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.

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. ‚Äč

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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SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) – Volunteers of America (VOA) is facing a funding shortfall that will permanently impact Mather Community Campus, the region’s most successful program to combat homelessness. This loss of funding is forcing VOA to cease critical components of the Mather program model which will significantly affect the program’s ability to help clients get off the streets and back on their feet.

Without immediate and ongoing support, Mather will no longer be able to operate at full capacity and will have to cease operations in one of the campus’ 13 residential buildings – a building that can house 90 individuals for up to one year in a transitional housing setting. That’s 90 people who are on the streets now, ready for change, but will have nowhere to go.

Loss of funding also strikes fatal blow to Mather’s Community Dining Hall/Culinary Training Kitchen: The Community Dining Hall will close; clients will no longer receive 3 hot meals daily at a shelter without kitchen facilities in resident quarters; The Culinary Training Kitchen program will close - clients will no longer receive valuable job training that prepares them for employment once they leave the shelter.

Since 1993, Mather Community Campus has helped more than 4,500 people forge their own path out of homelessness through an innovative, proven approach that combines transitional housing with a multitude of supportive services.

“We actually give people their life back. We help them recover the things they need to function in society like getting their driver’s license, opening a bank account, and working on credit repair or record expungement. Mather also helps with clothing, vocational training, and employment placement,” said Sherman Haggerty, Division Director, VOA Employment Services. “We provide the foundational tools people actually need to become a part of the community again. No other program does these things.”

Volunteers of America has created a webpage that details the budget deficit and impact more fully. Anyone wishing to learn more can visit www.savemather.com. Individuals and organizations who are interested in supporting Mather Community Campus should contact Christie Holderegger, VP/Chief Development Officer at (916) 213-4133 or donate online at www.voa-ncnn.org.

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SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the $4.4 billion recommended budget for Fiscal Year 2019-20.

“Sacramento County’s FY 2019-20 budget provided substantial challenges due in part to decreased state and federal revenues, significant costs around lawsuits and increased expenditures,” said District 2 County Supervisor and Board Chair Patrick Kennedy. “We were able to weather these challenges with a balanced budget that minimizes the impact to critical services, without eliminating whole programs or services.”

The County’s General Fund and Restricted Funds budgets for FY 2019-20 totaled $2.7 billion in appropriations, which is a 4.2 percent increase over last year’s total. Enterprise and special revenue funds comprise the remaining $1.68 billion.

“We were able to recommend a balanced budget that avoided eliminating whole programs or services, limited the impact on Board-priority programs and avoided employee layoffs,” said County Executive Nav Gill.

In spite of the growth of revenue, reductions in positions and programs were necessary due to lawsuit costs, investments in the jails in order to resolve a lawsuit around conditions of confinement, decreases in state and federal revenue for certain programs, as well as other obligations.

To close a general shortfall of $55 million, Sacramento County recommended $43 million in reductions in General Fund Departments and $12 million in General Fund reserves to bridge the gap.

General Fund departments identified a number of targeted program and position reductions. The reductions included the elimination of 181.3 FTE positions that were either vacant or, in a few cases, filled by employees who were shifted to other positions in the same class. No layoffs were necessary.

The budget also recognized areas of growth, including:

$21.7 million to make improvements to the County’s jails as part of continuing efforts to resolve conditions of confinement concerns identified in a recent lawsuit; $2.3 million in state and federal revenue to add 25 FTE positions in Child Support Services; $1.2 million in 2011 Realignment Local Innovation funds to add seven positions in Probation to establish a Pre-Trial Assessment and Monitoring Pilot Program; $1 million set aside for costs related to the Hardesty/Schneider lawsuit against the County; $3.5 million to add 29 FTE positions in Airports Department to handle the impact of increasing passenger and freight volume; and $668,000 to cover the cost of postcards and postage for the March 2020 Primary Election, as required by state law.

The budget also continued funding for programs and services that were initiated over the last few years with Board approval, including:

Homeless Initiatives: The FY 2019-20 Budget expands services in several areas using state and federal funding, for a total of a $20 million budget for the initiatives. A $700,000 reduction in funding for the Scattered Site Housing program subsidies (contractor did not need the full amount and placed families in federally funded housing slots). The remaining amount for the Scattered Site Housing program is $2 million;

The Parkways and Unincorporated Communities Clean-up and Safety Initiative to reduce the incidence and mitigate the impact of illegal camping in the County’s parkways and unincorporated communities received continued funding with a reduced level of deputies on the Homeless Outreach Teams, reduced hours for the Parks Resource Team and eliminated funding for an animal control officer;

The intelligence-led policing model implemented by the Sheriff’s Department;

The Healthy Partners Program that provides healthcare services to undocumented immigrants;

A strategic plan to reduce disproportionate African-American child deaths through community-based contracts and targeted staffing in Child Protective Services, Public Health and Probation;

Implementation of an Adult Supervision Model in Probation that will prioritize supervision and services for high-risk probationers in the first six months to a year of probation;

Behavioral Health Services enhancements to provide appropriate services to persons with serious drug and alcohol use disorders, reducing reliance on hospital emergency rooms, and ensuring that individuals experiencing a mental health crisis receive treatment in the most appropriate setting for their needs;

Continue to implement the Board-approved three-year MHSA (Mental Health Services Act) to expedite mental health services for individuals with serious mental illness and/or co-occurring substance use disorders and are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless;

Animal Care Initiatives focused on improving animal care, increased spay/neuter services and increasing the Bradshaw Shelter’s live release rate. The budget recommends reductions in contracts and two positions, but the department expects to continue to maintain its high live release rate;

Efforts to reduce fire danger and illegal camping, increase debris removal and enhance the visitor experience in the American River Parkway and the County’s Regional Parks will continue with a reduced number of seasonal staff hours from 9,000 to 4,654;

For details, read the County Executive’s Budget Letter or view the budget documents on the Office of Budget and Debt Management;

The numbers on the Recommended Budget will change between now and September, when the County receives new information, including the impact of the State Budget and updated revenue totals. The Final Budget will come back to the Board of Supervisors in September for review and adoption.

By the numbers: $4.4 B: Total Budget; $1.8 B: General Fund; $1.6 B: Enterprise and Special Revenue; $918 M: Restricted Funds; 12,307: Number of Employees.

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