Success Saturday – June 9, 2012

Posted on June 9, 2012. Filed under: Homelessness | Tags: , , , , , , |

On 6/2/12 Sacramento Steps Forward hosted the community’s 5th Annual Homeless Connect.  Held at Sacramento City College, with more than 50 service provider agencies and between 300-400 volunteers, several hundred homeless individuals and families were able to access needed resources at one location.

While the actual data is still being tallied, the following noteworthy facts should be noted and celebrated:

  • Transportation was provided, free of charge, to and from the event for all homeless people that needed it.  This was provided by:
    • Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance
    • Regional Transit
    • Paratransit
    • Everyone in attendance was provided a wonderful meal, compliments of The Salvation Army.
    • Several individuals and families obtained actual entrance to housing while at the event.
    • Everyone in attendance that was seeking a social security card, CA identification, haircut, eye exam, &/or bicycle repair was able to secure these things either at the event or left with a redeemable voucher.
    • Dozens of volunteer youth from across the Sacramento Region were able to take from this event two very important things:
  1.  An understanding of homelessness, including the removal of stereotypes and other biases;
  2. Experience in service to needy people, which may impact their future course of study, beliefs, and interest in volunteerism.

On behalf of Sacramento Steps Forward, please accept our heartfelt appreciation and thanks for an impactful day of service!

John Johnson

Director of Programs

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Success Saturday – April 14, 2012

Posted on April 14, 2012. Filed under: Homelessness | Tags: , , , , , , |

St. John’s Program for Women and Children assists families in transitioning from crisis to self-sustainability. Program participants begin their journey in the structured environment at the shelter, developing the vision, hope, road map and the tools to break the cycle of dependence. In the next step, at Plates Cafe, they build the work ethic, skills and references to achieve long term employment. The third step, Greenway Village, provides them with the housing and ongoing support to progress towards living independently. The final step culminates in the participants becoming self-sustaining, supporting their families without government assistance. Unlike other programs that focus only on shelter, or on training, or on housing, St. Johns program is UNIQUE and comprehensive in its nature, guiding program participants through the whole JOURNEY providing much greater value to the program participants. An example of a recent success:

Joan and her two children are residing at St. John’s Shelter and were recently featured in a local TV special report about the growing increase of homeless teens in the Sacramento area. One viewer was so moved by the report as to not only the children’s educational motivation and resiliency, but also Joan’s tenacity to rebuild their lives, that they donated a vehicle to Joan and her kids. As a stellar trainee in the Plates Café and Catering employment training program, Joan is close to graduating and looking for employment. This extremely generous donation will help Joan as she continues on the path to self-sufficiency.

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Which faith congregations are participating in Winter Sanctuary this year?

Posted on November 16, 2011. Filed under: Homelessness | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Participating Congregations in the 2011-2012 Winter Sanctuary Program

Winter Sanctuary wouldn’t be possible without the commitment and community provided by the interfaith congregations who host our homeless guests through the Winter. During last year’s inaugural Winter Sanctuary program, 24 congregations participated. Each night of Sanctuary, dedicated volunteers from the participating congregation paid for and prepared two meals for their guests: a simple dinner and simple breakfast. The congregations and volunteers also provided games, movies, massages, haircuts, conversation and a warm, loving community.

Below are the congregations who have signed on for this year of Sanctuary:

Arcade Church

Capital Christian Center

First Covenant Church

First Baptist of Elk Grove

Mars Hill Church

           New Life Community Church

The Rock of Roseville

Sacramento Central SDA

St. Mark’s UMC

St. Paul’s Baptist

St. Paul’s Lutheran

Sun River Church

This Is Pentecost Ministries

Trinity Life Center

Westminster Presbyterian

Restoration Life Church

“I was especially struck by one young man. I don’t remember his name, but he was in his early 20′s and was very respectful and well-spoken. He expressed his gratitude for the socks and a small bottle of shampoo. He told me that he had been homeless for 3 weeks and had been unable to wash his hair during that time. I take a lot of everyday comforts for granted, including my home, my daily hot shower and a comfortable bed to sleep in. Seeing the plight of the most vulnerable people in our city tugs at my heart…” ~Cathy, Sanctuary volunteer at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church

Read more testimony from Winter Sanctuary volunteers here.

*The Winter Sanctuary program is currently experiencing a critical funding gap. $11 can provide one night of shelter for a homeless guest in Sanctuary. Please consider donating at

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Sacramento Homeless Connect was a HUGE SUCCESS!

