Empowering Youth to Be Champions for Change

By Ken Casparis, Sacramento County  |  2019-06-14

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - This past April, Kamryn Hall, a senior at C.K. McClatchy High School, organized and hosted a town hall event centered on homelessness as her senior project for the Humanities and International Studies Program (HISP). Representatives from the Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance, the City of Sacramento Mayor’s office, the Steinberg Institute and Wind Youth Services made up the panel.

The goal for this town hall was to educate and help youth who care about homelessness – and those experiencing homelessness – to learn more, and to help inspire others to take action and find ways to get involved in helping the cause.

Hall’s interest in homelessness is based on her observations of those living unsheltered in Sacramento. Knowing that homelessness is a big issue that has been declared a crisis, she felt that it was important to raise her classmates’ level of awareness and to get them interested in being a part of the solution.

This event was open to C.K. McClatchy students and staff, and the panel was made up of various community organizations who are working to assist homeless communities. Hall intentionally invited direct service providers and those responsible for developing homeless programs and policy.

“I set this up just for students so that it wasn’t political; it was just about education and asking questions,” said Hall. “I wanted people to be educated on the situation, and it made for a more relaxed atmosphere.”

Eduardo Ameneyro (pictured far right), Homeless Services Division Manager for the Department of Human Assistance, provided a unique perspective on behalf of his department’s core business as the administrator of welfare entitlement programs, as well as the division leading the Initiatives to Reduce Homelessness. “Homelessness is incredibly complex and cannot be completely resolved with housing. My team's work in each of the initiatives is highlighting the role generational poverty (and poverty in general) plays in homelessness.”

Meghan Marshall, Flexible Supportive Rehousing Manager for the Department of Human Assistance, was invited to attend this event. “The concern and compassion expressed by the students for those experiencing homelessness in our community was moving and brings me great hope,” said Marshall. “Getting youth involved and engaged in social welfare issues as early as possible is an investment in our future.”

One thing that surprised Hall and her fellow students were the unexpected factors that contribute to individuals experiencing homelessness, especially with regard to homeless youth who have fled abuse and other bad situations at home.

Hall’s town hall event helped change how both students and staff think about not just individuals experiencing homelessness, but about homelessness as a whole. A classmate approached Hall in her economics class to let her know the impact this event had on her. The classmate explained that a friend of hers was experiencing homelessness and, because of what she learned from the panelists, she took her to Wind Youth Services to receive medical attention and other services.

Check out the Responding to Homelessness in the County of Sacramento webpage to learn more about the Initiatives to Reduce Homelessness.

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Members of the media and public are invited to attend Inner SOUL, a silent art auction to benefit Joshua’s House, Sacramento’s first hospice house for the terminally ill homeless on August 10, at 5-8pm.

The Second Saturday art reception will feature a silent auction of over 90 pieces of art based on SHELTERS. All proceeds from the sale of donated artwork will go to completing the building of Joshua’s House, which has received strong support from community leaders such as Congresswoman Doris Matsui, City of Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and City Council Member Jeff Harris along with the entire City Council.

Area artists, along with Tony Natsoulas and Julia Didion, are invited to participate in this first of its kind art show here in Sacramento. Using the SHELTER as a symbol, we invite them to sculpt, paint, stitch and embellish. The results are a remarkable and beautiful art show.

Please join us for a special tribute art show to help bring awareness and raise funds for a critical new project here in Sacramento. The donated art will help open the doors to the new hospice house dedicated for the terminally ill homeless. This art show will be hosted at E Street Gallery, 1115 E Street, Sacramento. The art will be on display August 8-26 with a special reception on August 10th 5-9 pm where all artwork will be part of a silent auction

For more information about Joshua’s House, please email Dr. Marlene von Friederichs-Fitzwater at fitzm@hcri.com

If you’re interested in making a donation to Joshua’s House, search @JoshuasHouseSacramento on Facebook or visit www.thehcri.org.

For more information about the art show “inner SOUL” please call Helen Plenert at 916-599-2608 or email Helen@hplenert.com


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CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - At the Citrus Heights City Council meeting on June 27, Director of Sacramento Public Library Rivkah Sass updated the Council about the “refresh” of the Sylvan Oaks Library. The library now has new paint, flooring, carpets, and efficient LED lighting. Other modernizations include an enhanced children’s area, an updated teen space, a homework help area, new computers, quiet study rooms, and new service desks.

“It will be more efficient and 21st century ready,” said Sass. “This will be the gold standard for what county libraries will look like after a refresh.”

Sylvan Oaks Library’s Grand Re-Opening Celebration will be held on Saturday, August 3 from 10:30 am – 1:30 pm. The event will feature a shaved ice truck, henna art, face painting and balloon animals, outdoor lawn games, a history exhibit, tours of the new library space, and library card sign ups.

