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Meet Tina. Though she is thrilled to have her own one-bedroom place in the new Elk Grove Quail Run Apartments, Tina insisted the story she told was not about her individual journey, but about the struggle of seniors in the current housing climate. As she gestured around her living room, “those of us getting older in California have nowhere to go when our rent is too high. The resources for people like me seem non-existent. Though I am grateful to SSHH and the City of Elk Grove for the apartment, resources are few and far between, considering the number of homeless and rent-burdened seniors.”

On one night in 2019, there were 1,097 homeless older adults in Sacramento County. Around 700, or 65% of homeless seniors were living on the street. This is no surprise considering 18% of all unsheltered persons are over the age of 55.

According to 2019 California numbers, 56% of low-income seniors are severely rent-burdened. Compared to 28% of the general population, seniors are in dire straights. Low-income seniors who rent, numbering more than half a million in California, can be forced to move far from their established social and medical networks to find rentals they can afford; they may end up in substandard housing, or at worst homeless. This has, oftentimes, deadly consequences. Housing instability and homelessness make preserving medication, receiving regular health care services, and getting a vaccine nearly impossible. Those that are rent-burdened are far more likely to miss a medical appointment or avoid healthcare all together due to its costs.

Why are Seniors in California disproportionately susceptible to homelessness? The answer is complex, but can be distilled to two reasons: First, fixed incomes, such as SSI or retirement accounts, can no longer cover the increasing cost of rent. Second, the Capital Region's housing inventory falls short to meet seniors' public and subsidized housing needs.

What helped Tina? Tina is housed because of an innovative partnership between SSHH, Elk Grove HART, the City of Elk Grove, and the “Affordable Housing” Quail Run Apartments. SSHH’s Homeless Outreach Navigator was able to provide wrap-around case management and supportive services to help Tina apply. Thanks to the Navigator’s help, and Tina’s perseverance, she qualified and was chosen to move at the beginning of May.

For perspective, when the Quail Run Apartments announced plans to open 96 new affordable housing units, 28,000 individuals and families applied. More needs to be done. 

Though this year might look very different than most, we can assure you our work with Sacramento’s unhoused population has stayed consistent and effective. In 2020, SSHH’s new PRTS program, a partnership with HOPE cooperative (formerly known as TLCS) and Sacramento County, has housed 19 recently homeless families in stable and permanent housing.

Continuing with the theme, we would like to tell you about the Shainer-Wyatt family.

John and Alecia Shiner have been together for 13 years. John had a good job and a steady source of income until the IRS took everything. “We had a choice between feeding our kids and paying rent. We chose to feed our kids and got evicted.” Unfortunately, as they were getting evicted, child protective services took their two children.


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This started John and Alecia’s journey as a homeless couple trying to secure housing, a source of income, and to get their kids back. They lived on “the island” in Discovery Park for two years while their kids lived in foster care. John and Alecia agreed, this was a low point for them. They became immersed in and supported by the encampment in Discovery Park. It was a doubtful advantage. They needed the support from their unhoused friends to survive but felt like the longer they stayed and the more they got immersed, the farther they fell away from their children and a life off the street.

Eventually, after nearly two years, John and Alecia started staying at the VOA Shelter. They volunteered during the day and stayed in the shelter by night. It took some time to adjust, but John and Alecia trusted a Hope Cooperative Case Manager that took an interest in their CPS case. It took three months, but John and Alecia met all the court-ordered guidelines while simultaneously securing permanent housing with the help of SSHH.

John and Alecia have had a lot of ups and downs. They have spent a lot of time dreaming about what they would do after they got their family together and secured permanent housing. Now they do not have to dream, thanks to their hard work and the services provided by SSHH’s PRTS Program; this is John and Alecia’s reality. In October, they moved into the apartment pictured above. When asked about their goals now that they have housing, John and Alexis both gave out a sigh of relief as to say, “finally we get to look forward.” John responded first,’”I want to get a good-paying job with benefits so I can get my family good healthcare and start school saving accounts for all of the kids.” Alicia went next, “I want to help my kids overcome the trauma they experienced in foster care.”
John and Alecia’s story has become commonplace in our housing programs. SSHH operates 250 permanent supportive and transitional housing units in Sacramento and San Joaquin County. These programs provide services to approximately 400 cases per night. 200 veterans received housing. 400 seniors received shelter, and 100 transitioned to a life of permanent housing.

Learn more about SSHH's PRTS Program HERE

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Meet Beverly.