Posted on June 1, 2011. Filed under: Homelessness | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

On Saturday, May 21st we hosted our 4th annual Sacramento Homeless Connect event at Sacramento City College. We’re a tad biased, but we’d like to announce that the event was a HUGE SUCCESS! It was a cloudless, 80-degree spring day, the sun was shining and everyone had a fantastic time. We’ll be gathering data from our intake sheets and providers and releasing a report on the event, but until then we wanted to draw your attention to some notable successes:

  • Our check-in station volunteers completed 793 intake forms!
  • We’re estimating that close to 1,000 homeless men, women and children were in attendance
  • There were 169 minor children in attendance
  • Over 400 volunteers attended the event, including folks from Americorps NCCC and Sacramento State Serves!
  • Over 70 different service providers and agencies attended
  • The Salvation Army prepped and served 800 hot BBQ lunches
  • The team of foot washers from Christ Church, Davis washed 250 pairs of feet!
  • Close to 800 bras were given out!
  • 100 folks received yoga instruction from the Yoga Seed Collective
  • The UC Davis Eye Doctors provided 175 eye exams, and handed out 100 pairs of reading glasses
  • 150 sleeping bags were donated
  • 100 hygiene packets were distributed by CASH (Community Against Sexual Harm)
  • 8 folks shared their personal story and had their portrait taken by three one photography
  • Three clothing closets (Sharon’s Tears, St. Vincent dePaul & Sacramento County DHA Job Talks) brought clothing
  • Social Security Administration did: 31 claims, 1 reconsideration, 68 Social Security card applications/replacements, 4 leads for disability claims, 3 requests for benefit verifications
  •  Over 150 pairs of shoes were provided by a CSUS Student!
  • The Healing Arts Institute provided about 100  guests with chair massages
  • Active Life Chiropractic Center provided 88 guests with spinal checks
  • 50 guests visited to California Health Collaborative station to receive information on breast and cervical cancer screenings and prevention
  • 100 folks received information from Project Teach
  • Sacramento Crisis Nurseries provided information to 75 families
  • 150 folks visited the dentist
  • Cycles 4 Hope raffled off 10 new bikes
  • Federico’s Beauty Salon gave 300 haircuts
  • Legal Services of Northern California saw 42 guests for direct legal services by appointment and 160 received materials on legal issues
  • Mary Kay Cosmetics handed out free make-up kits for 50 beautiful guests
  • 19 guests were deemed eligible for General Assistance/Food Stamps
  • CARES provided 74 rapid HIV tests
  • The Sacramento Black Nurses Association provided 78 blood pressure screenings
  • Harm Reduction Services gave 10 Hep-C tests
  • 95 folks were seen by Oak Park Outreach Services, and received help with: HIV & Hep C testing referrals, parolee advocacy information, harm reduction services, AOD and detox referrals, condoms and safe sex supplies, and school bullying information
  • The Sacramento Public Library served approximately 200 guests and handed out free books
  • 75 folks received nutrition information through the Sacramento Hunger Coalition
  • 132 DMV IDs were processed
  • Veterans Services: Sacramento County Veterans saw 30 folks; 6 visited their offices; 4 filed claims; 1 guest reopened a claim; 2 followed up to further develop a claim. CDVA Health Care for Homeless Veterans program saw 10 guests and provided 9 with the appropriate referrals; all received information on their Housing Resources workshop. Sacramento Veterans Resource Center saw 60 folks, provided 10 referrals and 10 follow up appointments
  • Housing Services
    • Sacramento Self-Help Housing did 72 intakes and provided motel vouchers and application fee payments; more follow up in progress.
    • Volunteers of America Residential Family Center: 1 referral; 2 wait listed. Adolfo Program: 8 youth completed applications; 2 wait listed.
    • Lutheran Social Services: 3 waitlisted for Saybrook; 18 referrals
    • TLCS: 1 referral; 7 waitlisted for TLCS Co-Ops
    • Golden Rule: 8 waitlisted
    • Sacramento Area Emergency Housing Women’s Refuge: 19 referrals; 1 placement; 4 waitlisted. Family Shelter: 18 referrals, 2 placed, additional 13 referrals
    • St John’s Shelter: 2 placed; 2 wait listed
    • Jackey Care’s Housing: 5 wait listed
    • Cottage Housing: 6 online housing applications completed; 1 wait listed
    • The Salvation Army: 7 waitlisted.
  • Visits from Supervisor Phil Serna, Assemblymember Roger Dickinson and Mayor Kevin Johnson
  • Live music by The BluSoul Band and Guitar Mac

And some AMAZING photos, provided by on-site photographers Adam Liang, Carrie Moore, Irene Velbeck, Ted Lee and Josh Swierzbin

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Sacramento Homeless Connect 2011: 5 Days & Counting…

Posted on May 16, 2011. Filed under: Homelessness | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Sacramento Homeless Connect 2011

Our Homeless Connect poster, designed by Circa 77 Designs!

