Citrus Heights Sentinel Logo

Citrus Heights nonprofit’s rental assistance program aims to prevent homelessness

File photo, The Woods apartment complex at 6413 Tupelo Drive, in Citrus Heights. // M. Hazlip

By Sara Beth Williams–
Federal COVID-19 relief funding will provide the Citrus Heights Homeless Assistance Resource Team (HART) with a significant financial boost in 2023, helping the nonprofit expand its rental assistance program to help keep people from becoming homeless.

“People may not realize that one of the things we do is prevent homelessness by assisting with rent,” said HART Treasurer Kathilynn Carpenter, whose organization focuses its efforts on helping end and prevent homelessness among at-risk individuals within Citrus Heights.

The organization’s rental assistance program is geared toward helping individuals who experience a “one-time catastrophic event.” Carpenter said her nonprofit works closely with St. Vincent de Paul and the Citrus Heights Homeless Navigator to assess client needs and to validate rental assistance requests.

A rental assistance program committee approves the requests, with applicants being assessed on their ability to pay rent consistently in the future, as rental assistance funds cannot be provided every month.

The rental assistance program was initially funded in 2021 through a Transient Occupancy Tax Revenue grant (TOT), but will now likely receive reimbursement funding through an American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant.

The TOT grant was established in 2017 according to, and provides funding to nonprofit organizations located in Sacramento County that carry out community-based programs. Funds come from a 12% occupancy tax imposed on guests at hotels and short-term rentals.

In 2021, HART received an estimated $10,000 in reimbursement funding from the TOT grant and several thousand dollars more in 2022, according to estimates provided by Carpenter. HART can reapply for the TOT funding annually.

According to an article on, a reimbursement grant provides funding to grant recipients after they’ve followed specific requirements, and often reimbursements are provided via a set payment schedule after the qualifying organization has submitted documentation verifying expenses.

In March of 2021, President Joe Biden signed the ARPA into law, which provided state and local governments with access to emergency funding for education, rental assistance, transit, stimulus payments for individuals and more. HART now has access to a $250,000 ARPA reimbursement grant.

Carpenter said much of the money will “most likely” go toward rental assistance, but added that organization volunteers would like to do a needs assessment first, to determine the most “effective use of the funds.”

“[The assessment] will take the form of interviews and surveys in the community as well as getting feedback from the city, CHPD, nonprofit service providers and other community stakeholders,” Carpenter said.

HART’s philosophy is to provide resources to individuals facing poverty and housing instability by connecting them with local services within Sacramento County. The organization’s website provides links to a variety of programs and resources, including resources on housing assistance, COVID relief assistance, rehab and drug centers and pro bono legal advice.

Related: Rotating winter shelter for Citrus Heights homeless to begin Jan. 1

Like local news? Sign up for The Sentinel’s free email edition and get two emails a week with all local news and no spam, ever. (Click here)