Shelter Volunteer Training Days Are Coming Up

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All volunteers for the Sierra Roots shelter —old and new alike— should plan on attending one of the training sessions at the NC Vets Hall, 415 N. Pine St., Nevada Cit on either October 12th or October 26th. On both days, volunteer monitor training will be from 10 AM to 12 PM; Volunteer community liaison training will be from 1 PM to 2 PM.

If you are new to Sierra Roots and considering a volunteer opportunity with chronically homeless people, please think about joining our wonderful team of locals and neighbors who participate together with the homeless community to create a safe place indoors during extreme weather events. For more info, click here for our listing on the 211 Connecting Point Volunteer Hub.

Jim O'Brien. Jan. 5, 1933 - Sept. 17 2019

Jim at the Sierra Roots Community Builders Dinner in Grass Valley, May 29, 2019

Jim at the Sierra Roots Community Builders Dinner in Grass Valley, May 29, 2019

Loving Husband of Janice for 50 years

Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather

Friend, Advisor, and Founding member of SIerra Roots Board of Directors

Jim O’Brien

Rest in Peace

Wake at Hooper and Weaver Mortuary, Nevada City - Friday Sept. 20 from 3 p.m. to  6 p.m. 

Funeral Mass at St. Canice Catholic Church, Nevada City Saturday, Sept. 21 at 1 p.m.

Be an Advocate for a Homeless Person. Training session begins October 4.

The four-week training course will meet Fridays 2-5 pm. beginning October 4 at St. Canice Hall, Nevada City. For more information, call Janice at (530)263-2058

The Advocacy Training and Support program operates on the principle of meeting the homeless community where they are and how they are. It is an effective and unique outreach program designed by founder Janice O’Brien based on 10 years working with the homeless community of Nevada City environs.

Sierra Roots advocate Alice Litton assists a homeless participant at the weekly Sierra Roots community lunch at Pioneer Park.

Sierra Roots advocate Alice Litton assists a homeless participant at the weekly Sierra Roots community lunch at Pioneer Park.

The program trains and supports people to be advocates of chronically homeless individuals who indicate they are ready and willing to accept assistance. This may mean helping them get their legal commitments taken care of, finding a primary physician, getting a legal ID, renewing their license, and many other tasks on an as-needed basis.

Advocates enter into a training a program and are guided in their relationship with a homeless individual. Advocates also meet to share experiences and learn from each other.


Sierra Roots Now On Connecting Point

211 Connecting Point has a Volunteer Hub that is a great place to learn about nonprofit organizations in Nevada County and to seek the right volunteer opportunity for you. 

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When Sierra Roots Visited Quinn Cottages

 NOTE: Two years ago, Sierra Roots and Hospitality House folks visited the long-established Quinn Cottages in Sacramento, a transitional housing project for people who experienced homelessness. At that time, the Sierra Roots blog posted about this “inspiring tour,” written by then-Board member and current dedicated volunteer Kathy Mann. We re-present that post again, slightly edited, below:

Welcome to our home!

Welcome to our home!

On August 11, 2017, a group of Sierra Roots supporters – board members, volunteers and friends visited the Quinn Cottages, a community of 60 permanent homes that have 350 square feet of living space each.  The community is located in Sacramento, just on the edge of the downtown area.  Project was built by Mercy Housing, a non-profit organization that builds affordable housing.  Their website provides a good description of the Quinn Cottages community:

Quinn Cottages, built in 1998, is a partnership of Mercy Housing and Cottage Housing. Quinn Cottages provides transitional housing for the homeless. The 2.65 acre site consists of 60 small cottage units (including six fully handicapped accessible units). The cottages are clustered in a series of small neighborhoods, each oriented around a shared common space. The perimeter is fenced, monitored with a security system and has controlled front gate access. A central community building houses a computer room, a library/small conference room, a multipurpose room and a community kitchen. Residents participate in a rigorous and comprehensive two-year program from which they graduate. Resident support services are provided by Cottage Housing, whose staff provides comprehensive social services through existing agencies and through services contracts that bring social services on board.

Our group of twenty or so were treated with a tour by a guide who was very knowledgeable about how Quinn Cottages was developed, its many programs offered to the residents of the community and their experience of moving from an early “clean and sober” entry policy to the Housing First model.  That model has been used more recently with organizations that provide services and housing for people who have been drug and/or alcohol addictions and some also have physical and/or mental disabilities.  Our tour guide  spent a good deal of our time on site answering all of our questions and also talked about her own journey from a long time on the streets, getting treatment, living at Quinn Cottages and now working there. Very hopeful!

