Citrus Heights Sentinel Logo

Citrus Heights to launch new homeless services, outreach

Vice President of Clinical Programs for Sacramento Covered, Kyle Stefano, speaks to the Citrus Heights City Council on Sept. 14, 2023. // M. Hazlip

By Mike Hazlip—
Citrus Heights City Council members on Thursday unanimously voted to approve an agreement with Sacramento Covered to provide services for homeless residents living in the city, utilizing pandemic relief funding.

The move comes about six months after the bankruptcy of Sacramento Self-Help Housing, a nonprofit that contracted with Sacramento County to provide services to homeless residents. The organization also provided homeless navigator services for Citrus Heights.

The agreement, called a Memorandum of Understanding, establishes a partnership between the City of Citrus Heights and Sacramento County’s Department of Homeless Services and Housing (DHSH). The agreement allows for services to resume for unhoused residents living in Citrus Heights through Sacramento Covered, a nonprofit already contracted with DHSH, according to the document.

The terms laid out in the memo include services through Dec. 31, 2025 with funding coming from an American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocation for District 4 under Supervisor Sue Frost.

A total of $344,836 will be allocated to the program, the document says. The funds are set to be paid in installments of $137,918 for the first two fiscal years, providing for one full-time Community Health Worker. The memo shows $69,000 in funds slated for a portion of fiscal year 2025 through Dec. 31, 2025. City staff have not identified a source of funding past 2025, according to a presentation by Housing Coordinator Nicole Piva.

City Manager Ash Feeney said the ARPA allocation will free up funds for other housing-related programs, such as low-income residential housing.

“I’m really excited about where this [agreement] could lead for us as a city, to make advancements on looking to provide services for our unhoused population to better the quality of life for all in the community, for residents and businesses,” Feeney said.

Vice President of Clinical Programs for Sacramento Covered, Kyle Stefano, said the organization has a two-decade history in the area and plans to help with “anything that people need to pursue housing,” such as identification cards, job placement, cell phones, and transportation. Sacramento Covered also provides emergency shelter, and interim and permanent housing, according to a news release from the city.

The Community Health Worker assigned to Citrus Heights will also work to “establish a positive relationship with local community organizations, residents, and businesses in order to foster a supportive coalition for unsheltered individuals in the City,” the city’s news release said.

Director of Street Outreach, Scott Young, said the organization recently hired former Citrus Heights Navigator Gabby Yost and plans to bring her back to her role in helping unhoused individuals access services. Yost’s position as navigator was put in limbo after the SSHH bankruptcy.

Councilwoman Porsche Middleton moved to approve the memo, with a second by Vice Mayor Bret Daniels and 5-0 approval by the full council.

Alfred Sanchez, an advocate for the homeless population, held a small demonstration at City Hall prior to the council meeting to raise awareness of civil rights under the Martin v. Boise ruling. The 2018 ruling in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals says depriving an individual of their right to sleep or rest in public areas is cruel and unusual if there are no shelter spaces available.

Mayor Tim Schaefer said during the meeting that he was “very excited” about the agreement and said he wished some of the people at the demonstration had stayed for the meeting to hear about the city’s plans for homeless services.

Homeless services are slated to start by Oct. 1 of this year, according to city staff.

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)