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Sacramento seniors facing economic hardship will have one less place to relax and meet friends.
Catholic Charities of Sacramento, Inc., has closed down its Cathedral Neighborhood Senior Center downtown because of a funding shortage, said Beth White, associate director of the nonprofit organization.
The center, which is located at 711 J St., had provided a social atmosphere for seniors since 1975, according to White. It shut down March 1.
Elderly residents of single-resident-occupancy motels as well as homeless seniors would gather at the center, White said. They would watch television or enjoy a coffee, she said.
For example, a group of seniors would come to the center in the morning because “that’s where they got their morning coffee,” White noted.
The closure means that seniors downtown no longer have a meeting place, White said. “We were the last downtown provider.”
For years, the center’s operations were paid for by Sacramento’s county government, the city of Sacramento and Catholic Charities, according to White.
Then, in 2004, the county halted its share of the funding for the center, White said, adding that the center is no longer receiving funding from the city government either.
Without the help from the city and county, Catholic Charities could not pay for the rent on the building, personnel or operational costs, White noted.
“If you live in a SRO, it really is your meet-and-greet place and your social place,” Sacramento City Councilman Ray Tretheway told residents at a Neighborhood Advisory Group meeting Monday in Midtown. “It just breaks my heart to see that go under.”
While the center has closed its doors, Catholic Charities continues to run an outreach program to help downtown seniors gain access to medical, dental and mental health services, among other services, White said. The outreach program is covered by federal funds, monies from foundations and private donations, she said. Catholic Charities operates the outreach program together with the Transitional Living and Community Support organization.
Kathleen Haley is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press.