Honestly, we didn’t have high hopes for him. His tumultuous childhood painted a bleak picture for his future.His father had asked him to leave home at 16, feeling like he was enough of an adult to make it on his own. His mother was lost in the bottle somewhere in Texas. Starting his life in an orphanage in Russia, this was a familiar pattern of neglect and abandonment that he's experienced since birth.HART met him through a school counselor when she discovered that he was living in a tent in a friend’s backyard. Now 18, he was eligible for HART to help him.Before moving to Elk Grove, it was readily apparent he had lived in the South. “Yes ma’am, no ma’am”, always polite and respectful, so grateful for the help and shelter he got while at the Grace House.With the diligent support of his mentor, he graduated from high school. We cheered him on and breathed a sigh of relief on graduation day. Now to find a job.Again, his mentor worked tirelessly to help Hugo apply for multiple jobs. Follow-through was not his strong point. Landing a job on the assembly line at Apple was huge victory. But honestly, we all held our breath, expecting it wouldn’t last long.Hugo proved us wrong. Not only has he been working for Apple more than a year, he's also been promoted and transferred to another facility out of state which is closer to his grandmother who still cares about him.Mentoring is not an easy job, but Elk Grove HART’s dedicated volunteers have proven repeatedly the great value of walking with those who are struggling, encouraging them along the way. Hugo’s future looks bright because of his mentor that never gave up on him. A huge thank you to our amazing mentors!Please give generously on May 6th, the Big Day of Giving, to help give others like Hugo a chance at success. https://www.bigdayofgiving.org/elkgrovehart
Domestic violence is a crime littered with victims. In this case, a mother with four children.It started out slowly. Over time, the aggression increased and so did the excuses at the emergency room. A bike accident, a fall, running into a cabinet ... until a doctor recognized there were too many injuries to be explained with these excuses.She had tried to escape, even crawling through a fence to meet her social worker. Despite several calls to shelters, they could find no available beds. As she was crawling back through the fence, he caught her. More violence. For several weeks, he kept mom and the children his prisoners, never allowing them to leave the house. The one person who was supposed to love them preyed upon them, often bloodying them in his fits of rage.The abuse went on for years; she has the scars to prove it. Child Protective Services finally intervened, and suddenly the children were gone. With the one thing mom had to live for now taken away, she became broken, a shell of who she once was. Still the abuse continued. Like many victims of domestic violence, she had come to believe the venom he spewed at her.Desperately missing her children, divorce was the only way to get her children back. That last beating was so bad that it sent him to prison. She recovered and worked hard to get her children back, but soon found themselves without a home.She now has her own cleaning business and is going to college, determined that the cycle of abuse ends with her. Mom and kiddos will soon be moving into a brand-new apartment, fully furnished by one of HART’s partnering churches. Mom is overwhelmed with gratitude and is starting to recognize just how valuable she really is.Please give generously to HART on the Big Day of Giving to help us restore hope... for those who have lost all hope. You can donate here: https://www.bigdayofgiving.org/elkgrovehart
Her future looked bright at 19. Nursing school and a future of helping others. Her dream.
But those dreams never came to fruition. Just before leaving for college she found out her dad had a daughter in Colorado. Alyssa was excited to meet her new sister and her sister's six month old baby boy. Alyssa loved babies and could hardly wait to meet her new nephew.
That trip to Colorado forever changed the direction of her life. That darling baby boy was sadly neglected and unwanted by his mother. Out of desperation, Alyssa offered to take the baby, and her sister gladly accepted.
Disability insurance helped to pay for a room in a house with another family but the screaming and abuse of that family drove her into her car. She was desperate to protect her boys.
That's when HART found this precious family. Helping them to get into a temporary shelter, Alyssa and her boys were put on a list to get into brand new subsidized apartments.
Alyssa is often at loss for words for this miracle that has happened in their lives. Within the month she and her boys will be moving into a fully furnished apartment. They have been adopted by a partnering church. Creekside Church will help them move into their home fully furnished with gently used items.
The word "hero" is often tossed around with little thought. But to us, Alyssa is a hero, and certainly to those little boys that are now 8 and 9 years old.
