RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - A storm with heavy rain and wind had just passed through Rancho Cordova the night before. Married couple Eric and Cathi Niven, with six young women and 10 young men, all missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, all wearing Santa hats, made their way through the puddles near Folsom Boulevard. They came bearing bags of knitted and handmade hats, scarves, quilts and blankets for the homeless. City of Rancho Cordova Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) members Kerry Simpson and Russ Ducharme worked with the group as liaison between the missionaries and the homeless.
Eric and Cathi Niven are from Monticello, Utah. Cathi Niven told Monticello resident Jeri Burt how much she would like to help the homeless in the Sacramento area. Before long over 200 items had been made and shipped to Sacramento. “(Cathi) called me and asked me if I could make some scarves and stuff,” said Jeri Burt. “Of course I already had a jump start on it.” Burt makes a practice of forming groups to crochet hats and scarves for those in need, and many from Monticello and La Sal, Utah, were excited to be part of it. “Sometimes it doesn’t seem like you can do near enough, but just touching one person at a time is just a huge blessing,” Burt said.
Simpson said that homeless people are not spending their days looking for work or finding a way to get income. “They’re thinking about how they’re going to feed themselves, where are they going to sleep?” Simpson said. “When they’re out in the elements, where are they going to get that warm coat when the weather changes?”
William Hawkins, 68, accepted a hat. He used to be a maintenance man and worked for general contractors. He was a character actor and backstage tech in Broadway shows. Then he had two heart attacks and heart failure, lost his place and has been homeless for two years. He’s seen a lot of suffering, and gone through it himself. “I’m not saying things I’m thinking about, I’m saying things I know,” Hawkins said. “Because what I think isn’t worth a dime, it’s what I know that counts.” Hawkins was glad to see the young people helping others, and said it shows how things are improving. “These young people are (helping), Hawkins said. “You go to get on the light rail, they want to help you, they hold doors for you, they’re more than happy to.”
Cathi Niven took a picture of Hawkins and another man receiving hats. “We sent (the picture) immediately to the lady who had actually done the knitting, and she was excited to see that,” Cathi Niven said. The missionaries timed the distribution to coincide with the first day of the annual Latter-day Saint global initiative called Light the World. Thousands participate in individual and group service from December 1 to 29. (see www.lighttheworld.org).
The City of Rancho Cordova Homeless Outreach Team includes Simpson, who coordinates, two Rancho Cordova police officers, Ducharme as senior code enforcement officer for the City and two individuals for cleanup. A homeless navigator travels the City helping the homeless obtain IDs, driver’s licenses, social security cards, whatever is needed. “Team members’ positions overlap,” said Rancho Cordova communications officer, Ashley Downton, “with the core purpose to build relationships with homeless individuals and families, and provide services, education, and resources in partnership with local organizations, to help them become self-sufficient.”
While the missionaries were finding people who needed the hats and quilts, Rancho Cordova resident Jennifer Barnes came by, who used to be homeless herself. Now with a job and a place to stay, she doesn’t forget those among whom she lived. Daily she comes out to check on people she knows, to bring them something or just see how they are getting along. “It’s really hard,” Barnes said. “You have a choice to either rise above it or get stuck. There are some people who get stuck.” The missionaries gave Barnes a pile of the homemade items on December 1 to distribute to people she sees, and Ducharme spoke with her about helping the City to make contact with people who need help.
“It’s a collaborative effort between many people in the community,” Downton said. “Together we can make a difference and help change peoples’ lives.”
This can happen by connecting not only with people in our community, but also joining the efforts of people in Monticello, Utah, with others in Rancho Cordova, California.
Sacramento Self-Help Housing Presents First-Ever Drive
SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - On Saturday, December 15, 2018, Sacramento Self-Help Housing (SSHH) will host its first-ever “Housewarming for the Homeless” winter donation drive at the Cal Expo main gate loop from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. To make it as easy as possible for the community to participate, SSHH staff and dedicated volunteers will be on-hand to collect linens (such as blankets, single and double bed sheets and towels), small appliances (such as microwaves, toasters and coffee makers) and kitchenware to be distributed to hundreds of recently homeless individuals in Sacramento County.
