City of Sacramento helps fund ‘Saint John’s Program for Real Change’

City commits $600,000 to add more transitional housing for women and children.

The City of Sacramento is awarding $600,000 to the “Saint John’s Program for Real Change” to add 30 transitional housing units to their existing program serving women and children.

“If Sacramento is truly going to be a city that works for everyone, it is incumbent upon us to take care of those who have experienced difficult times,” said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.

“I commend the City Council for voting to expand the Saint John’s Program for Real Change, which means more opportunities for women and their families to lift themselves out of poverty and dependence to self-sufficiency.”

The City Council has stepped up in support of this program, which is making a real difference in our community and in the lives of many women and their children, said City Manager John Shirey.

The program currently serves up to 180 women and children every day, providing intensive supportive services and shelter to impoverished, single mother-led households. The expansion of their transitional housing units will provide a bridge for the women on the way to self-sufficiency after they go through Saint John’s intensive program for up to 18 months.

Saint John’s has already secured a $900,000, 15-year forgivable loan from the Federal Home Loan Bank to support the $3 million project and is actively campaigning to raise the remaining $1.5 million to fully fund the project. The City’s contribution, to be allocated at mid-year, will also be a 15-year forgivable loan.

“Saint John’s provides women and children, the most rapidly growing segment of the region’s homeless population, a hand up and out of poverty and despair,” explained Michele Steeb, CEO of Saint John’s Program for Real Change.

“We are grounded in the idea of an old Chinese proverb, ‘Give a man a fish and he eats for a day; teach him how to fish and he eats for a lifetime’. At Saint John’s, we believe that in order to create real, lasting impact, the change must start with the root causes of the larger issue which is why we offer a service-rich, 18-month program designed to guide, counsel and teach these women how to make a complete and dramatic transformation in their lives.

“We operate the largest shelter in the region, and despite our having increased our capacity by over 50 percent in the last 1.5 years, we continue to have a waiting list of up to 350 women and children daily.  We are so grateful to the City of Sacramento for helping us expand our services to an additional 90 women and children,” Steeb added.

The 18-month program consists of five levels to achieve success: Stabilization, Employment Training and Self Development, Advanced Employment Training and Positive Network Development, Job Acquisition and Self Reliance, and Family Sustainability and Community Involvement.

Tonight’s approval of conditional funding to the Saint John program is one of many ways in which the City helps address issues related to those who have found themselves homeless.

The City grants a total of approximately $1.3 million annually to Sacramento Steps Forward programs such as Common Cents, Winter Motel Vouchers, and the Comprehensive Alcohol Treatment Center.

The City recently issued a report about the annual costs of homelessness. Total services and support to address homelessness are estimated at $13.6 million annually. See the full report.

Lead image courtesy of St. John’s Program for Real Change

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