Finally … a place to call home |

Finally … a place to call home

John HartRebekah Mattson, 6, kneels at the dining room table in her family's new home. Three months ago, the Mattsons were homeless; the kindness of strangers changed that.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Three months ago, Bridget “Missy” Mattson’s faith in people had evaporated.

Homeless, the mother of six was left on the street, her stay at the Manzanita Family temporary housing shelter expired after five months.

Her husband, Jerry, his body ravaged by dialysis treatments and failing kidneys, had been in and out of the hospital and was in danger of being removed from the national kidney transplant list if he was left out on the street.

“I was really, seriously beginning to lose faith in people,” Mattson said Wednesday. “Before my husband got sick, we always used to take care of ourselves, and we couldn’t.”

After their stay at Manzanita was up, Mattson and her family lived in friends’ homes and survived on the kindness of strangers.

In January, Mattson and her family moved into a 40-foot bus off Greenhorn Road provided by Randy Snelgrove and his wife.

In the meantime, her husband’s health deteriorated, with trips to the emergency room in one of two old cars almost as common as oldest son Joe’s rides to work at a pizza parlor.

They needed a miracle – and fast.

“I just wanted to give them the opportunity to do things right,” said Snelgrove, who said he’d heard their story. “I’d done things like this before, but not to this extent. I’m just hoping they can continue to grow and heal as a family.”

They were given the opportunity March 2, when acquaintances who overheard Bridget Mattson explaining her plight to a friend at a Grass Valley laundermat hatched a plan to give Mattson and her family something they almost couldn’t have imagined.

A home of their own.

Today, the Mattsons are living in a sprawling multi-bedroom home on three acres near Alta Sierra, made possible in no small part by the kindness of strangers.

“It’s been a total, awesome miracle,” Mattson said Wednesday from the her living room off Pingree Road and Highway 49.

A miracle, considering the family of eight spent Christmas in a single bedroom at their temporary living quarters, where 61/2 month-old Hannah was born.

The home is owned by Grant Rubi-

no. The Mattson family pays $1,300 a month toward the rent, and the remaining $400 is paid by a group of people who were strangers to the family just four months ago. In fact, enough money has been collected from four families and deposited in a fund at El Dorado Savings Bank to pay for a year of rent.

If Grant Rubino’s wife, Danielle, hadn’t been told of the conversation in the laundermat between Mattson and a friend, the family might still be on the streets.

“My wife’s heart just went out to them,” said Rubino. “I’ve always wanted to help people … I guess this is one of those things where one good turn deserves another. We’re doing this by a leap of faith. I’ve been blessed that I can help someone,” said Rubino, a Pacific Gas and Electric Corp. employee.

Mattson has had her faith restored.

“If things didn’t work out, I don’t know what I would do,” said Mattson, whose family earns $2,300 a month from disability assistance and Social Security. She’s hoping to land a job where she can get paid by the county to care for her husband.

“I know God works through people. Every time someone helps me, it restores my faith, and I am so thankful for the help we’ve been given.”

And Joe, a freshman at Nevada Union, now has a room instead of a top bunk of his own.

“It’s pretty cool. Now I can get away from everyone,” he joked.

“It feels good now just to wake up every morning,” his father said, smiling,

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