Sacramento Self-Help Housing is a non-profit 501(c)3 agency dedicated to assist those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless to find and retain stable and affordable housing. With significant support provided by Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance, SSHH successfully opened 30+ transitional and permanent supportive houses for the most vulnerable in our community in 2018. Looking forward to 2019, SSHH expects to do the same. In response to this rapid growth and as a result of the ever-increasing number of homeless men, women and families in Sacramento County, SSHH is garnering donations to assist with the transition of their clients from the street and onto a path of sustainable independent permanent housing.
The “Housewarming for the Homeless” needs list includes the following: Linens: bath towels, hand towels, wash cloths, single and twin bed sheets, blankets, bed pillows, dish towels; Appliances: microwaves, toasters, coffee pots; Kitchenware: dishes, pots, pans, silverware
Each donation, big or small, will go directly to furnishing a home for a recently homeless individual or family in our community. For more information about Sacramento Self-Help Housing, please call 916-341-0593 or visit www.sacselfhelp.org
Sacramento Self-Help Housing assists local homeless individuals and families worried about losing their housing to find and retain stable and affordable housing. The not-for-profit organization provides resources such as an updated housing database on the website along with shared housing options for those without sufficient income to rent a unit by themselves. In addition, Sacramento Self-Help Housing reaches out to local homeless men and women living in camps in local communities to assess their needs and, whenever possible, refer them to available mental health services, medical care, financial aid, and shelter and housing options. For more, visit www.sacselfhelp.org or call 916-341-0593.
Source: T-Rock Communications
SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - Volunteer registration for the 2019 Homeless Point-In-Time (PIT) Count is now open. The count will be conducted on the evenings of January 30 and 31, 2019.
The biennial PIT count is a county-wide special census which provides a snapshot of who is experiencing homelessness on any given night. The data gathered helps shape policy and programs designed to assist some of our most vulnerable residents.
Sacramento Steps Forward is partnering with Sacramento State’s Division of Social Work and the Institute for Social Research on this crucial project.
Sacramento Steps Forward will be recruiting hundreds of volunteers who will be trained and grouped in teams to canvass the community in organized deployments during the two evening counts, rain or shine. Volunteering does not require any prior experience but you must: be 18 years of age or older; have a strong interest in helping people who are experiencing homelessness; and attend required training's to learn to safely conduct accurate counts with teams within carefully pre-mapped territories..
If you would like to form a group of coworkers, family or friends, we will accommodate your requests. More information will be provided to registered volunteers as we prepare for the event. Volunteer at Volunteer@SacStepsForward.org
The most recent biennial PIT Count was conducted in January 2017 and found that the total number of people experiencing homelessness in Sacramento had increased by 30 percent since 2015. Of those, people who are living outdoors on the street, in tents, cars, or RVs - increased by 85 percent. Sacramento followed a West Coast-wide trend reporting increasing numbers of people experiencing homelessness.
Sacramento Steps Forward is a nonprofit organization committed to ending homelessness in our region through collaboration, innovation, and connecting people to services. Walking side-by-side with our partners, we seek to provide people experiencing homelessness with the support and services they need to find stability and long-term housing. Since 2012, Sacramento Steps Forward has been the lead agency for Sacramento’s Homeless Continuum of Care.
Source Sac Steps Forward
SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento Children’s Home has kicked off its annual Holiday Giving Program, bringing the local community together during the holidays to serve children and families in need. Last year, our program provided gifts for 1,200 children, and the community adopted nearly 70 families, providing them with gifts, gift cards and everyday essentials. Once again this year we have 1,200 children participating; many of whom the gifts they receive through our program will be the only gifts they receive this year.
The holidays are a joyful time when we can give thanks for all that we have and give back to those in need. There are several ways for community members to get involved with the SCH Holiday Giving Program, which ends December 14.
Wish Stars and Ornaments: The classic yellow wish star includes three wishes from an SCH child. Community members are encouraged to shop for their child and return unwrapped gifts to the Sacramento Children’s Home at 2750 Sutterville Road in Sacramento. Financial contributions of $25, $50, $100 or more, as well as gift card donations help us ensure that all kids and families have their holiday wishes fulfilled and basic needs met. Some male youth in our Residential Program do not have family to spend the holidays with, so financial support specific to our snow trip enables us to send our residents on a snow trip to Mt. Shasta over the holidays.
Adopt-a-Family: Community members can also adopt an entire family this holiday season. The adoptees are families that participate in Sacramento Children’s Home programs such as the Family Resource Centers and the Counseling Center.
