By Alicia Doyle

The Writer
Specializing in Good News
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Photo by DAVID YAMAMOTO/Ventura County Star

Our Community House of Hope receives grant money for additional room

Sept. 26, 2014 Ventura County Star

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Our Community House of Hope, a nonprofit serving those who have no care at the end of life, had been turning away requests because of lack of space until the organization recently received a $40,000 grant from the Richard Grossman Community Foundation to establish a fourth bedroom.

A fourth bedroom will enable service for an additional 30 residents in the coming year, said Elizabeth Grossman, of Thousand Oaks, foundation president.

"We awarded the grant because we recognize that end-of-life treatment choices are limited and we were very impressed with the facility, the staff, and the administration," Grossman said.

Most people, when asked, want to die at home, said Ann Sobel, executive director of Our Community House of Hope in Thousand Oaks.

"However, oftentimes there are not the family and friends who can leave their own lives and jobs to provide the necessary care 24 hours a day," said Sobel, of Moorpark. "This is a home, not a medical facility. When one enters our home, it looks and feels as such."

Our Community House of Hope provides 24-hour care for those in their last weeks of life, as well as support to families.

"All care services are free of charge," Sobel said. "We are funded only through community donations. We do not receive insurance reimbursements or government funding."

The connection between Our Community House of Hope and the foundation was inspired by Patty Hayes, a board member of Our Community House of Hope who was familiar with the foundation.

"Patty ... arranged a visit with them," Sobel said. "They came to our home, saw what we do, and our conversation about funding needs began."

The $40,000 grant will help cover caregiver costs, including food, and updating the fourth bedroom for a bed-bound resident.

"When we opened in 2012, we did not have the funding to fill all four beds at once, so instead, seeing the need to serve, we began with two beds," Sobel said.

As funding has grown, a third bed was added.

"The home has four bedrooms. We desperately needed to open the fourth bed due to community need," Sobel said.

The grant was made in memory of Beverly Gilmore, former CEO and president of West Hills Hospital, who was a resident of Oxnard until her death in early August.

"Bev was very supportive of Our Community House of Hope and their mission, so we felt that awarding this grant in her memory was appropriate," Grossman said. "Her legacy of compassion and action will be remembered by all who had the good fortune to know her."

Tawni Ramos, the current resident of the room, is in her late 20s and a single mother of a young son.

"She is in the midst of a valiant fight against brain cancer, and, in a situation where treatments are ineffective and with nowhere else to go, Our Community House of Hope is an urgent lifeline for this courageous patient," Sobel said.

Ramos' mother, who lives in Oregon, is now at her side.

"Thanks to the resourcefulness of an aunt, who contacted us and received quick turnaround within 24 hours, this young mother is resting comfortably in the Beverly J. Gilmore bedroom," Sobel said.

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