Beverly is a resident of our Permanent Supportive Housing Program. Permanent supportive housing is an intervention that combines affordable housing assistance with voluntary support services to address the needs of the chronically unhoused. The services are designed to build independent living and tenancy skills and connect people with community-based health care, treatment, and employment services.

Like so many others, Beverly had a streak of bad luck and her life changed. She lost her husband and became too sick to work. Unable to pay rent, she lost her housing. After living on the street, Beverly found safety and a community in a downtown Sacramento shelter program. Unfortunately, not soon after her arrival, the shelter lost funding and was set to close. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise because from here, Beverly and her case manager connected with the SSHH Navigator and applied for SSHH’s Permanent Supportive Housing Program.

We’re proud to say Beverly is thriving. Since moving into our program last winter, she's accomplished a lot. Here's a message from her case manager: “When Beverly moved in, we were able to immediately set her up with a primary doctor, med delivery service, and transportation to her appointments. She really has been an exemplary resident. Beverly has one son and nine grandchildren and normally leaves our program on the weekend to visit family. Beverly always talks about how grateful she is for the beautiful house she now lives in."

Beverly is looking forward to celebrating Friendsgiving with her fellow residents, house leader, and case manager. We wish her the best.

The above picture is Beverly saying thanks to SAFE Credit Union for the gift bag filled with sanitation and hygiene items.

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 Tiffany was born into a difficult family. She rarely got along with her sisters and parents, which persisted into her mental health issues. In adulthood, she started down the wrong path. She began a life in and out of jail, driven by the next fix. Drugs were her only escape.

After 10 years of marriage and three children, Tiffany got divorced. While using, she was unable to handle the responsibilities of normal life, and her relationship went downhill. The low was hit when Tiffany’s mother called the police on her daughter for using. She was a danger to her mother, a danger to herself - and Tiffany agreed.

This time, Tiffany’s 3-month stay in prison was the turning point. Because she was homeless, Tiffany qualified for a housing program after she served her time, so long as she stayed clean and followed the rules. She said, the promise of permanent housing and the potential to have her own oasis away from drugs and abuse was enough to motivate her to stay clean and progress to a life she deemed worth living.

After being released from prison early, Tiffany moved into transitional housing. Here, she began taking anger management classes and attending weekly therapy sessions. Last January, Tiffany celebrated 2 years sober and moved into her own apartment, thanks to help from her Wellspace Case Manager and SSHH’s Property Related Tenants Services Program (PRTS). Tiffany is currently permanently housed in SSHH’s PRTS program.

Tiffany is now working towards her goals of purchasing a car and finding full-time work. She is looking forward to being off of probation in April 2021. October update - Tiffany is now working full-time with the local school district! Way to go Tiffany!



Meet Seth.

There is a certain number of our unhoused community that has fallen on hard times and find themselves “one step away” from a new life back on track. According to our outreach navigators, ⅓ of our current cases fall into this “one step away” demographic. This step can consist simply of a security deposit, help on a rental application, a mental health care appointment, or a connection with a social worker that instills a level of confidence to get going. The latter, the connection with our Citrus Heights Navigator Toni, is exactly what helped Seth get his life back on track. 

Seth started using at age 7. This led to more than a decade of abuse, wandering, trouble with the law, unstable housing, and the general difficulty of getting his life straightened out. A few years ago he moved back to California to be closer to his mother.

Once he moved back to California, hoping to start anew, the troubles from his previous life loomed and prevented him from moving forward. The cycle of homelessness seemed insurmountable. Permanent housing, a fulltime job, and a normal life seemed out of reach until he got connected with the SSHH Navigator Toni. 

And the turning point. Seth decided to enroll in a 21-day BAART program. Then, from there, Toni and Seth made the mutual decision to move Seth into Grace House, a transitional house for those in recovery. For the first time in a long time, he felt the structure of normal life building a foundation and the cycle of homelessness peeling away. 

After his stay at Grace House, Seth moved into Next Step Transitional Housing. Here, now comfortable and confident, Toni worked with Seth on applying for jobs, getting his driver's license, and creating action plans for setting him up for success.  

Seth is now an employee of SSHH. He began working as a housing locator a month ago. His job, appropriately, is to assist our program participants with navigating the complexities of social assistance programs and the rental housing market. “What can I do today to better myself and others,” is his mantra. I can’t think of anyone more qualified to assist our clients than Seth. Good luck to you Seth! And congratulations on all that you’ve accomplished. 

Seth is also an incredible photographer. Check out his work here:

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