Jesse has a hard working nature about him. When I arrived with dessert at the Sierra Roots lunch in Pioneer Park, Jesse ran up to me to carry my load to the picnic tables. It is automatic for him to respond in that way. 

When asked about his story of homelessness, he shares that his tree climbing seasonal work doesn’t allow him to make enough to afford housing in Nevada County. So he has been living in the woods for several years. He wants to shift perceptions about disrespectful homeless people trashing the woods. This man has been communing and respecting nature during his stay in the woods, and making friends with the quiet and the animals.

He is a worker. He has been volunteering for Divine Spark for 8 years, and now serves as a volunteer for Sierra Roots. Jesse will wash dishes for a meal, and I’ll bet you could see yourself shine in those plates. He and his community want to set a standard, and make things better.

He is a very sensitive man, who has somehow survived in the woods, lo...

Aya Caspi is a non-violent communication expert. She studied with Marshall Rosenberg, and as she puts it "when I met NVC (non-violent communication), it changed the way I saw the world." We asked Aya her perspective on the issue of homelessness through the lens of NVC.

NVC is about social change. Aya talks about how NVC teaches us when we let go of labels and connect with humanity, we can shift our perception. "A Place to Call Home" wants to help us find all the ways possible to connect with humanity and shift perceptions. Aya shares her own story riding a Greyhound Bus to the Bay Area, where she encountered someone who might have been homeless talking to himself. Listen in to hear how her perception shifted on the bus ride.

Part 1

Part 2

Her children are really bothered by homeless people, and don't understand why there is homelessness. There is so much food and so many places to live, they say to her. This is where Aya honestly expresses her grief of where we are as humans. She tell...

Sumner has quite an interesting perspective on homelessness, and being houseless for the last 4 years. He feels as though he has been homeless all his life.  Home and heart go together for him, and he did not feel that the home he was raised in had his heart. After a traumatic brain injury at 4 years old, his life began to change dramatically. He stopped smiling. As time went on, his family wanted to diagnose him with a mental illness, and did not understand the injury he suffered. He knew then, that his family would not be able to help him.

He is not sure whether he is homeless out of a desperate situation, or because he loved the homeless people he saw and met, and wanted to join them. He said, "It gets scarier and scarier the way the world goes..." He's not scared for himself, but for the world in its entirety. He shared that he thinks he ended up being houseless because of gratitude. Gratitude for seeing and loving vulnerable people.

He is a very special person, who has much wis...

How would you handle it if you raised your beautiful daughter the best way you knew how, and she chose to rebel and live on the streets? Obviously, this is a very tough situation for everyone involved. Virginia Lee is a mother in just that situation. We are very happy to note, that there has been shifts and Virginia is reconnected and working with her daughter to find her a place to call home.

She initially sees that she was enabling her daughter as she tried to fix the situation, and that makes sense as a mother's brain tells her it's her biologic imperative to keep her child alive and well. It takes tremendous courage and lots of support from counselors to regular Al-Anon meetings to let go of that. Virginia advises, if you know of someone in a similar situation, be compassionate. If you haven't walked in the shoes being a parent with a homeless child, there is really no way to know what solutions might work. 

Kindness and compassion, without judgement, is always a...

Trena Bristol is one of the most courageous human beings you will ever meet. She has degrees from Harvard University, and the University of California at Davis. She worked in the Accounting Field, making a very nice salary, for many years. Then something strange began to happen. She kept getting laid off from jobs, and she didn’t understand why. Trena described it as if she couldn’t figure out how to put her pants on in the morning.

Trena’s story is one that will show you one of the many ways that a person ends up living in their car for 4 years. Last year, she was finally diagnosed with a progressive genetic disorder, explaining the inability to hold down work. She has now gotten disability income, and is saving for a place to call home.

Her story has shifted perceptions of many.

KVMR Storycatchers - click here to listen

You can also listen on the Audio Story Showcase at A Place to Call Home. 

What if we did not feel like avoiding homeless people on the streets? What if you felt brave enough to start a conversation and get to know someone who does not have a home? How might that affect the solutions?

These are questions that I wonder about.

Two years ago, I moved to Nevada County, and the first heavy rain in November of 2015 happened while I was caring for my sister’s dog. When I took Shambo for a walk, I noticed numerous people setting up encampments near the path where we were walking. Some were holding a tarp over their head and others had a chair turned upside down to protect them from the storm. As I tried to quickly move through this area walking my sister’s large black male greyhound, a soaked and disheveled man walked toward me and said “Hope that dog isn’t a male. My dog doesn’t like males!” 

My immediate response was fear…then heartbreak.

It was a moment of truth, and I realized I could no longer turn a blind eye to what I saw before me. I imagine that the man with...

Our Humans Being Positively Human Indiegogo Crowdfunding campaign to fund the A-Place-To-Call-Home Project is now live, online.

And it’s just sitting there, waiting for some action!

The campaign needs YOUR help, to make it successful. And we don’t mean your money – we mean your SOCIAL CURRENCY or Social Media Reach.

To make it SUPER-EASY for you, we’ve set up a profile and are looking for at least 100 “Supporters” in the next few days. Check it out HERE.

Think of as a social media flash mob, or a massive scheduled social post. Our “Supporters” can sign up to have OUR message published to THEIR social media accounts on the date and time we’ve chosen – the morning of May 31st.

Thunderclap is similar to crowdfunding, but uses SOCIAL CURRENCY, instead of money. Our audience (“Supporters”) can “donate” a Tweet or Facebook post to help us spread the word. The broader the word is spread, the more likely to reach CONTRIBUTORS who want to financially support the A-Plac...

April 11, 2017

The Nevada City, California Community Radio station, KVMR 89.5FM,  has launched a new series of podcasts much like Dave Isay's StoryCorp series heard on NPR.

With StoryCorp, Dave learned the power of listening and telling stories.  Telling stories, and listening to them can actually create positive change as we touch into each other's humanity. 

The first series of stories on the StoryCatchers page is from our California Humanities funded grant project called "A Place to Call Home".  KVMR and the CoPassion Project have partnered in the development and outreach for this project, and the new StoryCatchers page on the KVMR website is another place you can hear the wonderful stories we are catching. Listen to them on the Audio Story Showcase here on the "A Place to Call Home" website.

Be sure to listen, and let us know what you think. We love your comments and feedback, here on our website and on all social media,  and for you to SHARE with everyone you know.

Thanks a bunch!

Launch of weekly A-Place-To-Call-Home audio stories from people connected to the homeless community in Nevada County, CA: those working with homeless people, officials charged with finding solutions, concerned citizens, and homeless people, themselves.

December 21, 2016

I was sitting at the table in the Streicher House, a day-center shelter for the homeless people in Nevada County, California,  and looked up as one of the homeless folks threw open the door and dashed in carrying this plant specimen. It was very long and pine cone in appearance, but odd at the same time. You could tell he was excited and pleased with his find. He whizzed by me asking for Pauli and it became instantly clear that he wanted to give this found item to Pauli as a gift.

She came from the kitchen and he held it out to her, like an offering, a special gift for a person he liked and wanted to please. It was as if he had gone to Tiffany's and found a diamond Cartier bracelet and could barely contain his excitement and joy when presenting it.

It was touching and sobering. It was a gift of finding and sharing a thing of nature and beauty. He couldn't go to a store and buy something, but he found something in nature, in the woods where he walks and lives, and he saw such beauty, it...

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