Carmichael Confronts Homelessness

From Carmichael HART  |  2019-02-06

Providing Shelter, Counseling, Housing
 

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - For the second year, hundreds of volunteers from churches, nonprofit organizations, and local businesses are doing something about Carmichael’s homeless people.


Carmichael HART’s (Homeless Assistance Resource Team) Winter Sanctuary provides safe overnight shelter to dozens of people coming in from the cold for nine weeks -- Dec. 30 through March 2.

Guests of HART’s 2nd Winter Sanctuary can get a hot dinner, clean clothes and sometimes showers. They’re given a cot and sleeping bag for the night and are transported back with a breakfast bag to an intake center by 6 a.m. the next morning. Many homeless people are repeat visitors.

“It’s more than a hot meal and a cot,” Carmichael HART President Scott Young said at the charity’s January meeting. “We offer housing leads, help with acquiring IDs, and assist with transportation to help people get to that point where housing is possible for them. Our long-term goal is to get as many people as we can off the streets and into housing. To do that, establishing trust with Winter Sanctuary guests is crucial.”

Barbara Farley, a sanctuary organizer, said hundreds of volunteers are getting to know homeless people on a first-name basis at the local churches that are hosting. 14 people transitioned to housing during and immediately following last year’s Winter Sanctuary. This season, one person already has moved into permanent housing.

Sacramento County’s Department of Public Health trained more than a dozen sanctuary leaders in hygiene measures, which have been implemented. Doctors and nurses from Dignity Health’s Mercy-San Juan Hospital volunteer on Thursday nights to treat wounds, provide non-prescription drugs, and make health referrals.

Financial and other support is coming churches, individuals, and community organizations such as the Carmichael Improvement District (CID), a nonprofit corporation of businesses along the Fair Oaks corridor. The district spends about half of its $310,000 in annual assessments on security measures. It also pays for beautification projects, arranges litter cleanup, graffiti removal, and waste abatement. Gary Hursh, a Carmichael attorney, the district’s past president and current chairman of its Security Committee, says HART and its Winter Sanctuary are good investments.

He said the program last winter took dozens of homeless people off the streets and away from store doorways and other sleeping spots on business property.
“Shuffling people around is not a solution,” he said in an interview. “The next step, in my opinion, is for CID to partner with nonprofits that find and provide housing for the homeless. HART is providing a solution.”

Deputy Kevin Hee of the Sheriff’s Department Homeless Outreach Team (HOT), told HART meeting attendees: “We all agree that we can’t jail and arrest everybody out there. We’re looking at getting services to the homeless. There’s an exponential explosion of homelessness in California. Every community is affected.”

Besides churches, sheriff’s deputies and business leaders, other HART partners are Sacramento Self Help Housing, ATLAS of Carmichael with its thrift store, the local Chamber of Commerce, the San Juan Unified School District, and Sacramento County.

County Supervisor Susan Peters offered this assessment: “Carmichael HART has a proven track record of success, and its Winter Sanctuary program reflects the dedication of the community’s faith-based organizations to help those in need who find themselves homeless.”

Paul Keefer, a trustee of the Sacramento County Board of Education who is working on a               HART plan to help homeless students, stated “As a volunteer for the Carmichael HART Winter Sanctuary I was impressed by the training and guidance that our team received from Sacramento County.”

“Wonderful people are coming with a willingness to help, saying, ‘We want to be part of this,” Farley said at the HART meeting. She reported that 78 different guests participated in last year’s Winter Sanctuary, whereas more than 30 different homeless people have come in the first three weeks of the program this year. Young said volunteers are winning the trust of their guests and are seeing dramatic changes in attitudes and a willingness to accept assistance.  

“We should all have the same goal,” he said. “Whatever our reasons for getting people off the streets, our goal should be the same -- getting people housed. Ultimately, we all want our communities to thrive. As long as we have people camped on our sidewalks, next to our businesses and on our back lots – it remains a distant goal. The only way we’ll see effective change is to get people housed. It’s all about getting people housed.” 

