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Citrus Heights police release details of 2023 homeless survey

By Mike Hazlip—
More than 100 people living on the streets of Citrus Heights were counted during a recent survey conducted by police.

The survey was conducted during a two-week period in May, according to a presentation to the City Council on June 22 by Citrus Heights Police Sgt. Seth Cimino. He said officers contacted 107 people, 87 percent of whom consented to answer questions.

Of those who participated in the survey, 53 percent had not worked with a navigator prior to the survey, 30 percent did not want assistance from a navigator, and 75 percent said they are originally from Citrus Heights or have family or friends in the area, Cimino said.

In an email to The Sentinel Friday, Police Cmdr. Jason Russo said the individuals contacted in the survey represent a sample of the overall population of unhoused individuals in the city. The true number is difficult to quantify, he said.

“The stats that were presented were the departments unhoused survey to help identify individuals who would benefit from or are in need of services and is only a point in time number based upon a two week period,” Russo said.

He said the actual number of homeless individuals varies with seasons and said the department “does not specifically track the exact number of unhoused individuals.” Russo noted the county also conducts Point in Time counts, but said he “could only speculate” whether the actual number of homeless individuals reported is higher or lower.

Related: Citrus Heights police see continued double-digit increase in homeless-related calls

Citrus Heights was one of the first agencies in the area to adopt a Homeless Outreach Navigator Program. The program provided resources for Citrus Heights residents experiencing homelessness and has developed “well-established relationships with dozens of regional partners” over the years, Cimino said.

Cimino highlighted success stories, including one man who was homeless for more than 30 years and is now 18 months sober and living at Grace House, a transitional facility just south of Coyle Avenue in Carmichael. Another woman was living unhoused in Citrus Heights for 25 years and now has four months of sobriety at Grace House, he said. The woman was able to attend her daughter’s wedding.

A third case involved a couple who worked with the navigator program and are now both sober, working full-time, live in an apartment, bought a car, and are raising their child, Cimino said.

The Citrus Heights navigator program recently ended, but the city announced last month that it intends to partner with the county to begin a similar program.

Related: Citrus Heights seeks partnership with county to replace homeless navigator program

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