Volunteer Opportunities: Every year, we rely on community volunteers to help run our holiday donation site. Last year, about 200 volunteers provided nearly 100 hours of support, which included greeting donors, accepting gifts, registering gifts into our system, sorting, and wrapping.
Giving Tree Sites and Holiday Sponsors: Local businesses and schools participate by hosting Giving Tree sites with stars available to the public for pick up. Businesses and corporations also have the opportunity to sponsor an SCH Holiday Party for individual programs such as our Family Resource Centers and Crisis Nurseries to help strengthen families in our highest risk communities.
For more information about all of these options and important dates, please visit www.kidshome.org/holiday-giving.
The Sacramento Children’s Home was founded in 1867 and today it is the most comprehensive child and family service organization in Sacramento County serving more than 7,000 children and 4,300 families each year through a broad spectrum of residential, community-based, mental health and educational programs. Throughout its 151-year history, the Sacramento Children’s Home has been at the forefront of trauma-informed care and developing new ways to improve the outcomes of children and families. Through its multiple programs at six sites in the county, the Sacramento Children’s Home offers prevention, early intervention and treatment programs that are critical to strengthening families and stopping the generational cycle of child abuse and neglect. More information is available at www.kidshome.org
Source: Sacramento Children’s Home
Electric utility aims to reduce greenhouse gases through “electrification”
Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - SMUD and top national homebuilder D.R. Horton are teaming up to build 104 all-electric homes in two new neighborhoods. These “all-electric communities” – “Juniper,” which is planned to include 66 homes, and “Independence," which is anticipated to include 38 homes, are both located in North Natomas and will be priced for first-time homebuyers. The homes are included in the SMUD Smart Home program and are part of a broader electrification effort by SMUD, the first of its kind in the USA.
Groundbreaking for the subdivisions began earlier this summer. The model homes are completed, and the communities are open for sale. Construction will continue through 2019. If built as planned, SMUD will provide $466,000 in incentives to D.R. Horton for including appliances and equipment to make the homes all-electric. These include heat pump heating and cooling, heat pump water heating, and induction stoves—appliances that are typically more energy efficient and can deliver lower overall energy bills.
Heat pump water heaters can reduce electricity use by up to 60 percent compared to electric resistance water heaters. Instead of using electricity to create heat, heat pump water heaters use a refrigerant cycle to transfer heat from surrounding ambient air into the hot water tank. They also cool the area where they are located, usually in the garage. Induction stoves may cook 50 percent faster than electric resistance stoves, and often as fast as gas. They also use less energy than traditional electric stoves and offer digital control of the temperature, and they have no open flame. The absence of combustion in all-electric homes may result in greater occupant safety.
These homes will help community-owned SMUD meet its aggressive commitment to reach 90 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and surpass the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals of 80 percent by 2050.
These D.R. Horton homes are part of the SMUD Smart Home program, which offers incentives to builders and developers of up to $5,000 for new single-family homes, and up to $1,750 for new multifamily units, built to be all-electric. The homes must have all-electric appliances and mechanical systems—no gas line in the home, and no gas service at the property—in order to meet the minimum program participation requirements.
SMUD customers who own existing homes in the SMUD service territory can also qualify for up to $13,750 for existing homes that convert from gas to electricity. For example, owners of existing homes may receive up to a $4,500 incentive to replace an existing gas furnace by installing an electric heat pump space heater. A homeowner may receive up to a $3,000 rebate to switch out an existing gas water heater for an electric heat pump water heater.
There are also rebates available from SMUD for traditional efficiency measures such as duct sealing, insulation, and windows.
More information about SMUD’s all-electric conversion incentives and other energy-saving information is available at SMUD.org.
Source: SMUD Media
Sacramento, CA (MPG) - Assemblyman Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) recently honored the Homeless Assistance Resource Teams (HART) of Citrus Heights and Rancho Cordova as the 8th Assembly District’s 2017 Nonprofit of the Year.
Each year, the California Legislature hosts the California Nonprofits Day Celebration to recognize nonprofit organizations that make significant contributions to their communities.
“I am delighted to select the HART organizations of Citrus Heights and Rancho Cordova as my nominee for this year’s Nonprofit of the Year,” said Cooley. “The collaboration that HART displays by working with government, businesses, and the faith-based community, personifies an admirable paragon of charity and service.”