Nancy Bagliotto, Janice O'Brien and Leo Granucci at Quinn Cottages

Nancy Bagliotto, Janice O'Brien and Leo Granucci at Quinn Cottages

We also were granted permission of a resident – a single Mom with a teenager, to enter and see their home. That home has a nice separate bedroom, a kitchen, a wall mounted air conditioner, and a full bathroom.  Of the 60 units, there are a mix of one, two and three bedrooms.  Tenants pay 30% of their income for their homes.  The homes are built semi-attached and are in a very pleasant meandering clustering layout.  Property maintenance of the common green lawns and shade trees is provided by Mercy Housing staff.  Also, there is a large community building for food services, trainings and meetings.  An inspiring tour to say the least! 

SPD Pays It Forward!

“Our biggest fundraiser for the community is our eScrip program that returns 3% of customer purchases to the nonprofit of their choice. Since the program started, we have raised close to $1.25 million for the local community nonprofits.”  —SPD Manager Dave Painter, Nevada City Advocate July 2019

“Our biggest fundraiser for the community is our eScrip program that returns 3% of customer purchases to the nonprofit of their choice. Since the program started, we have raised close to $1.25 million for the local community nonprofits.”

—SPD Manager Dave Painter, Nevada City Advocate July 2019

Do you shop at SPD?

As with many of our wonderful local nonprofits, Sierra Roots is enrolled in the eScrip program. Through the eScrip program, SPD shoppers can choose to support the homeless community, by requesting SPD to pay 3% forward to Sierra Roots.

If that sounds good to you,, next time you shop at SPD, take some time to register in the eScrip Program. It takes just two or three minutes. Ask the clerk for an eScrip form and fill it out.

Remember to write “SIERRA ROOTS” on the bottom of the form. You will need to write out our name because Sierra Roots is not listed on the checklist that is currently in use.

After you return the form to your clerk, you will be issued a card, and from then on 3% of your SPD shopping costs will be directed to SIerra Roots.

We thank SPD and we thank you for helping the local homeless community. Your contribution through SPD’s eScrip program will help pay for our Monday pizza lunches, Thursday hot nutritious lunches, weekly clothes and boots distributions, motel vouchers to those in need of respite care, and other programs and service..


Come Explore Volunteering for Sierra Roots

Many chronically homeless people of our towns have grown up here, gone to school here. Their parents and grandparents helped build the buildings and bridges here. They know and love this community and these forests and creeks. Now they have fallen on hard times due to their own poor choices as well as unforeseen hardships. 

This community is a caring community. We are a thankful and generous people here in Nevada City and Grass Valley.  That’s where Sierra Roots comes in. 

Dinner, Seaman’s Lodge, Nevada City.   Volunteers are needed year round to help prepare hot lunches and, in winter months, to help provide extreme weather shelter.

Dinner, Seaman’s Lodge, Nevada City.

Volunteers are needed year round to help prepare hot lunches and, in winter months, to help provide extreme weather shelter.

What: Meet Janice O’Brien to learn how you can make a difference to someone and leave a legacy of creative good will to all who have less than we do. 

When: Saturday, August 17, 2:00 pm

Where: Broad Street Bistro, 426 Broad St., Nevada City


Sierra Roots News now available at Briar Patch, SPD, and other fine establishments

Sierra Roots News at the Briar Patch Co-op

Sierra Roots News at the Briar Patch Co-op

A couple of weeks ago we announced the new Sierra Roots News with a link to download a PDF copy. (If you missed that post, CLICK HERE FOR THE PDF.)

We designed the Sierra Roots News to be part community newspaper as well as part “newsletter for Sierra Roots,” that is, to blend of stories and features about the homeless community along with brief reports on recent Sierra Roots activities.

Since then, we have put a few hundred print copies of Sierra Roots News on display as giveaways. Our aim is for people in the wider community to be able to come across a copy of the Sierra Roots News as they do their weekly grocery shopping or stop in at a favorite coffee place. 

Many thanks to the following businesses for supporting the homeless community and the mission of Sierra Roots by providing display space for our magazine holders:

Broad St. Bistro

Briar Patch Food Co-op

Caroline’s Coffeehouse

Sierra Roasters

SPD Grass Valley

SPD Nevada City



Interview on KVMR with architect Chuck Durrett and Sierra Roots' Paul Cogley

The Current July 18, 2019 | KVMR.jpg

Chuck Durrett and Paul Cogley were July’s featured guests on The Current, the monthly public affairs show on KVMR’s “The Bridge” hosted by Eric Tomb and Monica Senter. 

The show delves into a wide-ranging discussion about homelessness and adopting a “community first” attitude in seeking solutions. It kicks off with a discussion about American Canyon’s new senior affordable village development that includes housing for formerly homeless vets. Then the show takes aim at the possibilities that the American Canyon approach, the co-housing philosophy, and other homeless communities—such as Opportunity Village, Eugene—could help show the way to bringing much needed change to western Nevada County.

 Listen to the embedded podcast below.