The Veteran Administration intends to end homeless among veterans by December 2015. SSHH contracts with the VA in the Sacramento region using the “housing first” approach by partnering with the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency in providing Housing Vouchers and then connecting the veterans with stable housing.
SSHH has successfully housed 367 Veterans in the VASH program since 2010.
In January 2013, the Sacramento County Homeless Count tallied 184 veterans sleeping in shelters and another 139 veterans sleeping outside. To help respond to this crisis of homeless veterans in our community SSHH, in collaboration with the Mather Veteran Healthcare System, provides weekly housing location counselling to veterans through a program called "Movin' On Up.”
An average of 10 formerly homeless veterans, who for one reason or another are not eligible for a housing voucher, find housing with our help each month.
SSHH provides permanent supportive housing for 64 chronically homeless men and women with disabilities who share safe, clean homes and receive weekly case management. We identify the most vulnerable people on the streets or in shelters and move them into shared housing using a “housing first” model. They are able to live with dignity and security for the first time in years.
In the cities of Citrus Heights, Rancho Cordova, and Elk Grove, SSHH housing counsellors meet with individuals and families who are either homeless or in danger of losing their housing. After an initial intake is completed, potential barriers to safe housing are examined. Combing SSHH's data base of rental listings throughout Sacramento County, the client is provided with referrals that realistically satisfy their needs, often with landlords and managers that staff has worked with in the past. If needed, SSHH staff will assist the client in meeting with the prospective landlord, assist with paperwork and other advocacy requests.
SSHH recognizes that instability in housing can be a significant barrier to employment. SSHH is collaborating with Sacramento Employment and Training Agency to engage in proactive intervention strategies to keep households in their housing or relocating them to stable housing. Together we will achieve housing and employment stability.
SSHH partners Wellspace Health, to manage their “T-3” houses that provide short-term transitional stays for clients coming out of crisis, either medically or emotionally. T-3 is short for triage, treatment and transport. This program provides wrap-around community services for frequent users of Sutter Health’s and Kaiser’s emergency rooms. SSHH manages four of these houses, as far east as Roseville, while Wellspace Health provides the clients with case management with the ultimate goal to move the clients into permanent housing. Measured outcomes include a 65% reduction in emergency department utilization, 80% reduction in substance use, and 100% engagement of clients with requisite mental health treatment.
Master leasing is a strategy that can expand low income people's access to affordable housing. With master leasing SSHH leases the property and sub leases to the tenants, providing access to housing units for clients who have bad credit histories or limited low income. The lack of affordable housing in our communities is both a reason why people fall into homelessness and one of the major barriers blocking their return to stability and self-sufficiency. By master leasing each tenant receives a rental agreement to establish or re-build rental history. SSHH currently has 14 units for master leasing.
Sacramento Self Help Housing reaches out to homeless men and women living in makeshift camps in local communities. Working with police departments less interested in citing the homeless than in offering them suitable alternatives, SSHH is visiting camps in Citrus Heights and Rancho Cordova to meet with the campers, assess their needs and appropriateness for possible programs and services, and whenever possible, refer them to available mental health services, medical care, financial aid, and shelter and housing options.
Sacramento Self Help Housing provides permanent supportive housing to individuals in Sacramento's Serial Inebriate Program (SIP). Clients pursue medical treatment, mental health recovery and improved nutrition. Recovery is also offered, but the model of care is “harm reduction” in which sobriety is not required prior to beneficial services being offered. SIP received national recognition for its “excellent impact in the community” at the 2013 Charitable Services Conference and Awards Banquet in Atlanta.
Sacramento Self Help Housing provides housing location assistance to homeless veterans. We are part of the "HUD-VASH" program, which uses the "housing first" approach--i.e., providing selected veterans with housing vouchers and then immediately working with them to locate suitable permanent housing. We also collaborate with Mather VA offering one-on-one housing counseling at a weekly workshop called "Movin' On Up." SSHH is dedicated to housing our veterans.
RIGHT: Tahirih Kraft with a formerly homeless veteran at his new apartment.
The model for our new Elk Grove project, Grace House, is the Cathedral House, operated in partnership with the St. Vincent de Paul Chapter of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament,. Opening in April 2013, Grace House is a partnership between SSHH, the City of Elk Grove, P.A.T.H., and the Elk Grove Food Bank. Both sites house homeless individuals for about three months, assisting them in a number of case management services, and offering them a safe place to be. Both houses offer great opportunities for volunteers to help turn lives around.
RIGHT: A volunteer carries furniture into Grace House Read the full story