The weather was perfect. Not too hot, with a light breeze rustling the autumn leaves.
Guests were immediately offered a tour of the new home, and then invited to feast on hearty hamburgers, hotdogs, savory potato salad, and freshly baked cookies. The conversation was friendly and warm as the “Welcome to the Neighborhood” BBQ kicked off. But this was a different kind of welcome celebration.
Instead of the neighborhood throwing a welcome party for those that would be living in this new house, the house instead hosted a BBQ for those in the neighborhood and beyond. Through the efforts of Elk Grove HART, the City of Elk Grove, and Sacramento Self-Help Housing, an affordable housing option has now been made available in the form of what is known as permanent, shared residence. Tenants that might not financially qualify for traditional housing options may move into what is known as the Sun Sprite home, and rent for as long as they wish. A house monitor, appointed by Sacramento Self-Help Housing, will also reside in the home.
This BBQ was held at the home to welcome the neighborhood to tour this affordable housing option, get questions answered, and dispel any preconceived notions of “group home” fears. In attendance were 26 guests, which included four neighborhood families in the area, many HART and Winter Sanctuary volunteers, City of Elk Grove staff, and representatives from both Mayor Steve Ly’s office and the Elk Grove Citizen.
The response to this affordable housing option was overwhelmingly positive. Compliments on the house’s interior design and decoration were heard throughout the evening, and Sun Sprite’s house monitor provided friendly and hospitable hosting. In addition to mastering the grill, the staff of Sacramento Self-Help Housing were very welcoming to those attending, and friendly social chatter was lively among those attending. By inviting the public to this event, it provided the opportunity for a glimpse into just one of the many creative solutions for our area’s housing shortage and the financial challenges of those who have experienced homelessness.