Many of us have walked through major remodels. Maybe to modernize the look of your home. Or maybe you were forced to remodel due to a disaster of fire, termites, or a flood.
Right now, the Elk Grove HART and the City of Elk Grove, in regard to homeless support, are going through a major remodel due to the sudden closing of Sacramento Self Help Housing. Our navigator was no longer employed, we were unable to put any families or individuals into our transitional houses, we had no caseworkers, and even the ownership of the houses was in flux. It became abundantly clear that we had no option but to remodel.
The beauty of a remodel, for whatever the reason, is that you get to transform a mess of what wasn't working. And for us, I mean a "mess" literally. Suddenly we had no lawn care, no way to pay the utility bills or most importantly, no options to give our unhoused neighbors who were truly impacted by it.
As Elk Grove HART's Diane Lampe likes to say, "It was time to stop, drop and roll." That's just what we did. With the amazing leadership of Sarah Bontrager, our Housing Program Manager for the City of Elk Grove, the HART board and city staff, we started the remodel.
I am glad to report that after a lot of hard work and thinking outside of the box, it is going beautifully. We can see the finished product in sight. As with most remodels it will be so much better than before. During this time frame, the City has helped 12 families move into our subsidized apartments and continues to use Federal COVID-19 money for motel stays. The City is hiring, not one, but two navigators! A new, experienced company called City Net will be taking over the management of the transitional houses. The Core Wellness Center has found a permanent home in Elk Grove.
Ballot Measure E passed a 1% sales tax, part of which is slated to go towards supporting the unhoused. For the first time, the City has put out a bid (RFP) for a possible single site winter shelter for this coming winter using some of the Measure E money.
It is common to become weary and frustrated during a remodel, and we have been both of those. But it is important to keep your eye on the finished product, to see it through so you can reap the benefits. That’s exactly what we are doing. This is a season of transition and we have held the course. I fervently believe that Elk Grove will be a better and stronger city in supporting our unhoused because of this. Stay tuned...