by Fred Bremerman & Ken Bennett
Who knew that 2010 would mark the beginning of a new vision to help homeless individuals in Elk Grove? That year a handful of volunteers, led by Frank Lucia and Debbie Schoeneshoefer, came together to create what eventually grew in the Elk Grove Homeless Assistance Resource Team (HART).
HART has symbiotic relationships with many agencies, ensuring each group can focus on their area of expertise. One such agency is Sacramento Self Help Housing.
As their name implies, Sacramento Self Help Housing (SSHH) specializes in housing. In Elk Grove, this includes:
1) Housing Counseling – Every Tuesday from 9:00 to 11:30 AM, SSHH staff explore housing options with the homeless at Elk Grove United Methodist Church. SSHH staff attend the 12-week Elk Grove Winter Sanctuary program to offer more counseling.
2) Housing Oversight – Each year 30 to 35 homeless individuals are clients in Elk Grove’s two transitional homes, Grace House and Meadow House. These homes are possible because SSHH provides an on-site house leader, as well as a Case Manager who meets regularly with the clients.
3) In-Field “Navigator” – In April 2017, SSHH hired Lee Kubiak as a Homeless Navigator to look high and low in Elk Grove for homeless individuals. Lee is experienced in helping connect individuals to resources such as ID cards and applying for benefits.
This summer SSHH will open a permanent shared housing location for very low income individuals in Elk Grove, for Elk Grove residents. The six-bedroom home will provide a room at an affordable cost for fixed-income individuals. This home would not have happened without the partnership and advocacy between SSHH and HART.
SSHH found the HART model to be so successful that it duplicated it in other local communities including Rancho Cordova, Citrus Heights, and most recently Carmichael. These communities now have Winter Sanctuary programs patterned after the Elk Grove HART model.
Want to learn more about programs and volunteer opportunities? Attend an upcoming HART Solutions meeting (next meeting is June 8, 2017). Visit www.SacSelfHelp.org to learn more about SSHH programs to help the homeless and people needed housing.