HART is a volunteer-run group of businesses, congregations, and individuals that serves as a resource for those facing extreme poverty and chronic instability by connecting people in need with local services. The HART philosophy is rooted in the idea that resources must be accessible in order to be utilized, and the homeless populations of Sacramento County face many barriers between services. Open communication between local government, business owners, faith-based organizations, and passionate individuals fosters an atmosphere of collaboration and helps to bypass some of these major barriers to assist those in need of key services.
Assemblyman Ken Cooley represents the 8th Assembly District. The awards were presented on Wednesday, June 28.
New Report Confirms Increase in Number of People Experiencing Homelessness
Sacramento, CA (MPG) - Despite housing 2,232 individuals and families who were experiencing homelessness in 2016, a new report commissioned by Sacramento Steps Forward and authored by Sacramento State’s Institute for Social Research confirms that homelessness has increased across Sacramento county in the past two years.
According to the report, titled “Homelessness in Sacramento County: Results from the 2017 Point-in-Time Count,” the total number of people experiencing homelessness has increased by 30 percent to 3,665 since 2015. Among people who are unsheltered, a subset of the total population who are living outdoors on the street, in tents, cars, or RVs, the number has increased by 85 percent to 2,052. Approximately 31% of people who are unsheltered are chronically homeless, meaning they have experienced prolonged bouts of homelessness and are disabled.
“This report provides a sobering confirmation of what we see in our neighborhoods every day,” said Ryan Loofbourrow, CEO of Sacramento Steps Forward. “It’s frustrating that we could not stop the rising tide of homelessness, but we hope this information will provide regional leaders with the empirical data they need to collaborate on innovative solutions.”
In addition to overall increases in homelessness, the report found a 50 percent increase in the number of homeless veterans since 2015, up to 469 people. The majority of these veterans are unsheltered. Veterans continue to make up approximately 13 percent of the total homeless population.
Individuals who reported continuous homelessness tended to be substantially older and were often encountered in encampments near the American River Parkway, in contrast to younger people who were downtown. Older chronically homeless individuals – between 55 and 64 – were also more likely to report being a veteran or suffer from a disabling medical condition.
"This news affirms what is already evident to the people of Sacramento, the question is what are we going to do about it," said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. "We are going to implement the city's $64 million Whole Person Care grant together with our public housing resources to get 2,000 people off the streets as soon as possible. No excuses, no boundaries, action and results are all that matter."
There were drops in the numbers of families and transitional age youth who were found to be homeless, which is a testament to the work of homeless service providers, but these groups are traditionally hard to survey for this type of report so the findings may not accurately capture a true census of these communities.
The report cites the housing drought as a potential factor in the rise of homelessness and explains that the trend in Sacramento is consistent with other communities who have tight housing market conditions. The report also explains the potential impact of flooding on the American and Sacramento rivers and improved statistical methodologies.
The rise in homelessness between 2015 and 2017 in Sacramento County is consistent with similar increases recently reported across the state. At the time the report was written, Alameda County reported a 39 percent increase in homelessness, a 76 percent increase in Butte County, and a 23 percent increase in Los Angeles County.
"This report confirms what we all see with our own eyes: a shocking and unacceptable rise in the number of persons experiencing homelessness. We need to redouble our efforts to increase our stock of affordable housing so that everyone in Sacramento has a simple home of their own," said Joan Burke, who is Chair of Sacramento’s Homeless Continuum of Care Advisory Board and Director of Advocacy Loaves & Fishes
Sacramento Steps Forward commissioned this report as a part of its biennial point-in-time count, which is a county-wide census of people experiencing homelessness. It provides a snapshot of who is homeless on a single night. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Develop requires local communities to conduct this census every two years as a condition of receiving federal funding for their Homeless Continuum of Care, for which Sacramento Steps Forward is the lead agency.
The point-in-time count was conducted on January 25, 2017 by nearly 400 trained volunteers who fanned out across the county to count and survey people living on the street, in tents, cars, and RV’s, while a data team documented the number of people sleeping in emergency and transitional shelters.
The point-in-time count and this report were made possible thanks to funding from the County of Sacramento, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency.
Sacramento Steps Forward is a 501(c)(3) non-profit homeless service agency who, through collaboration, innovation, and service, is working to end homelessness in our region.
Founded in 1989, Sacramento State’s Institute for Social Research (ISR) is an interdisciplinary unit that harnesses the power of scientific research tools to address social problems. Their research and analysis expertise, learned through the hundreds of projects completed for government agencies, nonprofit organizations and the academic community, provides the region with actionable information that can inform key policies and decisions.