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Volunteers serve up weekly hot meal to Citrus Heights homeless

Patrick Miller of Grace House helps distribute hot meals to area homeless on Dec. 27, 2022. // M. Hazlip

By Mike Hazlip–
Volunteers from the Citrus Heights Homeless Assistance Resource Team (HART) and Grace House on Tuesday provided a hot meal behind Costco to those living on the streets of Citrus Heights.

Both organizations work together to provide meals every Tuesday at the picnic tables behind Costco and Walmart on Auburn Boulevard. This week’s turnout on Dec. 27 was slim due to the weather, organizers said.

Homeless advocate Alfred Sanchez, known on the streets as “Snack Man” for his efforts to distribute snacks and toiletries, said people living on the streets and in the parks try to stay warm and dry as best they can.

“Thank God that Grace House is out here doing this,” Sanchez said. “Because it gives it a kind of a sense of community, somebody cares. The navigators, the people from HART, I come out, and it just makes it feel like, damn, somebody cares.”

Citrus Heights HART President Irene Hronicek said the outreach helps staff connect with homeless individuals and offer services. The meals are prepared and served by Grace House, she said.

Patrick Miller, president of the board for Grace House, said his organization houses between 30 and 35 men and women among three houses, a men’s house, a women’s house, and a men’s transitional house.

Since April of last year, the City of Citrus Heights has paid for 18 people to be housed at Grace House, Miller said. Of those, only two have turned back to alcohol or drugs while the rest are either living in transitional housing or continue to live at Grace House.

“We don’t run a rehab, we don’t run a behavior modification type of program,” Miller said. “We build a new family for them.”

Grace House meets each Friday night at Crossroads Christian Fellowship near Dewey Drive and Madison Avenue. Citrus Heights HART offers office hours with the navigator, Gabby Yost, at various times and locations during the week.

HART is also helping coordinate a rotating Winter Shelter program, set to begin Sunday night.

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