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Volunteers of America Northern California and Northern Nevada (VOA) has launched a 40-bed transitional housing and employment services program for veterans experiencing homelessness in Sacramento County.

The program provides furnished temporary housing in individual studio apartments, meals, life skills and financial management classes, pre-employment and vocational training, employment placement assistance, substance abuse support, housing location and transportation services to single male and female veterans. This program is funded through a grant awarded to VOA from the Veterans Administration and is the only “Service Intensive Transitional Housing” program for Veterans in Sacramento County.

“We are very excited to add this invaluable program to Volunteers of America’s existing services for veterans in Sacramento County at Mather Community Campus,” says VOA Division Director, Sherman Haggerty. “This program will allow a unique group of veterans the extra time and help needed to meet their goal of achieving independent living.”

This program offers the first new transitional housing beds for homeless veterans in Sacramento County, in over three years. The housing units are conveniently located at VOA’s Mather Community Campus adjacent to VOA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families, Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program and the Veteran Service Center all located on the same campus. These housing units are also conveniently located near Sacramento’s Veterans Hospital Administration Hospital. Additional housing units are currently under construction at the Mather campus which will increase local housing inventory.

Volunteers of America Northern California and Northern Nevada provides specialized programs for homeless and at-risk veterans and their families in the Greater Sacramento area. Services include rapid re-housing, case-management and homeless prevention. A large focus is heavily placed on increasing veteran men's and women's employment possibilities through life and job skills classes. 

Founded locally in 1911, the Northern California & Northern Nevada office of Volunteers of America is one of the largest providers of social services in the region. The professional paid staff operates more than 50 programs in categories that include: crisis housing, supportive housing, employment and training services, and corrections. In fact, Volunteers of America provides shelter or housing to nearly 1,800 men, women and children every night in Northern California. Nationally, Volunteers of America helps more than 2.5 million people annually in more than 400 communities. Learn more about Volunteers of America Northern California & Northern Nevada at  www.voa-ncnn.org.

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A True Inspiration

By Paul Scholl  |  2019-02-08

Taro Arai (in snowcap) gave an inspiring message at the Chamber luncheon. We stands with his father Koki at his right, the original owner of Mikuni restaurants. Also pictured are Virginia Stone, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce, Jim Warrick from Carmichael Elks, and local philanthropist Barbara Safford. Photo by Ron Cassity.

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) – The more you listen, the more you hear. And when a truly inspirational story finds you, you just have to listen.

An overflow crowd attended the recent Carmichael Chamber of Commerce luncheon on January 22, there to hear the amazing story of Mikuni family restaurants. Taro Arai, the Chief Dreaming Officer for the company, told the story of how the family grew from very humble beginnings.

His father, Koki Arai, once had a dream that he was to open a restaurant in the United States. He said “Dad, you know nothing about cooking, nothing about business, and you want to start a restaurant?” But, because of his faith and the message he was given, Koki persevered.  Coming to America with almost nothing, they opened their first restaurant in Fair Oaks on Hazel Blvd.

At one time the family received a loan from a friend and businessman in Japan. In a short time they had lost everything, but were resolved to not give up. “My father continued because he had faith in God” Taro said. “He always said we will be blessed.”

And blessed they were. Over time, they have added many new restaurants in the region and all of them successful. They have also given back a great deal to the community. Their belief is they have been so blessed and they will always be dedicated to blessing others.

If you ever get a chance to hear Taro speak of their family story be sure to attend. It is truly inspiring.

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SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - In 2017, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors approved funding and implementation of four major initiatives to address critical needs of those experiencing homelessness and to help reduce the homeless population. Subsequently, two associated augmentations were added to further address the needs of all vulnerable population groups. The first programs began in October of 2017, several began in 2018 and many are in the process of becoming operational. In just one year’s time, the County has achieved phenomenal results from these new initiatives. 

