HART Holds Hopes for Homeless

Story and Photo by Margaret Snider  |  2016-12-22

Inez Reyes, right, intake coordinator for the Rancho Cordova HART winter shelter, registers a guest at last year’s winter shelter.  The intake site will again be at Way of Life Church on Folsom Boulevard.

The Rancho Cordova branch of the Homeless Assistance Resource Team, or Rancho Cordova HART, this winter will hold their third winter shelter for the local homeless. The plan is for nine churches to take responsibility for one week each from Monday, December 26, through Saturday, February 25.

Six sites are ready to go, but three are still needed. “We need our Christmas miracle,” said Karen Edwards, leader of Rancho Cordova HART. Churches considering taking on a week’s sheltering should send some volunteers to the first or second host sites to see how it’s done, she said. The host sites can answer any questions, and the other churches can see how possible it is to do it themselves.

“I have great faith that we’ll fill those,” Edwards said. “But I know we have to do our due diligence, too, we have to actively pursue and recruit and do the big ask.”

The intake site is the same location as last year, Way of Life Church at 10415 Folsom Blvd., between Coloma Road and Mills Park Drive. Guests can be there at 4:30 p.m. and must be in line by 5 p.m. even if they were guests the previous evening. “The doors open at 5 p.m. and the first 30, that’s the max that we can take,” said intake coordinator Inez Reyes. After registration, the guests will be taken to the host site, where they will receive a hot dinner and be given a safe, warm place to sleep. In the morning, they will be bussed back to the intake site with a breakfast bag and some food for later in the day.

Reyes said that Pastor Mike Tempke of Way of Life Church and his volunteers deserve a lot of credit for all they do in providing the intake site and associated services. The Church of Christ provides transportation to each host site, and back each morning. All the services are provided by volunteers.

In each of the previous years, HART has learned more about how to maximize the benefit for the guests. “We have a lot more knowledge, we’re more equipped,” said Reyes.

The Folsom Cordova Unified School District supplies a liaison, and that helps to ensure that any known homeless students at least have shelter for this period, and to see what else can be done for them. “Every week, once a week, during our whole season, (Sacramento) Self Help Housing will be there, doing housing counseling, DHA will come with resources, and Elica Health will come offering medical,” Edwards said.

Rancho Cordova HART has been helping in other ways, in addition to the winter shelter. HART has partnered with the veterans stand-downs and helped at their events, and plans its own mini veterans’ stand-down for the spring. HART also has started a mentoring program, coinciding with the shelter season. “We pair up someone who will come alongside (the homeless) – not do the work for them, but help them connect the dots, to get to their resources,” Edwards said. “Sometimes the (homeless) are so overwhelmed with day-to-day existence that they don’t even know where to start.”

Edwards said that there are some chronically homeless who may always be on the street. Nevertheless, she said, “I do believe that there is a percentage of our guests that we will not see this year because they’ve gotten into housing.” Edwards estimates that 10 to 15% of last year’s guests were able to obtain housing because they were veterans. Since last year, Rancho Cordova HART has been mentoring Citrus Heights and Carmichael HART in setting up their own winter shelters, which are to be in place this season. That adds resources for people in those communities.

“It’s definitely helping people,” said Tom Beigle, coordinator for St. John Vianney Catholic Church’s host site. “It seems inadequate for what the real need is, but we have to start somewhere.”

Rancho Cordova HART recently attained its official nonprofit status, which gives it its own authority and convenience in carrying out its functions.

For more information about Rancho Cordova HART, e-mail RanchoCordovaHART@outlook.com or see www.ranchocordovahart.org/.

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Local Program Delivers Holiday Spirit to Seniors

Source: Home Instead  |  2016-12-01

Holiday shoppers are invited to participate in Be a Santa to a Senior by picking up a paper ornament at a participating location. Participating loca-tions will display Be a Santa to a Senior trees from Nov. 1 to Dec. 28, which will be hung with ornaments featuring seniors’ first names and their desired gifts.

The holidays are a time to celebrate the joy and warmth of the season with friends and family. In Sacramento, the local Home Instead Senior Care® office is inviting the community to celebrate with local seniors who may be alone during the holiday season.

The Home Instead Senior Care office serving Sacramento is helping to facilitate Be a Santa to a Senior®, a community program that provides gifts and companionship to seniors who may be isolated from friends or family during the holiday season. The program is made possible through the generous support of Sacramento businesses, nonprofit organizations, retailers, numerous volunteers and members of the community.

“The holidays can be a troubling time for seniors. They may feel the absence or the distance of loved ones,” said Buck Shaw of the Sacramento Home Instead Senior Care office. “Be a Santa to a Senior provides a ray of hope for many seniors, and it means so much for them to know that people care and value them as members of our community.”