Mayor Jeannie Bruins said, “I’m excited. This library is a very important element of our community. I know the people have missed it since it’s been closed. … Thank you for investing in our community. It will continue to be well-used.”

Numerous residents of the Stock Ranch Rd. neighborhood attended the meeting to voice concerns about homeless camps in the greenbelt behind their homes. Residents are worried that the homeless persons camping in the area pose a threat to their property values and to the safety of their families. One resident explained that he understands some homeless people have mental illnesses and need help to get off the streets, but he said he has spoken to others who have chosen the homeless lifestyle because they do not want to be part of society. Another resident said, “I’m sensitive to it, and I feel sorry for these people, but enough is enough.”

Many residents said they appreciate the Citrus Heights Police Department’s (CHPD) quick responses to calls in the area, but they believe more needs to be done. The campers are damaging the natural environment due to the garbage and human excrement they leave behind, and residents want to see a cleanup effort to address this. They asked for a comprehensive plan to address and discourage homeless encampments, saying they want to help find a solution.

CHPD Chief Ron Lawrence thanked the residents for their comments and said he shares their concerns. Chief Lawrence said that Citrus Heights has a lower rate of homelessness compared to the Sacramento Region, and the number of homeless people in the city is decreasing due to the efforts of the Navigator Program, which provides resources to homeless people to get them the help they need. “Those that don’t want assistance, that are committing crimes, we take an aggressive enforcement approach with,” said Chief Lawrence.

CHPD Commander Jason Russo said that the Sunrise Recreation and Park District had a cleanup effort planned in the greenbelt the following day. They planned to trim trees in the area to increase visibility, which discourages camping, and to clean up a couple of established camps. Commander Russo appreciated that the residents want to be involved: “That’s really important in solving this problem; we can’t do it alone, as you know. It takes the whole community.”

Councilmember Bret Daniels said he also lives near a greenbelt and understands the residents’ frustrations: “I’m done tolerating it. … The community gets what the community tolerates, and we don’t want to tolerate this kind of stuff anymore.” Councilmember Daniels said there should be daily sweeps to clear homeless people of out these areas to ensure that citizens can feel safe in their neighborhoods.

City staff asked the Council to approve the Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) for the Electric Greenway Trail Project — a proposed 2.9-mile paved trail that will connect many of the parks and nature areas in Citrus Heights. The project is currently in the outreach, engineering, design, and environmental review phase. Mayor Bruins recused herself from the proceedings because her home is within 500 ft. of the proposed project, but she did state that she is personally in favor of the trail.

Numerous residents spoke during public comment, both in support and in opposition to the project. Many citizens are looking forward to using the trail and see the project as a positive investment in healthy recreation within the city. Other residents, particularly those whose homes will be adjacent to the project, voiced concerns that the trail will create an “attractive nuisance” and bring an “unsavory element” to the area.

The conclusion of the MND shows that there will be no significant environmental impacts after the proposed mitigation measures have been applied. Vice Mayor Slowey explained that this particular vote related only to the trail’s physical impact on the environment: “This isn’t the ending of negotiations. … We haven’t even seen the final design. … This is really about the environmental impact of this potential project.” The Council unanimously approved the resolution to adopt the project’s MND and the Mitigation Monitoring Plan.


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Business Academy Addresses Homelessness and Active Shooters

By Patrick Larenas  |  2019-07-11

POP Officer James Garing demonstrates protective gear used in dangerous situations. Picture courtesy of Citrus Heights Police Department

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Recently, on June 20, and June 27, the Citrus Heights Police Department hosted its first Business Academy for people interested in learning what they can do in case a crime occurs while at work. Because crime and homelessness are two concerns in the community, the police department has been fostering new partnerships with citizens and businesses.

“The Business Academy is a natural development from the Citrus Heights Police Department’s Citizens Academy which has been held since 2008. We realized that like citizens, business owners and managers have little knowledge on dealing with crime,” said Community Service Officer and Program Coordinator for the Business Academy, Larissa Wasilevsky.

Problem-Oriented Policing (POP) officer James Garing stated that the curriculum of the academy reflects the department’s own approach to preventing and addressing crime: “We have a three focus emphasis on education, enforcement and engineering.”

As Citrus Heights grows and develops economically, the issues of homelessness and crime tend to affect the economic sectors of the city. “There is no instant solution,” said Wasilevsky, “because this is not an instant problem.” Due to over a decade of recession, people have “lost their homes, their jobs and careers, and are subsequently in economic distress,” added POP officer Garing.

