How to help those experiencing homelessness during this challenging time is a question that has weighed heavily on our hearts. We have landed on an alternative that we are excited about.
This new program is called Elk Grove HART’s WINSIP (Winter Shelter in Place). It will start on October 5, 2020 and run through March of 2021. Our plan is to deliver meals and necessities to the homeless at their locations on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. In addition to food we will be distributing many other items to help them get through the winter. Christy Cares will continue to offer meals at United Methodist Church on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
We are happy to partner with the City of Elk Grove and accept financial support through the Cares Act. The Elk Grove Presbyterian Church has generously offered their church building where we will assemble the meals. We have been able to recruit a small band of experienced volunteers to help us prepare and distribute these meals and necessities.
We considered several factors that led us to this new program. In addition to addressing the safety needs of our volunteers, we also considered the scope of our efforts. Elk Grove HART’s WINSIP will serve approximately 65 of our homeless as opposed to the maximum of 20 served at our winter shelter. This model will also give us the opportunity to do wellness checks to further meet the needs of the homeless. We will be able to keep them fed and hydrated while keeping them in place and safe from COVID-19.
Our navigator will follow up on any concerns and provide opportunities to help them find housing. Many of our homeless have income from either their retirement or disability and are eligible for housing, but remain unconnected to other supportive resources. The navigator can also evaluate potential clients for our Grace and Meadow houses.
At this time, we feel the Elk Grove HART’s Winter Shelter in Place program is the best possible way we can prevent and respond to COVID-19. As the program unfolds, we look forward to keeping you updated on all the services being provided to those experiencing homelessness in Elk Grove.
We are pulled in so many directions, often not knowing where to turn next. No one could have predicted this quarantine, a lockdown. Lockdowns are usually associated with a punishment while in prison, but this one is meant to save our lives. Most of us are hunkered down in our houses, but what do you do when you have no home?
In the best of times the homeless struggle with life. It’s scary out there, exposed to the elements. They seldom get a good night's sleep, which leads to exhaustion and an inability to cope with everyday tasks that we take for granted. Enter the COVID-19 pandemic. The streets are cleared and the few people that are out are wearing masks. There is a tangible tension in the air. The homeless are only able to catch pieces of what is going on and without TVs or newspapers they are dependent on rumors. Many are fearful, but just as many think it’s a hoax and ignore all of the craziness that is going on around them. Either way it is affecting them. Most of the community lunches are shut down, the biweekly showers have ended, the laundromats are locked and the recycling centers are closed, drying up their income.
Recognizing this desperate situation, HART has distributed informational street sheets to help inform the homeless of how they can better protect themselves and those in our community. We have joined with the City and police department to strategize how to best protect this vulnerable population. How do you comply with a shelter in place order when you have no home? HART’s mission is to take care of their basic needs, with food being of the highest priority. With the help of a team of volunteers, a meal delivery program has been quickly implemented. In spite of many challenges, it has been working beautifully to deliver daily meals to Elk Grove’s homeless. We are happy to report that so far, our homeless are healthy and very appreciative of the care being shown to them by our community.
HART is grateful to have this opportunity to show compassion when it is needed the most. We don't expect to ‘cure’ all homelessness, but what we do recognize is that people need to be given the opportunity to change. Showing them care and compassion is a great way to help gain their trust and demonstrate that we only want the best for them.
Please join us in being part of the solution by donating on the Big Day of Giving, May 7th. You can go to https://www.bigdayofgiving.org/elkgrovehart to give now.
It is rare to be able to give to an all-volunteer organization where 100% of your donation goes back into Elk Grove. Thank you for your generosity!
He came into EGWINS, Elk Grove Winter Sanctuary, visibly shaken. He shared with anyone willing to listen that this was not the life he was used to. Only a couple of weeks of being homeless had proven to him that it could be very dark at night and he was scared.
But, David felt safe and was able to get some needed sleep and meals at our winter sanctuary. Over the next couple of weeks, his story unfolded. He had grown up in foster care and had few relatives. Recently, the ending of a relationship had left him out on the streets. He wanted to go home.
It is something Elk Grove HART does on a regular basis. If our homeless ask to go home we make a couple of phone calls to make sure they are welcome. If the family is willing, so is HART. So far in 2020 we have enabled three of our homeless from Elk Grove to get on a bus and head home. We equip them with clean clothes, food for the trip and an inspirational pep talk before getting on the bus.