The local Home Instead Senior Care office has partnered with Oakwood Village and Meals on Wheels to help with gift collection and distribution.

Holiday shoppers are invited to participate in Be a Santa to a Senior by picking up a paper ornament at a participating location. Participating locations will display Be a Santa to a Senior trees from Nov. 1 to Dec. 28, which will be hung with ornaments featuring seniors’ first names and their desired gifts. Holiday shoppers can choose an ornament, buy the requested gift and return it back to the store with the ornament attached. There’s no need to worry about wrapping — community volunteers and program partners will wrap and deliver the gifts to local seniors in time for the holidays.

“Be a Santa to a Senior provides a much-needed boost for seniors who may be isolated, not just through gifts, but through interaction and companionship,” said Shaw. “We’re so grateful to have a community that comes together to show our local seniors they are not alone during the holidays.”

Be a Santa to a Senior trees can be found at the following locations: Eskaton Lodge Gold River, 11390 Coloma Rd., Gold River, CA 95670 - Brookdale Stock Ranch Road, 7418 Stock Ranch Road, Citrus Heights, CA 95621 - Sun Oak Senior Living, 7241 Canelo Hills Dr., Citrus Heights, CA 95610.

For more information about the program, visit www.beasantatoasenior.org or call Blair Sapeta, Program Coordinator, at (916) 920-2273.

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Funding for Winter Sanctuary Approved

Source: Sacramento County  |  2016-11-17

On November 1, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors approved an agreement for $360,000 with Sacramento Steps Forward (SSF) for the administration of the Winter Sanctuary Program. The Winter Sanctuary Program provides nighttime shelter with local faith-based organizations, including transportation and two meals, for Sacramento County’s homeless population from November 21 through April 30, 2017. “This is the fifth year of funding this program in order to provide 100 additional beds for Sacramento’s homeless each night during the winter,” said Chair of the Board Roberta MacGlashan. “We are pleased and grateful to the 19 congregations that have agreed to host and look forward to other organizations filling in the remaining open nights.”

As part of the agreement, SSF will provide monthly reports of the number of persons sheltered per night, including the breakdown of men, women and families served and their geographic origination. The data will be utilized to determine potential areas of focus for future funding opportunities.

Sacramento Steps Forward coordinates the shelter, transportation to and from the shelter sites, and meals with, as well as outreach and referral efforts for ongoing supportive services.

Currently, congregations have been lined up to provide services for every night except 52. Sac Steps Forward and its subcontractor, First Step Communities (FSC), are working to recruit congregations to fill out the list, including those that can accommodate pets, and two congregations to serve as intake sites for persons who are unable to travel to the main intake site of Loaves and Fishes.

In recruiting these additional intake sites, SSF and FSC are utilizing data to determine where the highest populations of homeless exist outside of the immediate geography of Loaves and Fishes.

The County is also providing $75,000 to Volunteers of America (VOA) for the period of November 21 through March 31, 2017 for the administration of the Winter Shelter Program for homeless families. Offered since 2011, this program has provided shelter to 876 adults and children since its inception.

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Growing Old On the Streets is America's Dirty, Little Secret

Commentary by Association of Mature American Citizens  |  2016-10-20

University of Pennsylvania Professor Dennis P. Culhane is a recognized expert on the issue of the growing number of older individuals who are on the streets.  He says that in 1990 “the peak age of adults who were homeless was 30” and that today the peak age is 55.

The homeless are the invisible denizens of America's cities, says Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens. “But, the dirty little secret that has only come to light recently is the fact that the elderly are among the fastest growing populations living on the streets,” he reports.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development told Congress last year that there were more than 300,000 homeless Americans 50 years of age or more, 20% more than there were in 2007.

A recognized expert on the issue of the growing number of older individuals who are on the streets is University of Pennsylvania Professor Dennis P. Culhane. He says that in 1990 “the peak age of adults who were homeless was 30” and that today the peak age is 55.

Weber is calling on all candidates for election and re-election in November and those in the private sector to recognize the fact that more seniors are homeless than ever before and to take to heart the needs of “these hapless lost souls. Focus on their plight and let the truth be told, loud and clear. Everyone needs to pitch in if we are to solve this problem, which only grows bigger with each passing day.”

Some would blame the spike in homelessness among older Americans on the swiftly aging population. But, Weber says, it has more to do with the rising cost of health care and health insurance, the lagging economy, the impact of such diseases of old age as cancer and Alzheimer’s and, perhaps the most damaging cause of all, the lack of affordable housing.

“In fact, talk to any health provider who deals with the homeless and they will tell you that there has been a dramatic shift in recent years in the illnesses from which they suffer. It used to be that the homeless suffered mainly from drug abuse and mental illness. Nowadays they are more likely to have the chronic diseases of old age,” Weber notes.

