Homeless welcome center will be open for summer
With an estimated homeless population of 500, some Nevada County citizens were greatly concerned by the prospect of Hospitality House closing its doors for the summer.
However, the winter refuge for many homeless people has forged a way to continue providing services for the less fortunate.
“We felt we couldn’t close down the shelter completely this summer because the services we provide are too important to people,” said Joanna Robinson, a board member of Hospitality House.
The Hospitality House provides not only laundry facilities, showers, food, and clothing but also a family-like community.
“The other thing we provide is a social situation,” Robinson said. “A lot of these people have been alone for a long time and it’s nice for them to have a community.”
Within a unique community such as Hospitality House, extraordinary people and stories are found.
“One of our guests, a man in his 60s, was actually the first person in the U.S. to survive West Nile virus,” Robinson said. “He still has some lingering disabilities (from the disease).”
According to Robinson, many guests at Hospitality House suffer from various ailments.
“Some of our guests are very ill,” she said. “They have cancer, diabetes, asthma.”
Despite disabilities, Hospitality House guests find a way to aid each other.
“The more able-bodied guests often care for the less able bodies,” Robinson said. “That’s the kind of thing that happens when people help people. It’s contagious and community-building.”
In order to survive, many of the Hospitality House guests have made temporary homes in various campgrounds in and around Nevada County.
“A lot of our guests got together and rented camping spaces but the problem is that you can only stay so long at a camping space,” Robinson said. “You can’t really live there.”
In order to help relieve some of the angst in this situation, the Hospitality House has hired summer staff to operate the facility from 1-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.
“This (the drop in center) goes until, presumably, Oct. 14,” Robinson said.
Although the shelter has found a means to operate for minimal hours this summer, they are still in great need of volunteers, supplies and funds.
“Staffing for the summer has been expensive and we still need more volunteers,” Robinson said.
Hospitality House will resume its winter shelter program Oct. 15, according to Robinson. The Grass Valley Planning Commission recently approved the homeless welcome center for another year at its downtown location.
Donations can be made June 4-12 at The Union (ask for Dixie Redfearn) or the Intake Center beginning June 12, 230 S. Church St. Grass Valley from 1-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays or P.O. Box 3223, Grass Valley. For more information visit hospitalityhouseshelter.org.
To contact Staff Writer Lindsey Croft, call 477-4230.
Hospitality House summer needs
Here are a few things Hospitality House is looking for as it stays open during the summer:
• Mosquito repellent
• Anti-fungi spray
• Antibiotic cream, i.e. Neosporin
• Calamine lotion
• Aloe Vera gel
• Sunblock (higher SPFs preferred)
• D cell batteries
• Bottles of water
• Drinks with vitamin C
• Tents and sleeping bags
• Camping lanterns
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