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Facing the storm ahead- homelessness in the cold corners of the US

 Homeward Street Journal - USA 14 November 2019

As winter rapidly approaches in Sacramento, concerns are raised about the gathering "perfect storm" that looms on the homeless and affordable housing horizon. (393 Words) - By Bob Erlenbusch

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Despite the $150,000 for Winter Shelter recently allocated by the County Board of Supervisors (that hopefully the City of Sacramento will also match) Sacramento has dedicated nearly three-quarters of a million dollars less in public funds to sheltering the homeless from nearly a decade ago.    Not only are we doing less with less for homeless adults, families, children, seniors and people with disabilities to keep them dry and warm during the winter, we do so from a crisis mentality.  We know every year when it is going to start raining, yet each year the  planning is delayed by more uncertainty about funding.

But, it appears that we do not discriminate by seasons.  Overlay this winter nightmare with the harsh reality that we have not yet started planning for the 5th annual 2012 Homeless Connect spring event that helps over 1,000 homeless people annually with a broad array of services and engages over 400 community volunteers. The message we are sending to homeless people in our community -- winter, spring, summer or fall--we are moving backwards, not forwards, in ending and preventing homelessness.

These events are mere storm warnings compared to the tsunami that awaits our community once the wonderful affordable housing project, 7th and H is opened.  There is no affordable housing "in the pipeline" after this project.  No sticks, no bricks, no mortar - no hope.

The perfect storm is brewing and soon we will be in the eye of the storm.  It may feel calm, but we should not be soothed to inaction by still winds.  We must begin now to be proactive, to really move forward as a community that galvanizes political will and the new leadership of Sacramento Steps Forward, and engage homeless people as equal partners rather than criminalizing people for being homeless.

Sacramento is well known for its famous Tower Bridge.  For November, 2012, let's start now to effectively plan for a City and County "rainy day fund" and help create a bridge to the future, one that is filled with hope and not a tarnished, faded one that goes nowhere. Please join the Sacramento Housing Alliance as we call on our elected officials to get real about ending and preventing homeless.

Figures

The County's allocation of $150,000 for winter shelter only came after a concerted advocacy campaign lead by Sacramento  Housing Alliance and Loaves & Fishes, and emails to the Board of Supervisors from 300 community members. The funds will be shared between Volunteers of America and Sacramento Area Emergency Housing to provide shelter for families. The Winter Sanctuary program begins around November 20 to provide sanctuary to 100 single homeless adults every night at participating churches, synagogues, mosques or other community facilities on a rotating basis.

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