Alyssa was put on hospice three years ago and then taken off a year ago. Her diagnosis is still not good, but her love for those boys is her driving force - truly a beautiful love.
May 8th is HART's Big Day Of Giving. Please consider giving to our all volunteer organization. 100% of your donation goes into our program!
Tickets for our Annual Pancake Breakast (Drive-Through this year) are available at
How to help those experiencing homelessness during this challenging time is a question that has weighed heavily on our hearts. We have landed on an alternative that we are excited about.
This new program is called Elk Grove HART’s WINSIP (Winter Shelter in Place). It will start on October 5, 2020 and run through March of 2021. Our plan is to deliver meals and necessities to the homeless at their locations on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. In addition to food we will be distributing many other items to help them get through the winter. Christy Cares will continue to offer meals at United Methodist Church on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
We are happy to partner with the City of Elk Grove and accept financial support through the Cares Act. The Elk Grove Presbyterian Church has generously offered their church building where we will assemble the meals. We have been able to recruit a small band of experienced volunteers to help us prepare and distribute these meals and necessities.
We considered several factors that led us to this new program. In addition to addressing the safety needs of our volunteers, we also considered the scope of our efforts. Elk Grove HART’s WINSIP will serve approximately 65 of our homeless as opposed to the maximum of 20 served at our winter shelter. This model will also give us the opportunity to do wellness checks to further meet the needs of the homeless. We will be able to keep them fed and hydrated while keeping them in place and safe from COVID-19.
Our navigator will follow up on any concerns and provide opportunities to help them find housing. Many of our homeless have income from either their retirement or disability and are eligible for housing, but remain unconnected to other supportive resources. The navigator can also evaluate potential clients for our Grace and Meadow houses.
At this time, we feel the Elk Grove HART’s Winter Shelter in Place program is the best possible way we can prevent and respond to COVID-19. As the program unfolds, we look forward to keeping you updated on all the services being provided to those experiencing homelessness in Elk Grove.
We are pulled in so many directions, often not knowing where to turn next. No one could have predicted this quarantine, a lockdown. Lockdowns are usually associated with a punishment while in prison, but this one is meant to save our lives. Most of us are hunkered down in our houses, but what do you do when you have no home?
In the best of times the homeless struggle with life. It’s scary out there, exposed to the elements. They seldom get a good night's sleep, which leads to exhaustion and an inability to cope with everyday tasks that we take for granted. Enter the COVID-19 pandemic. The streets are cleared and the few people that are out are wearing masks. There is a tangible tension in the air. The homeless are only able to catch pieces of what is going on and without TVs or newspapers they are dependent on rumors. Many are fearful, but just as many think it’s a hoax and ignore all of the craziness that is going on around them. Either way it is affecting them. Most of the community lunches are shut down, the biweekly showers have ended, the laundromats are locked and the recycling centers are closed, drying up their income.
Recognizing this desperate situation, HART has distributed informational street sheets to help inform the homeless of how they can better protect themselves and those in our community. We have joined with the City and police department to strategize how to best protect this vulnerable population. How do you comply with a shelter in place order when you have no home? HART’s mission is to take care of their basic needs, with food being of the highest priority. With the help of a team of volunteers, a meal delivery program has been quickly implemented. In spite of many challenges, it has been working beautifully to deliver daily meals to Elk Grove’s homeless. We are happy to report that so far, our homeless are healthy and very appreciative of the care being shown to them by our community.
HART is grateful to have this opportunity to show compassion when it is needed the most. We don't expect to ‘cure’ all homelessness, but what we do recognize is that people need to be given the opportunity to change. Showing them care and compassion is a great way to help gain their trust and demonstrate that we only want the best for them.
Please join us in being part of the solution by donating on the Big Day of Giving, May 7th. You can go to https://www.bigdayofgiving.org/elkgrovehart to give now.
It is rare to be able to give to an all-volunteer organization where 100% of your donation goes back into Elk Grove. Thank you for your generosity!
We are a 501c(3) non-profit organization;
100% of donations go directly toward providing services.
Tax ID# 46-4162394