Mel Martinez and Allyson Y. Schwartz are the co-chairs of the Bipartisan Policy Center Senior Health and Housing Task Force. Martinez is a former U.S. Senator from Florida and Schwartz is a former Congresswoman from Pennsylvania. They published an Opinion Article in U.S. News and World Report last month in which they concluded that “preventing and ending homelessness among older adults should become a major national priority in the United States. By setting goals to end homelessness; increasing available low-income senior housing; and by understanding that the challenge requires participation from public and private partners at all levels, we can and will find ways to ensure that all U.S. seniors have the shelter and security that they deserve.”

Meanwhile, Margot Kushel, professor of medicine at University of California, San Francisco, is an expert on the elderly who become homeless. She says that providing them with housing is the key to fixing the problem. “A lot of these people have been healthy their whole lives. But it doesn't take long for their health to plummet once they're homeless. Once someone is housed, depression often lifts, stress fades away, infections heal. It's instant.”

Says Weber, “everyone has his own set of priorities, but one thing we all have in common is that we are all growing older. It's one of the hardest things we will all do in this life and so we should have compassion for those who need our help.”

The Association of Mature American Citizens [www.amac.us] is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members. We act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today. Live long and make a difference by joining us today at www.amac.us/join-amac.

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Get Ready to Roll This Spring by Cleaning Up the Garage

NewsUSA  |  2016-05-24

Time for a Spring Spruce-Up.

(NewsUSA) - Sponsored News - As spring blooms and temperatures warm up, it's time to open up the windows and go outside. This means getting into your garage and dusting off the cobwebs from your lawnmower, wiping down your outdoor table and chairs, and getting your car primed to take you where you want to go this summer season.

According to experts, outdoor equipment such as trimmers, blowers, chainsaws and even patio furniture need some time and attention to get them ready for use after sitting all winter. This is especially true for cars that have borne the brunt of snow, ice, slush and other winter-related weather.

Here are some tips for getting your machinery, vehicles and outdoor equipment ready for summer use and entertaining:

  • Get your lawnmower out of the corner of the garage. Wipe down all surfaces with a dry cloth, oil moving parts to ensure they are well lubricated, and make sure the blade is sharp. Sharp blades are better for your lawn and put less stress on the engine. If you added a fuel stabilizer like STA-BIL Storage prior to putting it away for the winter, it should start up smoothly. Should you have some hard starts, try a revitalizer like Start Your Engines! to get it revved up quickly.

  • Prime your automobile. With the cost of driving at a six-year low, you'll want to take that long-overdue road trip this summer, so ensuring that your auto is in tip-top shape is paramount. According to the AAA, driving costs are affected by how well your vehicle runs, and that includes the inside and outside of your car. Performing regular maintenance can ensure more efficient operation and help prevent costly repairs. One way to save money is by detailing the car yourself using products such as 303 Automotive Protectant to protect interior surfaces from cracking and fading. Originally engineered for aerospace and aviation applications, 303 Automotive Protectant safeguards against harmful UV rays that can cause discoloration. In addition, it keeps surfaces looking newer, leaves a dry matte finish so there's no oily feel, and helps repel dust. For the exterior, consider 303 Automotive Speed Detailer, which will instantly clean, protect and give your car a showroom shine. It's a great way to keep your car cleaner between washings. And at every fill-up to keep the engine running smoothly, use STA-BIL 360 Performance, a fuel treatment that protects your engine above and below the fuel line to keep your engine running cleaner, stronger and with greater performance.

  • Assess your outdoor furniture. No matter what material your outdoor furniture is made of, start by wiping down the surfaces. Plastic furniture, if left uncovered all winter, may just need a little soap and water to remove any dirt. To protect your outdoor furniture's hard surfaces from harmful UV Rays, apply a layer of 303 Protectant. You'll also want to protect your fabrics from water and other debris, so try 303 Fabric Guard.

For more information, please visit www.goldeagle.com.

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Affordable Homebuilders Support Aiding Struggling Californians

Source: CHC  |  2016-04-29

CHC is a non-partisan advocate for the production and preservation of housing affordable to low- and moderate-income Californians. We represent the development, building, financial, and public sectors united in their goal that every Californian has a safe, affordable place to call home. Photo courtesy CHC

The California Housing Consortium released the following statement from Executive Director Ray Pearl in support of a proposal released recently by 12 Democratic Assemblymembers that would deliver relief to Californians struggling to keep up with skyrocketing rents:

“CHC wholeheartedly supports the proposal introduced today by Asms. Chiu, Thurmond, and their colleagues with support from Speaker Rendon. This plan recognizes that our state’s housing affordability crisis is hurting California businesses and sending California jobs out of state. California’s affordable home developers are ready to deploy this much-needed investment to put affordable homes within reach of the state’s neediest individuals and families, create jobs, and strengthen communities.”

