospital offers guests recovering in recuperative care in-house physical therapy and wound care as needed, reducing the number of repeat hospital visits and increasing the rate of recovery and returns to permanent housing,” explained Nancy Baglietto, Executive Director of Hospitality House. “The program has been so successful that we will be expanding from four medical respite beds to 10 later this year.”

Since the onset of the pandemic, there have been no lapses in services provided at Hospitality House. Rather than slow down, Hospitality House shifted into a 24/7 operation to help even more people in crisis and has extended into several motels in partnership with County of Nevada via Project Room Key. Hospitality House also works closely with the County’s Behavioral Health HOME team to try to find motel placement for those at risk, in addition to mitigating for COVID-19 on the streets by passing out preventive supplies, hygiene kits and helping people reach medical, including COVID-19 testing.

Since day one, volunteers and community donors have always been the mainstay of Hospitality House, having sustained the organization for several years solely through volunteerism and private donations.

Donations to further the work of Hospitality House are welcome and may be made online at hhshelter.org or by mailing a donation to 1262 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, CA 95945.


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