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Coronavirus: local nonprofit launches new efforts to help homeless

A sign outside Advent Lutheran Church in Citrus Heights displays a positive message amid the coronavirus pandemic. A food bank also operates on the church property. // CH Sentinel

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Updated April 9, 9:15 p.m.
Sentinel staff report– The Citrus Heights Homeless Assistance Resource Team (HART) is actively seeking donors and volunteers to assist in making hygiene supplies, shelter, and food available to homeless amid shelter-in-place health orders.

“With shelters closed, there is nowhere for them to go to shelter in place,” Citrus Heights HART Chairwoman Kathilynn Carpenter told The Sentinel in an email on Tuesday. With most businesses closed, along with libraries and parks, she also said homeless no longer have a place to use the restroom or wash their hands.

A “Shelter-in-Place” fundraiser has been set for Thursday, April 9, with donations accepted online at Carpenter said the biggest need is for major funding to cover the rental of rooms for the homeless for more effective sheltering in place. She said grants and other funding options are also being pursued.

HART has also created “hygiene kits,” complete with a mask, gloves, tissue, cough drops and antiseptic towels, which are to be distributed to the homeless by the Citrus Heights homeless navigator. Fliers with hygiene advice are also being distributed.

Through a partnership with a local church, Antelope Road Christian Fellowship, showers are also now available on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free dinner at 4 p.m. is offered at the church on the same days.

Volunteers are being sought to assist at the church and wash towels, Carpenter said. Those interested in volunteering can email Navigator Toni Morgan at

Related: Food drive in Citrus Heights called a ‘huge success’

HART is also working to place washing stations at various locations in Citrus Heights, so area homeless are able to follow hygiene guidelines recommended by health officials. Specific locations had not been confirmed as of Tuesday.

Carpenter said her organization is also seeking to provide tents to individuals and families, so they can “self-isolate from others” during shelter-in-place orders.

Food truck feedings subsidized by HART have also been coordinated, with SactoMoFo food trucks to be set up this Friday, April 10, at Celtic Cross Presbyterian Church from 1-3 p.m. The church is located at 5839 Dewey Drive. Carpenter said $10 food vouchers will be available.

Additionally, HART is encouraging drive-thru donations of food to help the Sunrise Christian Food Ministry, which has experienced a significant increase in requests from residents who lost their jobs and are seeking food supplies. The food closet ministry offers emergency food supplies to those in need and is located behind Advent Lutheran Church, at 5901 San Juan Ave.

Citrus Heights HART is a volunteer-run nonprofit that was formed in 2014 with a mission to end homelessness in the city and be a resource to those facing “extreme poverty and chronic instability.” The group coordinates a rotating winter shelter each year and is credited with helping bring a homeless navigator to the city who helps connect homeless with resources and assistance.

Donations to HART are tax-deductible and can be made online or by mailing a check to 5912 Sunrise Mall, Citrus Heights, CA, 95610.

*Note: This story was updated to include times and a corrected date of the food truck event.

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