The Assemblymembers’ proposal comes as state investment needed to catalyze affordable development has plummeted by approximately $1.7 billion annually, or 79 percent, following the elimination of redevelopment agencies in 2012 and the exhaustion of state housing bonds.

California’s shortfall of 1.5 million apartments affordable to the neediest Californians is driving our state’s poverty rate to the highest in the nation.

The proposal introduced today would mark a turning point in California’s housing affordability crisis, and jumpstart building of affordable places to live for struggling individuals and families.

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Backyard Bounty: Vegetables Are Nature's Original Nutritional Powerhouses

Brandpoint  |  2016-04-21

Tomatoes are a gardener’s favorite, plant in ground, raised beds or in containers.

(BPT) - You’ve probably heard the chatter around how a handful of unusual foods are must-eat nutritional powerhouses - and wondered how you’ll ever get your kids to try kale or chia seeds. But you don’t have to stress over how to incorporate the latest health food fads into your family’s diet in order to get powerful nutrition.

The truth is, those headline-grabbers aren’t the only nutritional powerhouses. Most vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals, so quit worrying about how to pronounce acai or where to find seaweed in the supermarket. Instead, improve your family’s diet and save some money by growing nutrition-packed vegetables right in your own backyard. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Growing squash is easier than finding chia seeds. Many vegetables are easy to grow in any home environment, whether it’s a large garden plot or pots on your patio. Leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, arugula and kale are full of nutrients and simple to grow, even for beginners. Transplants, like those offered by Bonnie Plants, make it even easier by helping you bypass the work of starting from seed. Plus, you’ll harvest six weeks sooner.

  • Healthy benefits go far beyond nutrition. Growing your own vegetables and herbs means you’ll always have a fresh supply of nutrient-rich food at home. But gardening also delivers healthful exercise, time in the fresh air, and it’s a relaxing and satisfying activity.

  • Gardens are good for Mother Nature. The more food you grow at home, the fewer natural resources will be needed to grow veggies in far off places and ship them to your local supermarket. Your garden is also a great opportunity to recycle household food waste as compost. Plus, when you choose Bonnie Plants in biodegradable pots, you’re saving millions of pounds of plastic from landfills. The pots decompose, add nutrients to the soil and help prevent transplant shock.

  • Gardening could get your kids excited about veggies - really! When kids participate in gardening, they take ownership of the plants they help grow. And with their hands in the dirt, they’re not on their cellphones or playing video games. Kids who grow veggies are much more likely to eat them, and make gardening an ongoing, healthy habit.

  • Save money at the supermarket. Growing your own food means you’ll spend much less money in the produce aisle. Plus, you can grow a wide variety of vegetables and herbs, even expensive, restaurant-style “foodie” greens you may not have tried otherwise.

The plant pros at Bonnie recommend these nutrient powerhouses to jumpstart your garden:

  • Strawberries - Just one cup of berries contains 3 grams of fiber and more than a full day’s recommended allowance of vitamin C. Phenols are potent antioxidants that work to protect the heart, fight cancer, block inflammation, and they give strawberries their red color.

  • Sweet potatoes - Alpha and beta carotene give sweet potatoes their bright orange color, and your body converts these compounds into vitamin A, which is good for your eyes, bones and immune system. A half cup of sweet potato provides nearly four times the daily recommended allowance of vitamin A, plus vitamins C, B6, potassium and manganese.

  • Broccoli - This green nutritional giant delivers vitamins C, A and K (associated with bone health), folate and sulforaphane that helps stimulate the body’s detoxifying enzymes.

  • Tomatoes - Tomatoes provide vitamins A, C and B, potassium and lycopene - an important phytonutrient thought to help fight various cancers and lower cholesterol.

  • Spinach - Spinach contains more than a dozen phytonutrients, and twice the daily recommended allowance of vitamin K. These nutrients contribute to cardiovascular and colon health, better brain function, eyesight and increased energy.

  • Kale - Kale contains vitamins A, C and K. A cup of cooked kale gives you more than 1,000 percent of the daily value for vitamin K. It’s also high in manganese, which promotes bone density.

  • Cauliflower - Low in calories and carbohydrates, cauliflower is packed with a long list of nutrients, including phytonutrients. They say cauliflower is the new kale!

For more information on growing nutritional powerhouse vegetables, visit www.bonnieplants.com. Bonnie Plants is the largest producer and supplier of vegetable and herb plants in North America. You’ll find their plants at Home Depot, Walmart, Lowes and 4,700 independent garden retailers.

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