Grass Valley, Calif. (May 3, 2021) – The public has the power to change lives right now. Local community members have come forward to help people in crisis by offering an incredible “May Match” challenge to Hospitality House. Through May 21, all monetary donations made to Hospitality House, Nevada County’s only year-round emergency homeless shelter for the general homeless community, will be matched by these individuals, dollar for dollar, up to $25,000. This means a $10 donation will automatically become $20, which, as an example, can provide 40 people with personal protective equipment (PPE) to help stay safe and healthy.
“On top of illness and job loss, California’s eviction moratorium will be lifted on June 30,” said Nancy Baglietto, executive director of Hospitality House. “The reality is, in a matter of weeks, people who are currently unable to pay all or part of their rent due to COVID-19 hardship may soon find themselves without a home.”
The May Match challenge is an opportunity to proactively prepare for a possible rise in homelessness. Donations to support the work of Hospitality House help ensure people in crisis continue to have direct access to emergency shelter, food, PPE, job training, customized case management and all the tools and support needed to return to stable housing. The average cost to provide 24/7 shelter, food and wraparound services to just one person is $62 per day, but a gift of $62 will be doubled by local matchers and go on to help provide care to two people in crisis.
Last year, 639 locals in need were provided services by Hospitality House. Joe Penrose was one of hundreds served. Penrose is a fifth generation Nevada County resident and goldminer.
“Homeless people are people,” said Penrose. “And a lot of homelessness is just income. If you go to a coffee shop, and you get on a computer, and look for a place to live, it’s out of the price range for any homeless person. I had a girlfriend, and we would work together to make a home, but when you’re an individual, you have no chance.”
After separating from his girlfriend and no longer having joint income, Penrose struggled with addiction and homelessness until the Homeless Outreach and Medical Engagement (HOME) team, a collaborative of Hospitality House, Nevada County Behavior Health and Turning Point Providence Center, found him emaciated in the woods and extended services.
Penrose accepted shelter at Hospitality House’s physical shelter, Utah’s Place, and gained a healthy 40 pounds under staff care, who provided proper nourishment and guidance to move forward. He also benefited from one-on-one case management, overcame his substance abuse, and has been permanently housed for six months now, going strong.
“I was skin and bones. I hope others will take help if it’s offered,” said Penrose. “A lot of people are just afraid.”
Today, Penrose continues to maintain his housing and enjoys goldmining in his spare time, but more help is needed. In the past year, food costs alone have tripled for Hospitality House to keep up with demand, but a donation right now of $100 will automatically be matched and turned into $200, providing 200 meals.
With the support of local donors, Hospitality House continues to stand strong for the community. In March 2020, Hospitality House transitioned from being a single overnight shelter into a 24/7 shelter model, operating at multiple locations with no slowing in sight. Shelter expansion efforts into motels to help more people and to increase social distancing have been made possible in partnership with County of Nevada, Sierra Roots, FREED and Turning Point. In Oct. 2020, the shelter began offering onsite COVID-19 testing twice a week to all staff and guests in partnership with Western Sierra Medical Center. In February of this year, Hospitality House and Public Health began offering onsite vaccinations at the shelter to those most vulnerable and at-risk for COVID-19 as well as vaccinations to frontline staff. By March, vaccinations were made available to all staff and guests and remain available today.
To participate in the May Match challenge to help more people in need, donations can be made online at hhshelter.org, by phone at 530-615-0852, or by mail at 1262 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, CA 95945. Donations will be doubled through May 21.