  • Improve the Family Crisis Response and Shelters (October 2017)
    • 146 families served in shelter
    • 50 moved to permanent housing
  • Preserve Mather Community Campus (October 2017)
    • 351 individuals served in transitional housing
    • 116 moved to permanent housing
  • Full Service Rehousing Shelter (March 2018)
    • 91 individuals in scattered-site shelters
    • 19 moved to permanent housing
  • Flexible Supportive Re-housing Program (February 2018)
    • 191 individuals enrolled
    • 94 moved into permanent housing
  • Transitional Aged Youth (May 2018)
    • 115 served with prevention, diversion and intervention services
    • 35 moved to permanent housing
    • 32 maintained housing through services
    • 17 entered emergency shelter
  • Unincorporated County Navigation Services (April 2018)
    • 177 served through outreach and rehousing services
    • 30 moved to permanent housing

 

In total, 416 individuals have moved into permanent housing since the start of the first initiative in October 2017. 

“We are thrilled to share the success that our programs have had in this first year. In some programs, success has been demonstrated in mere months,” said Ann Edwards, Director of the Department of Human Assistance. “We are reaching people we have never been able to engage and they are seeing a real difference in their lives.”

On Oct. 16, 2018, the County Board of Supervisors endorsed the investment strategy for nearly $20 million in new State funding to combat homelessness in partnership with Sacramento Steps Forward and the City of Sacramento. On Dec. 11, the Board of Supervisors approved the acceptance of more than $11 million that the Department of Human Assistance will directly administer, building of the existing initiatives to reduce homelessness.

State funding comes through the State’s new Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) and the California Emergency Solutions and Housing Program. The funds will provide additional emergency shelter for both families and individuals through Emergency Family Shelter and the Full Service Rehousing Shelters (FSRS). The FSRS is a scattered-site model using master leasing of vacant homes in the region to house up to five persons in addition to a fulltime house monitor. Residents are provided with intensive case management services and rehousing assistance to help them exit the program into stable, permanent housing with the support they need.

The funding also will create a Flexible Housing Pool (building on the Flexible Supportive Rehousing Program) that will offer both services and re-housing assistance to help households in shelter or working with navigation programs to move into housing more quickly.

For the first time, clients experiencing homelessness who are engaged in Adult Protective Services or jail diversion will be offered this practical assistance to resolve their homelessness. The County will also administer a new expungement clinic to help remove barriers to housing and employment. 

To be eligible to administer and receive the HEAP funds, the Board of Supervisors declared a shelter crisis on Oct. 16. Other cites declaring a crisis and participating in the program include the City of Sacramento, Elk Grove and Citrus Heights.

On Dec. 12, The Board of Supervisors heard and adopted the proposed Sacramento County Homeless Plan that is required to facilitate participation in the State’s No Place Like Home (NPLH) program. This program provides funding for new permanent supportive housing for people who are experiencing homelessness, chronic homelessness, or who are at risk of becoming chronically homeless, and who are also living with a serious mental illness and in need of mental health services. In NPLH developments, the County will provide a 20-year commitment to comprehensive services, including behavioral health services.

In addition to meeting State requirements for NPLH, the County’s Plan serves as a building block for all partners within Sacramento County to implement shared strategies that make a measureable impact on homelessness. The Plan was endorsed by the City of Sacramento and County Continuum of Care on Dec. 12.

“The County Homeless Plan reflects countless hours of collaboration with County departments, community groups, stakeholders and other jurisdictions within our region,” said Cindy Cavanaugh, Director of Homeless Initiatives. “The Plan lays out comprehensive strategies and concrete actions for Sacramento over the next several years. While pleased with early results of our homeless initiatives, this Plan says that, as a community, we are not letting up.”

Sacramento County will be eligible for $5,087,737 through the noncompetitive NPLH funding for housing developments, and is eligible to apply for a share of $400 million in competitive funds. The Board of Supervisors will approve development applications for the first round of NPLH competitive funding on Jan. 29. 

With the initial success of the Sacramento County homeless i​nitiatives and additional funding sources for expansion, collaborative community partnerships, and dedicated service providers, Sacramento County recognizes that change is possible for our community and the lives of its valued residents.

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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

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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

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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

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