Tony Morgan, Navigator of Homeless Assistance Resource Team, explained how HART and the police department work together to deal with the homeless crisis and crime in business situations. “We want to give the homeless an option,” she said, “so there is a lot of relationship building involved. It takes time because many come from broken marriages, having lost custody of their children and end up in substance abuse…. But when you team up with someone, things are easier.”

POP officer Garing focused on the current concern that “about 42 percent of all Active Shooter situations occur in commercial settings—with education following at 30 percent.” National headlines have brought awareness that these “incidents have been on the rise over the past two decades from about 1 case in 2000 to 30 cases in 2017”. Since 30 cases is not a big number, “It makes it difficult to prepare for because you never think it’s going to happen to you,” said Garing.

Garing analyzed a long series of suspicious Pre-Attack Behaviors to look out for and adviced: “Many of us are distracted concentrated on texting on our cell phones and other things which leaves us with little situational awareness.” “Enforcement is reactive. It will take time for the police to arrive, so be prepared,” he finalized.

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SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Breaking state contracting laws has once again caught-up with a Sacramento area offender who has a history of unlicensed contracting activity – he was caught for illegal contracting in a sting last year. The repeat offender was one of 13 cited in a sting last week in Gold River.

CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) coordinated the undercover operation in a single family home near Mather Airport on June 12-13. The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office and Rancho Cordova Police Department were partners in the sting.

CSLB investigators contacted alleged unlicensed contractors to bid on home improvement projects like painting the exterior of the home, masonry, electrical, and pouring concrete.

A total of 13 showed-up at the sting house to give estimates. They offered bids between $930 for electrical and $12,000 for pouring concrete – well over the legal threshold for contracting without a license.

In California, it’s illegal to bid over $500 on contracting jobs for both labor and materials combined (Business and Professions Code (BPC) §7028(a)). A first conviction penalty could result in fines of up to $5,000 and/or by imprisonment in county jail for up to six months.

One of those cited is a repeat offender. Jacob Daniel Cobb was caught in a Roseville sting March 2018. He pled no contest and was sentenced to three years of probation. If charged, second offences include a fine of $5,000, twenty percent of the contract price, or twenty percent of the aggregated payments (whichever is greater) and up to 90 days in county jail (BPC §7028(c)).

“Our goal is for any suspect who qualifies for a contractor’s license to get one,” said CSLB Registrar David Fogt. “When they get caught a second time, they’re showing they’d rather put homeowners at risk than follow the law. That’s why it’s critical for consumers to check for a contractor’s license before hiring anyone to work in or around their homes.”

Consumers can get license info by running an “Instant License Check” on CSLB’s website. They can also get a list of licensed contractors in their area by using the “Find My Licensed Contractor” feature to search for licensed contractors by city or ZIP code.

Twelve suspects may face a second misdemeanor charge for illegal advertising. Licensed contractors must display their license number in all advertisements and unlicensed contractors must state in all ads that they do not have a license (BPC § 7027.1). The penalty for violating the advertising rules for unlicensed contractors is a fine of $700 to $1,000.

One of the suspects did not carry workers' compensation insurance policies to cover those working for them (Labor Code § 3700.5). This case resulted in a "stop order" (a legal demand to cease all employee labor at a jobsite), as the unlicensed individual brought his hired help with him to the home.

Additionally, one suspect may also be charged with asking for an excessive down payment. (BPC §7159.5 (a)(3)(b)). The legal limit for a down payment is 10 percent of the contract price or $1,000, whichever is less.

All suspects were ordered to appear on a future date at the Sacramento County Superior Court, 720 9th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.

NOTE: All suspects are presumed innocent until their case is resolved.

For more information or a list of the offenders see www.cslb.ca.gov or www.CheckTheLicenseFirst.com


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Sacramento County, CA (MPG) - Sacramento County is pleased to announce that funding for two proposed permanent supportive housing developments for persons experiencing homelessness has been awarded by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). The No Place Like Home (NPLH) program funding, totaling nearly $13 million in new money for Sacramento, will provide permanent housing for individuals and families experiencing homelessness and who are living with a serious mental illness.  

Sacramento County’s successful applications in the State’s first competitive funding round were the result of a collaborative effort with the development sponsors, the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, and the cities where the developments are located. 

The two new housing facilities, Sunrise Pointe and Capitol Park Hotel, will result in 180 new housing units for persons experiencing homelessness, 87 of which will be dedicated for persons that also have a serious mental health illness and need services (designated NPLH units). Sacramento County Division of Behavioral Health Services has committed to providing mental health treatment services to the designated NPLH units for a minimum of 20 years. “This is a priority for Sacramento County Behavioral Health Services. Investing in permanent, stable housing is critical for our consumers’ recovery,” said Ryan Quist, Ph.D., Sacramento County Behavioral Health Director. 