David was one of the three. He found a cousin in Ohio who was excited to help him start a new life. He has reported back that he’s landed a job in a restaurant and is loving his new life. Well, except for the cold! It warms our heart when our homeless have the opportunity for a new start with family. David got a ray of sunshine in Ohio and we are so happy for him.
Your contributions help us to reconnect some of our homeless with a bus ticket and a new start with family. And for that, David thanks you.
Please consider donating on the Big Day of Giving to help those experiencing homelessness go home to their loved ones. Donations will be accepted on/after April 20th. Please visit https://www.bigdayofgiving.org/elkgrovehart
We are all in a time of crisis and being asked to stay at home. But what do those that are experiencing homelessness do? How do they stay safe, and just as important, keep from spreading the coronavirus?
Elk Grove HART has taken measures to ensure that they can stay in place, yet have their essential needs met. To that end, we are delivering sack lunches with sanitary supplies to their camps five days a week. We are taking extra care in limiting the number of volunteers and using all recommended safety precautions. The first week, our volunteer found a gentleman that was starving. It is desperate out there.
The City of Elk Grove has been supportive and placed 3 port-a-potties with sanitary stations in strategic locations throughout Elk Grove. We are handing out instructional sheets with the lunches that contain recommended practices to safeguard against the coronavirus.
There have been many challenges along the way to make these lunches and their delivery successful. Limited supplies and safety precautions have put an undue burden on us financially and strategically. We have a few brave volunteers that are willing to make and distribute the lunches, but it comes at a cost. That cost is approximately $2.75 times the 65 people we are delivering to five days a week. That totals $894 a week.
Please consider what you can do to help. Big Day of Giving is May 7th. Your donation will go to help those experiencing homelessness stay in place, which will keep all of us safer.
Big Day of Giving donations will be accepted on/after April 20th. Please visit https://www.bigdayofgiving.org/elkgrovehart
Elk Grove Winter Sanctuary was recently featured in the Autumn issue of Ardent For Life Magazine. Click here to view the article https://issuu.com/ardentforlife/docs/ardent_for_life_autumn_2019/52
Our 7th Annual Winter Sanctuary runs from December 8, 2019 through February 29, 2020. We are always in need of volunteers to help us make WINS the best that it can possibly be. If you would like to be a part of our team, please email Jenn at firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteer Sign Ups will be available to everyone starting November 1st.
If you are interested in picking up a copy of Ardent For Life, visit https://www.ardentforlife.net/distribution to see their many distribtuion locations.
Thanks to some very generous churches in our community, all five students currently living at our Meadow Family House were able to go back to school with new clothes and shoes.
A big THANK YOU to Sun Grove Church and Elk Grove Church of Christ for providing donations to purchase the needed items for each student.
The kids and their parents met up with Elk Grove HART mentors and spent a day going shopping. They were thrilled to be able to pick out their own clothes. One young lady, while expressing her thanks and delight to the mentor, said the experience was “overwhelming”.
Thanks again Sun Grove Church and Elk Grove Church of Christ. You certainly made some students very happy. We, and those we serve, sincerely appreciate your generosity.
She came upon them accidentally while walking in a Sacramento park. From a distance, it looked like two men kicking a red and white ball back and forth. As she got closer, Lily realized that it wasn’t a ball, but a white, bloodied dog. Running at the men with all of her force she intervened begging them to stop, telling them she would pay them for the dog: $20 each. They angrily explained that the dog had eaten their hot dogs and they wanted to teach it a lesson.
Lily rushed the wounded animal to a vet, repeating “good boy, good boy” over and over again. It’s all she could think of to try and calm down the wounded dog who was laying next to her, barely moving.
It was the start of a beautiful relationship and the name Good Boy stuck. Then it was his turn to rescue Lily. In January, discouraged after a bad hip replacement, Good Boy never left Lily’s side. In May, the house she had rented for 15 years burned down and the owner disappeared with the money. Unable to go back to work because of her hip, Lily was destitute, but still had Good Boy to comfort her.
The two moved into the Grace House this summer and are both thriving! Lily was beyond grateful and did everything she could to become self-sufficient again. This week Lily was hired to be a house leader in a transitional house and Good Boy will be right by her side. Let the healing begin.
We are a 501c(3) non-profit organization;
100% of donations go directly toward providing services.
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