Services, Speakers, Sponsors and Other Amazing Things

By Kate Towson

As AmeriCorps VISTAs serving with Sacramento Steps Forward, Shannon (the other VISTA) and I have gotten to see and do some fantastic things. But the thing we’re probably the most proud of is our involvement in the planning and organizing of Project Homeless Connect.

The first Sacramento Homeless Connect we planned was in May 2010, and we had worked for SSF for barely 5 months. For those of you unfamiliar with Project Homeless Connect, it’s a national Best Practice model for bringing services directly to homeless folks. Started in San Francisco, it now occurs in over 150 communities across the country. Homeless Connects are one-day, one-stop resource fairs that bring a myriad of services all to one location (ours is at Sacramento City College), thus eliminating many of the barriers homeless folks face in accessing the services they need. Transportation is provided for homeless folks that day (a major barrier for many homeless people), as well as pet care and childcare. Additionally, folks get to meet with providers face-to-face, in a warm, hospitable environment. At Sacramento’s Homeless Connect, we even have live blues bands, a hot BBQ lunch, and a ton of giveaways on top of everything else.

After months and months of frantic planning, which included coordinating 60 service providers, 500 community volunteers, 300 staff, May 22nd finally arrived. This was actually the 3rd Homeless Connect in Sacramento, but it was my very first time at one of these events. I got to see all of our hard work, and stress, and panic attacks pay off in the most heartwarming way: it was an incredibly fun, upbeat, warm, inviting and life-changing day. Over 800 homeless adults and 170 children attended, and I haven’t seen so many smiles in a long time. I spoke with one guest who told me it was one of the first times since he’d been homeless that he felt like people were actually happy to see him. Another guest I spoke with had had a dental screening, gotten a Social Security Card and a haircut…and the event wasn’t even half over yet. This is why Homeless Connect is so great!

So when Shannon and I re-enrolled in a second AmeriCorps term with Sacramento Steps Forward, we knew we’d be planning another Homeless Connect. Maybe this makes us sadists, but I can honestly say we were actually looking forward to planning it again. It’s easy to get bogged down in the stress of struggling to plan such a massive event, with so many moving parts and logistics. But we both know that on May 21st, the fourth Sacramento Homeless Connect (and the second one we’ve planned) it’ll all be so worth it.

BECAUSE…we have so many exciting things this year! We just had to tell you:


  • Live music from BluSoul Band and Guitar Mac
  • Speakers, including: Assemblymember Roger Dickinson, Mayor Kevin Johnson and Supervisor Phil Serna
  • BBQ lunch for all guests

And of course, none of this would be possible without these folks:

THE SALVATION ARMY: Our presenting sponsor (2nd year in a row!), and they’re providing at $20,000 in in-kind support. Without their help, this event would literally not be possible

Additional sponsors: The City of Rancho Cordova, Wells Fargo Bank, Golden 1 Credit Union, Sutter Health Sacramento Sierra Region, Sacramento Housing & Redevelopment Agency, Loaves & Fishes, Sacramento Mutual Housing Association, Councilmember Steve Cohn, The Merchants National Bank, CARES, UC Davis Health System, Sacramento Housing Alliance and Councilmember Jay Schenirer.

Can you tell how excited we are?

5 days and counting…

We’ll see you all on Saturday, the 21st!


P.S. Let your homeless neighbors know about the event with our Client Flyer! Pass this out to all those who might be interested. Thank you!

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Sacramento Homeless Connect 2010 a Success!!

Posted on June 3, 2010. Filed under: Homelessness | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Photo by Syd Fong, from the Salvation Army

Sacramento hosted its third Project Homeless Connect on May 22 at Sacramento City College, with the Salvation Army as its Presenting Sponsor! It was truly an amazing event, and one that couldn’t have happened without the hard work of over 400 volunteers, 300 staff,  and 60 service providers. Below, read some of the preliminary numbers from the event:

