New case managers may help balance workload at Grass Valley homeless shelter | TheUnion.com

New case managers may help balance workload at Grass Valley homeless shelter

Fred Skeen, left, and a volunteer help remove trash from a homeless camp near Wolf Creek during a volunteer cleanup day organized by Hospitality House.

Fred Skeen, a case manager for Hospitality House, works one on one with each of the Grass Valley homeless shelter's 54 guests.

He also maintains relationships with some past clients who have recently been re-housed, working to ensure they have the resources they need to cultivate stable lifestyles.

Skeen, a registered nurse, has worked with Hospitality House for more than a decade. Prior to taking over the case management role last month, when former case manager Jodi Benson retired from the position, Skeen worked as a shelter monitor in the evenings, breathalyzing and checking in guests and helping to manage the flow of the operation.

In his former role at Hospitality House, Skeen got to know many of the shelter's guests. But he's excited about his new job, he said, which allows him to dedicate his time to working directly with clients in a relaxed and personal setting.

Hospitality House guests meet with Skeen to establish case management plans, which include goals for recovery and moving out of homelessness. In order to help clients accomplish those goals, Skeen connects them with services like rehabilitation centers, mental health counseling and food stamps. He also helps guests secure income by finding employment or signing up for social services.

It's a busy job, Skeen said, noting the shelter also employs a case manager who focuses on housing and another who focuses on outreach in the community. He's constantly juggling his various roles and making himself available to those who need his assistance.

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But Skeen and the other case managers are slated to soon get some help at Hospitality House.

Last month, the Nevada County Board of Supervisors voted to pay Turning Point Community Programs, Inc. — an agency which contracts with the county's Behavioral Health Department — an additional $103,648 from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018.

The money, which comes from Mental Health Services Act and MediCal funds, will pay the salaries of two new case managers.

The managers will be Turning Point employees, but will work at Hospitality House to bring behavioral health resources directly to the shelter's clients.

The extra help will be a huge asset to Hospitality House, said the organization's executive director, Nancy Baglietto. She hopes the new case managers will begin working at the shelter by the end of the year. Turning Point is currently working through the hiring process, she said.

Having two additional case managers will allow Skeen to refine his focus supporting the shelter's clients and dedicate more time to each individual he works with, he said.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Pera, email mpera@theunion.com or call 530-477-4231.