Grass Valley’s Hospitality House strives to help during heat
With the air quality reaching dangerous levels for sensitive groups this week, Kelly Case struggles to find a place inside to do his breathing treatment.
Case is homeless.
“For 37 years I took care of a wonderful woman, my wife, and for 35 years she was totally disabled,” Case said.
Before his wife’s illness, Case worked as a bus driver; but a traumatic brain injury and extreme chronic obstructive pulmonary disease meant that caring for his wife became his full-time job. He received a little income as her In-Home Support Service caregiver.
“She died last August. I lost her. I lost my house. I lost everything.”
Floundering deep in grief, Case sought shelter at Hospitality House.
“It really bothered me to have to rely on other people … I was always the one that could give, that could help … I was scared at first,” Case said.
But healing began with a safe bed and three meals at the shelter and has progressed with a creative writing workshop and six-week Ready-to-Rent class.
Because of the aftereffects of his brain trauma, Case needs help filling out applications for housing. A trained specialist at FREED Center for Independent Living works with him during the day filling out paperwork.
Then Hospitality House Nurse Case Manager Fred Skeen opens up during closed daytime hours so Case can do his self-directed breathing treatment. That way, he can leave his nebulizer and supplies safely on his bunk and escape the smoky, hot air.
“Compromised respiratory function, emphysema or COPD, combined with the heat and the smoke particulates, create a worst-case scenario,” Skeen said. “We see complete exhaustion, shortness of breath, wheezing, dehydration. And then it happens all over again the next day. It is just as hard as the dead of winter.”
In extreme cases, people get treated at the hospital and then need a place to recuperate upon release.
“I would go home and heal; but our homeless guests don’t get a chance to recuperate during the day, which puts them at risk for a return to the hospital,” Skeen said.
Hospitality House opened its doors early, at noon instead of 4 p.m., several days last week to provide refuge from the heat and smoke.
Source: Hospitality House
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