Newsletter‎ > ‎February 2019‎ > ‎

Gimme Shelter

posted Feb 11, 2019, 3:44 PM by Kristin Snell

by Diana Pasquini, San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center

“Oh, a storm is threat’ning

 My very life today

 If I don’t get some shelter

Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away.”

                                          Mick Jagger & Keith Richards

Despite the penetrating chill of a late January afternoon, the permeating warmth of congeniality filled the North San Juan Community Center as the Ridge’s first Point in Time event welcomed our community’s unsheltered population. Conceived as a day on which unsheltered individuals are surveyed in order to provide data upon which future state dollars may be allocated for services, the event had a celebratory air. Smiles were everywhere! Sheltered and unsheltered individuals, alike, chatted and swapped stories while lunching on delicious homemade chicken tortilla soup, vegetable stew, pulled pork and jambalaya. Superficial differences melted away as a community gathered to enjoy the day together. Music was played. Songs were sung. Hair was cut. Vaccinations were given. Donated toiletries, hand warmers, clothing, groceries, gift cards, and handcrafted hats were cheerfully dispensed. Yes, surveys were taken; but the defining snapshot from that particular Point in Time was of a vibrant, resilient, inclusive community.

“I’m volunteering because I’ve seen the increase of homelessness in recent years. The cold weather is here, which makes it a lot more difficult being homeless. North San Juan needs to be represented on various issues and the homeless count helps us receive funding. We need a warming shelter, as well as public bathrooms and showers, ongoing town clean-ups, and bus passes once we have public transportation on the Ridge.”                                             

Coral Locatelli

San Juan Ridge Action Community Team Volunteer


“It’s my impression that the unsheltered on the San Juan Ridge are underrepresented and I was excited to learn that we could host our own event. I am very impressed with the quality of service that the town organizations provide to the people residing in their areas. I do not see any reason why we cannot offer the same thing on the Ridge. I was pleased with the happy, grateful folks that took advantage of this event and I hope that next year more people will participate.”                                                                  

    Pat Leach

San Juan Ridge Action Community Team Volunteer


“I greeted the people on entry. Many are familiar with me because they are also clients of the monthly food distribution in North San Juan.  Everyone who came was very amicable and willing to take surveys. It was great to have Nevada County Public Health Services, Hospitality House, and Nevada County Social Services here. Everyone was happy and delighted. The food was wonderful!”

Judy Arbuckle

Community Volunteer


“I’ve worked at the polls and been a census taker on the Ridge, so I’m really familiar with the community. I’ve lived here for thirty years and rarely see someone with whom I’m not acquainted. Allocation of resources from the county is important. I’ve noticed an apparent lack of resources on the Ridge. We need an accurate snapshot of the actual homeless population so we can serve their needs.”

A.E. Stewart

Community Volunteer


“I fed people, which really made my heart feel good. Everyone was extremely appreciative. Knowing how many people are living in the woods, I was surprised that I didn’t see more of them. My heart goes out to them in this weather. I’m glad for the services that are offered, but I wish there were more we could do. I wish there was transportation from the Ridge to town to they could take advantage of services there.”

                                                                                Sande Scott 

                                                             Community Volunteer  


“Today I gave haircuts. I cut men’s and women’s hair, trimmed eyebrows, and groomed the backs of gentlemen’s necks and ears. I think this was a great turnout, though not overwhelming. I think we’re lucky not to have more homeless on the Ridge. It’s a harsh time of year to be homeless. All the volunteers were passionate about being here for people. That’s what made today a really good thing.”   

Kelly Kehn

Volunteer Cosmetologist


“I think this event is pretty good for people who can’t get anywhere to do what they need to do with no car. Today I got two new hats, a bunch of socks, a scarf, a wool sweater, shirts, wrist warmers, leg warmers, and a Mother Truckers gift card. Shelter is needed, especially in the winter. Showers are very much needed. People get tired of using wipes to stay clean.”

                                                             Kimberly Matlock

                                                             Unsheltered Guest


“It’s nice to see a community like North San Juan. It’s beautiful out here. We administered vaccinations, mostly flu shots, tetanus, and hepatitis. We passed out a lot of Narcan (to reverse the effects of opioids) today. If my efforts to administer or pass out Narcan saves even one person….well, you can’t get help if you’re dead.”                                             

Rick Fowler

Nevada County Public Health Intern

“I’ve lived out here on the Ridge for fifteen years. I’ve worked for Placer and Nevada County’s Public Health for years and hadn’t had the opportunity to come out and work in this community until today. It was a delight to see how well we were received and how many people responded to giving out Narcan. People were legitimately interested in using it to help others.”

Remy Lindsey

Nevada County Public Health Nurse


“I’m really happy to be out here because it’s nice to be more connected to the Ridge. Working in Grass Valley it sometimes feels far away, but events like this one bring us all together and help us better understand the needs of our homeless population. Currently Hospitality House does not accept dogs, which is a big barrier to the homeless population with pet friends. Today I took a survey to see if pet owners would be interested in sheltering at Hospitality House if we had a place for their pets. We found out that, if they had a way to get there, they would.”

  Nicole Lescher

      Hospitality House Case Manager