Helping the Homeless

Finally, according to this story in the Sacramento Bee, it appears that helping the homeless get out of being homeless rather than helping them stay homeless (the mission of many programs most of the illegal Parkway campers come from in the North 12th Street/Richards Blvd. area), is taking hold in Sacramento’s Winter Sanctuary program.

Knowing how incredibly brutal and desperate homeless life is, I am continually amazed that so many programs simply provide services helping the homeless remain homeless rather than helping them get out of it.

An excerpt from the Bee story.

Monday marked the start of what’s become a late-autumn ritual in Sacramento County: Homeless men and women boarded buses bound for churches and other houses of worship in the region, grateful for the chance to get a hot meal and a safe place to spend the night as temperatures dip toward freezing.

But the Winter Sanctuary program this year will be providing homeless guests with more than simply shelter and food, organizers said. The program will step up efforts to connect people with job training, mental health counseling and other services that could help them build stable lives.

“This is more than just, ‘Let’s get people off the streets tonight,’” said the Rev. Rick Cole, whose Capital Christian Center is the first congregation this winter to host the homeless. “We want to take advantage of the moment. We will have agencies on site to help people with all kinds of supportive services.”…

Participants are bused from the Loaves & Fishes downtown homeless services complex to whatever house of worship is volunteering to take them that week. They are provided dinner, spend the night in church dining halls, community centers or gyms, and get breakfast the next morning before being bused back to Loaves.

About two dozen congregations are rotating the responsibility of housing homeless people this year. Sacramento Steps Forward is looking for at least six more willing to do so, Wallace said.

The program’s budget of about $300,000 will cover the cost of the bus trips, as well as sleeping bags, laundry services, administrators who coordinate transportation, and an “outreach team” to evaluate clients and help connect them to services, Wallace said.

Wallace said the program has faced criticism in the past for failing to provide more than a roof for chronically homeless people who are in need of larger solutions. This year, various agencies will be working with the program, including WIND Youth Services, which works with homeless teens; the Downtown Partnership’s Navigator program, which connects homeless people with social services; and the Sacramento Police Department’s “impact team,” which offers crisis intervention.

Retrieved November 24, 2014 from

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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