Sunrise Pointe is a new construction project located at 7424 Sunrise Boulevard in Citrus Heights and consists of 47 one- two- and three-bedroom units. Of these, 22 will be designated NPLH units. All units will serve families and individuals experiencing homelessness.  The site will be developed and operated by Jamboree Housing and  Hope Cooperative (aka TLCS, Inc.)  respectively. 

“We are grateful for No Place Like Home funding to support this important project in the Citrus Heights community,” said Erin Johansen, Hope Cooperative executive director. “Sunrise Pointe is a collaboration between Hope Cooperative and Jamboree Housing that will provide 47-units of much-needed permanent, stable housing for individuals and families in need. Hope Cooperative will provide on-site Residential Service Coordinators who will work closely with residents in accessing a variety of resources including job training, budgeting and other needed services, as well as an on-site property manager. This project will help people live successfully in the community and is an essential step in ending the cycle of homelessness in the Sacramento region.”

“Jamboree has a long, rich history of effectively utilizing new state resources in order to create more affordable and supportive housing,” said Laura Archuleta, President and CEO of Jamboree Housing Corporation. “We are thrilled to have successfully partnered with Sacramento County and Hope Cooperative in securing more than $3 million from the new No Place Like Home program for the development of Sunrise Pointe. This funding will be instrumental in addressing the region’s affordable and supportive housing needs, and will positively transform and strengthen the Citrus Heights community for years to come.”

Capitol Park Hotel is a rehabilitation project located at 1125 9th Street in downtown Sacramento. This development will be an acquisition and rehabilitation of a historic building and will include 134 units for households experiencing homelessness. Of these, 65 will be designated NPLH units. The site will be developed and operated by Mercy Housing California (MHC). 

“We are thrilled with the huge step the proposed permeant supportive housing at Capitol Park Hotel has taken this week with the award from HCD,” said Stephen Daues, Regional Director of Mercy Housing California. “We have a lot of work remaining, but this provides the momentum needed to secure the remaining funding.” 

MHC is also the lead developer on another emerging project in Sacramento County, the remodeling and repurposing of the Courtyard Inn off Watt Avenue in North Highlands. They are transforming the once problem property into 92 new affordable housing units, including 14 workforce housing units and 78 permanent supportive housing units for special needs individuals and families. Of these, 15 units will be dedicated to people living with a serious mental illness and the Division of Behavioral Health Services has committed to providing mental health treatment services for a minimum of 20 years. The complete transformation of this highly visible site at the gateway to North Highlands will have an immediate and lasting improvement in the quality of life in the community.

“The Courtyard Inn transformation is well underway and only delayed by one month after enduring the heavy spring rains and the many surprises that come with striping the building down to the studs.” Daues says, “The rebuilding stage is now underway and handing over keys to the new apartment homes for 92 formerly homeless households is well within sight.” 

For more information about what the County is doing to address homelessness, visit the “Responding to Homelessness” website. ​

Source: Sacramento County Media

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Rebuilding Together Sacramento will discuss simple safety improvements to help increase seniors’ mobility and safety in their homes, and discuss their Safe at Home program.

Falls in the home are a serious health issue that is often preventable with simple lifestyle and home updates. The Safe at Home program is available to those of any income level. Trained volunteers improve accessibility and safety with simple items that can make a big difference. There is a need for affordable housing, particularly for older adults and those with disabilities. Homes need retrofits that support aging in place and this is an ever-growing concern.

This service is essential to seniors in Sacramento because:

“‘Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among older persons,’ said Erik Listou, co-founder of the Living in Place Institute… ” Bliss, S. (Aug. 23, 2018). The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from https://livinginplace.institute/images/wsj-3-pages.pdf;

“Aging in place has also been shown to have health and emotional benefits over institutional care… ” Evidence Matters (Fall 2013). Measuring the Costs and Savings of Aging in Place. Retrieved from https://www.huduser.gov/portal/periodicals/em/fall13/highlight2.html#title;

“Over three-fourths of professional remodelers undertake projects designed to allow homeowners to Age-in-Place... ” Emrath, Paul (May 8, 2019). Eye on Housing. Retrieved from http://eyeonhousing.org/2019/05/remodeling-to-age-in-place-remains-strong-still-mostly-for-older-homeowners/

Rebuilding Together Sacramento is seeking volunteers who want to improve the safety and independence of older adults and those with disabilities by installing safety items in their homes.

Rebuilding Together Sacramento (RTS) is a nonprofit organization that has been serving the Greater Sacramento area since 1991. RTS continues to expand its partnerships with others that are revitalizing neighborhoods, improving homes, preventing falls and reducing energy use.

More about the organization: http://rebuildingtogethersacramento.org/


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