Preliminary Numbers

  • 750 guests attended the event, and 700 guests were served BBQ lunches, cooked by the Salvation Army
  • 39 guests were served through legal services
  • 150 guests came through the Job Readiness Fair for information
  • 100 blankets and 75 sleeping bags were distributed
  • 120 folks received free California state licenses
  • 30 guests received medical screening, treatment and prescriptions from the Willow Clinic
  • 21 guests were placed into a primary medical home through the Effort
  • 18 women were screened to receive free mammograms through the Healthy Breast Project, and 42 women filled out breast cancer risk-assessment surveys for the Project
  • 63 guests were tested for HIV/AIDS
  • 45 guests were treated by a chiropractor
  • 90 guests visited the Lion’s Club Vision Van
  • 111 guests were screened by a dentist
  • 30 SSI/SSDI claims were processed by the Social Security Administration, as well as 70 Social Security card applications, 2 appeals and 9 status change requests
  • 50 guests accessed veterans services
  • 40 women were seen by C.A.S.H. (Community Against Sexual Harm)
  • 400 condoms were distributed by Planned Parenthood Mar Monte
  • 190 surveys were completed for Healthcare for the Homeless program; 180 Homeless Employment surveys were completed and 112 Hunger surveys were completed
  • 190 guests received haircuts
  • 60 guests received foot-washing services
  • 60 bikes were repaired; 20 adult bikes and 20 kids bikes were raffled
  • 20 bike helmets were given away
  • 60 women visited Mary Kay Cosmetics
  • Housing Services:
    • 125 people were assessed by Cottage Housing, Inc. for their programs.
    • 30 guests were helped by Lutheran Social Services to fill out applications for their Saybrook, Youth and THPF programs; 30 guests received information regarding the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP)
    • 70 guests were seen by Sacramento Self-Help are currently being assessed for housing
    • 75-100 guests were seen by Transitional Living & Community Support, Inc. (TLCS)
    • 30 guests were seen by Sacramento Area Emergency Housing Shelter, 1 family was housed in their shelter; 7 clients were given motel or other vouchers

Additionally, a number of new providers and organizations participated this year, including:

Active Life Chiropractic Center

California Indian Manpower Consortium

Child & Family Institute

C.A.S.H. (Communities Against Sexual Harm)

Dr. Charles Newens and Carla Warde (dental screenings)

The Effort

Girl, Yes You Can!

-The Healthy Breast Project

L-1 Enrollment Services

Mary Kay Cosmetics

Planned Parenthood Mar Monte

Sacramento Hunger Coalition


Senior Legal Hotline

-Sharon’s Tears

SHOC & Safe Ground

St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store

Talk It Out Relationship Education Service

Employment Development Dept.

Sacramento City College Counseling Center

Making a Difference Counseling and Resource Center

Finally, a very big thank-you to all who participated in making Sacramento Homeless Connect 2010 a success! Your hard work, time and commitment to ending homelessness is greatly appreciated. We hope you enjoyed the event as much as we did!

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Sacramento Steps Forward’s 3rd Annual Homeless Connect!

Posted on April 26, 2010. Filed under: Homelessness | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

By Shannon Stevens

For those of us who live and work on the grid the fact that homelessness is a huge issue in this community is not surprising, we see homeless folks as we walk to work or bike to the park, maybe we get asked for some spare change here and there as we are on the way to grab a cup of coffee.

What might be alarming is that on any night in Sacramento 2,800 people are homeless. 57% of those are sheltered, 43% are unsheltered living on the streets, 20% are families. In one year in Sacramento up to 4,257 people in Sacramento experience homelessness.

So now you may find yourself asking what you can do to help…

On May 22nd, Sacramento Steps Forward will host the 3rd Annual Project Homeless Connect at Sacramento City College. This is a one day event that provides services for homeless folks in a one stop shop format, fostering an environment in which people can access a wide variety of services conveniently. Homeless Connect is modeled after the national Project Homeless Connect, which was established in 2004 in San Francisco.
Our event began in Sacramento three years ago at Cal Expo. 2008’s Homeless Connect brought together over 50 partnering agencies which served about 600 homeless guests with the help of 200 community volunteers. The following year Homeless Connect switched locations to Sacramento City College, where 60 agencies worked together to provides services to 700 homeless guests with the help of 400 community volunteers. This year, we hope to reach over 800 homeless guests with 70 services providers and 500 community volunteers!

When homeless folks arrive, they are welcomed by an intake team who collects information from them that will be helpful as they seek services. Each guest is paired with an intake volunteer, followed by a guest guide. Once their information has been collected our guest is walked to their preferred service location. This year we have health care stations, a vision van housing referrals, haircuts, cosmetics, foot washing and many many more!

Guests are treated to a lunch provided by our presenting sponsor the Salvation Army. There are also a couple of blues bands who provide entertainment through out the day. Transportation to and from the event is provided by partnering service agencies. Upon exiting the event, guests are given a to-go bag from the Salvation Army including many helpful items.

There are a few ways that you can help to make this event a success this year:

  • Volunteer: Homeless Connect relies on the enthusiasm and dedication of hundreds of community volunteers who are truly the life force of this event! Folks are asked to register with Hands On Sacramento in order to volunteer.  The event takes place on Saturday, May 22nd 10a – 3p at Sacramento City College. There is a mandatory orientation which will take place a few days before the event, for those who cannot attend an evening orientation there will be an early morning option on the day of the event.
  • Donate: Homeless Connect runs entirely on the money raised through sponsorship, in-kind donations and monetary online donations.

Sacramento Steps Forward is very excited about the event this year and we hope that you will consider joining us! Feel free to call with any questions: Shannon Stevens 916-447-7063 x.307

*Read this blog post in it’s original form at Girls on the Grid!

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