Mayor’s group, other agencies house 1,168 families

A group he formed to address homelessness surpassed its target to work with agencies and provide housing for 800 families this year, Mayor Kevin Johnson told the media Tuesday morning.

The group, Sacramento Steps Forward, formed last November and worked with other agencies to set up housing for 1,168 families this year.

“We’re making a difference in people’s lives,” Johnson said.

By 2012, Sacramento Steps Forward hopes to work with its partnering agencies to house 2,400 families.

Sacramento Steps Forward works with Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing of Sacramento County (HPRP). The Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency administers HPRP, which is a federal stimulus program.

Additional groups affiliated with Sacramento Steps Forward include the Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance, the Sacramento Region Community Foundation and the Sierra Health Foundation.

Kyomi Jones told the media that the HPRP helped her when she nearly became homeless.

“They helped me find a job,” Jones said. “I was able to keep my home, able to keep my kids. And I just thank God for them and everyone that helped me.”

Private citizens and religious groups gave $400,000 during a “One Day to End Homelessness” effort held in March. The effort successfully brought $1.6 million in federal funding to Sacramento County’s HPRP.

A press release from the mayor’s office noted that $4 from the federal government were matched to each local dollar, totaling $1.6 million.

Johnson praised religious groups for their involvement in the fundraising effort. “You have to give the faith community a round of applause,” he said.

In response to a question after the press conference, Tim Brown, director of Sacramento Steps Forward, said there are still waiting lists at local shelters, but the lists “have gone down somewhat” because of the HPRP program.

Sacramento County has 2,800 homeless people, according to the most recent statistics, which were calculated in January 2009, Brown said.

Of the 2,800 homeless people, 1,200 people are living on the streets, he said. The remaining people are living in shelters or transitional housing, he said.

The next count of the county’s homeless will be in January 2011, he said.

Kathleen Haley is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press.

Conversation Express your views, debate, and be heard with those in your area closest to the issue. RSS Feed

August 24, 2010 | 7:25 PM

If you live next to an empty house, be afraid, be very afraid.

August 30, 2010 | 10:12 AM

It certainly *sounds* like a lot of families were aided, but I don’t see how the metrics we’re given is put forward in a way that is meaningful. The numbers of people aided seems to be wholly a function of the stimulus money that was made available. [The 800 families target, after all, was pulled out of a hat, long ago.] I’m not sure how much credit should be given to the mayor or Sacramento Steps Forward, though they find their way to take credit.

As for “One Day to End Homelessness,” is it cruel for me to point out IT DIDN’T END HOMELESSNESS. And that the money didn’t come in in one day. And that the $400,000 really should have come from county coffers? It sounds meanspirited, but we should recognize the obvious: the city/county passed the buck to the spiritual community because they wanted to use what they had for other purposes.

I mean I do understand. The church people wouldn’t have had their heart-strings pulled to raise money for a sewer upgrade.

I just think that politicians and the local media have AN OBLIGATION TO THE PUBLIC to describe things in terms of THE REALITY of what’s going on, and not just pass along the manipulative hype that they are handed.

While I am greatly in favor of helping people in trouble, the misrepresentations undermine the disparaged homeless community and poor people in the longrun.

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