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City manager says future of navigator program a top priority

By Mike Hazlip—
Citrus Heights City Manager Ash Feeney told a neighborhood group last week that city staff are working “daily” to find another nonprofit to fill the role of Sacramento Self Help Housing (SSHH), which the city contracted with to provide “navigators” for residents experiencing homelessness in Citrus Heights.


In statements made to The Sentinel after a May 16 meeting for Citrus Heights Areas Seven Eight and Nine (CHASEN), Feeney said he hopes city staff will be able to identify a new organization to take over for SSHH in a matter of weeks, not months.

“We’re actively working with some third party vendors to look to contract for Navigator’s services so we can continue that successful manner in which the program has been executed in the right way,” Feeney said. “So we’re taking the time to work with trying to find the right partner on that. But we’re talking about weeks, not months, to get something done here.”

Feeney said reacting to the closure of SSHH is a priority for the Citrus Heights as well as other cities in the region. The city will make an announcement once staff identify an organization to fill the role, but finalizing a contract could take several more weeks after that, he said.

“I can’t really put an exact timeframe on it right now,” Feeney said. “But all I can tell you is it’s a daily focus for our team. When it’s a daily focus for our team, things happen pretty quickly.”

The future of navigators Gabriella Yost and Yvette Horst remains in question as the search for a new organization moves forward.

“It would be fantastic if they were to remain as Navigators, in Citrus Heights,” Feeney said, adding that he hopes their relationship with the community will continue. “They certainly got a lot of support in the community and with our team, but ultimately that will be to be determined.”

Sacramento County announced in a March 29 release that it would not renew contracts with SSHH due to what the county said was “significant financial issues at SSHH.” As previously reported by The Sentinel, that move prompted the organization to plan closure at the end of June.

The Navigator program is credited with helping get people into permanent or transitional housing, as well as connecting homeless individuals to a variety of services.

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