Nevada County’s first Homeless shelter completion celebration Friday |

Nevada County’s first Homeless shelter completion celebration Friday

Brittaney Irvin does data entry for Hospitality House. Utah's Place on Sutton Way in Grass Valley could be open for the homeless by Dec. 1.
John Hart/ | The Union

For the folks who keep Hospitality House’s work with Nevada County’s homeless moving ahead, Friday marks a milestone when the county’s first permanent homeless shelter’s completion will be celebrated.

“I think about it, what it means to cut that ribbon,” said Cindy Maple, Hospitality House’s executive director. “It means the end of a really long, challenging journey. We made it.”

Construction began seven months ago on the new shelter, which is being called Utah’s Place in honor of the nonprofit’s beloved cofounder, Utah Phillips, who was an ardent fighter for labor and peace issues, a folk singer, a poet and advocate for the homeless. He died in May 2008 of heart failure.

“Friday is not actually our move-in date, it’s our celebration of completing the building,” Maple said. “We want to invite the community to celebrate with us and be a part of that.”

Located at 1262 Sutton Way in Grass Valley, the 6,500-square-foot facility will be available year-round as overnight sleeping quarters for 54 guests and will include dedicated space for homeless families, a Rapid Rehousing program and Pathways to Housing program.

“We don’t take people from out of county unless it is a special circumstance, like a domestic violence situation,” Maple said about dedicating their resources to local clients.

When it is opens Dec. 4, the new facility will mark a major shift in Hospitality House’s operations. For the nonprofit’s first decade, it has relied on a nomadic rotation of Nevada County churches and their congregants to shelter Hospitality House’s clients overnight and feed them, as the organization’s headquarters did not have adequate facilities of its own.

“They are still solidly a part of us,” Maple said, noting that the nonprofit’s faith partners will still help feed Hospitality House’s guests at Utah’s Place.

During the day, guests are currently bused to the Hospitality House’s Welcome Center on South Church Street, where a hot lunch is served and visitors are given access to medical care, social services, job counseling, showers and laundry facilities.

“It gives us room to do so much more than we have been able to do, cramped in this little center,” Maple said. “It means we get a place where we can grow and run our programs the way I envision it being done, where the focus is on creating an environment where people feel valued and where they can do the work they need to do to become housed and stable.”

While Friday will celebrate how far Utah’s Place has come, there are still hurdles. The project was largely made possible by an anonymous, more than $400,000 personal loan, and Maple said Hospitality House still needs to raise $200,000 toward paying it back.

“We are still in need of funds,” Maple said. The organization also needs long twin-bed sheets.

“It was a huge undertaking for our little organization,” Maple said of working toward the shelter. “We made it with a lot of help from our community.”

For more information, visit or contact the shelter at 530-271-7144.

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email or call 530-477-4236.

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