New Report Confirms Increase in Number of People Experiencing Homelessness
Sacramento, CA (MPG) - Despite housing 2,232 individuals and families who were experiencing homelessness in 2016, a new report commissioned by Sacramento Steps Forward and authored by Sacramento State’s Institute for Social Research confirms that homelessness has increased across Sacramento county in the past two years.
According to the report, titled “Homelessness in Sacramento County: Results from the 2017 Point-in-Time Count,” the total number of people experiencing homelessness has increased by 30 percent to 3,665 since 2015. Among people who are unsheltered, a subset of the total population who are living outdoors on the street, in tents, cars, or RVs, the number has increased by 85 percent to 2,052. Approximately 31% of people who are unsheltered are chronically homeless, meaning they have experienced prolonged bouts of homelessness and are disabled.
“This report provides a sobering confirmation of what we see in our neighborhoods every day,” said Ryan Loofbourrow, CEO of Sacramento Steps Forward. “It’s frustrating that we could not stop the rising tide of homelessness, but we hope this information will provide regional leaders with the empirical data they need to collaborate on innovative solutions.”
In addition to overall increases in homelessness, the report found a 50 percent increase in the number of homeless veterans since 2015, up to 469 people. The majority of these veterans are unsheltered. Veterans continue to make up approximately 13 percent of the total homeless population.
Individuals who reported continuous homelessness tended to be substantially older and were often encountered in encampments near the American River Parkway, in contrast to younger people who were downtown. Older chronically homeless individuals – between 55 and 64 – were also more likely to report being a veteran or suffer from a disabling medical condition.
"This news affirms what is already evident to the people of Sacramento, the question is what are we going to do about it," said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. "We are going to implement the city's $64 million Whole Person Care grant together with our public housing resources to get 2,000 people off the streets as soon as possible. No excuses, no boundaries, action and results are all that matter."
There were drops in the numbers of families and transitional age youth who were found to be homeless, which is a testament to the work of homeless service providers, but these groups are traditionally hard to survey for this type of report so the findings may not accurately capture a true census of these communities.
The report cites the housing drought as a potential factor in the rise of homelessness and explains that the trend in Sacramento is consistent with other communities who have tight housing market conditions. The report also explains the potential impact of flooding on the American and Sacramento rivers and improved statistical methodologies.
The rise in homelessness between 2015 and 2017 in Sacramento County is consistent with similar increases recently reported across the state. At the time the report was written, Alameda County reported a 39 percent increase in homelessness, a 76 percent increase in Butte County, and a 23 percent increase in Los Angeles County.
"This report confirms what we all see with our own eyes: a shocking and unacceptable rise in the number of persons experiencing homelessness. We need to redouble our efforts to increase our stock of affordable housing so that everyone in Sacramento has a simple home of their own," said Joan Burke, who is Chair of Sacramento’s Homeless Continuum of Care Advisory Board and Director of Advocacy Loaves & Fishes
Sacramento Steps Forward commissioned this report as a part of its biennial point-in-time count, which is a county-wide census of people experiencing homelessness. It provides a snapshot of who is homeless on a single night. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Develop requires local communities to conduct this census every two years as a condition of receiving federal funding for their Homeless Continuum of Care, for which Sacramento Steps Forward is the lead agency.
The point-in-time count was conducted on January 25, 2017 by nearly 400 trained volunteers who fanned out across the county to count and survey people living on the street, in tents, cars, and RV’s, while a data team documented the number of people sleeping in emergency and transitional shelters.
The point-in-time count and this report were made possible thanks to funding from the County of Sacramento, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency.
Sacramento Steps Forward is a 501(c)(3) non-profit homeless service agency who, through collaboration, innovation, and service, is working to end homelessness in our region.
Founded in 1989, Sacramento State’s Institute for Social Research (ISR) is an interdisciplinary unit that harnesses the power of scientific research tools to address social problems. Their research and analysis expertise, learned through the hundreds of projects completed for government agencies, nonprofit organizations and the academic community, provides the region with actionable information that can inform key policies and decisions.
Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - New data released by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) show an increase in newly reported hepatitis C cases among young adults in the state. Between 2007 and 2015, newly reported hepatitis C infections increased 55 percent among men 20-29 years of age and 37 percent among women in the same age group.
These data are consistent with increases in hepatitis C across the country and highlight the importance of hepatitis C testing, treatment, and prevention. Injection drug use among young adults increases their risk of both hepatitis C transmission and infection. Prevention strategies, including access to sterile syringes and safe injection equipment and treatment for opioid use disorders, can reduce the rate of new hepatitis C infections among young people who inject drugs by 60 percent.
“As a physician, I have seen firsthand the deadly effects of hepatitis C,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. “Patients with advanced liver disease may not know they are infected until it’s too late,” said Dr. Smith. “However, this is preventable. New treatments can cure hepatitis C in as little as two months. I urge people to speak with their doctors about getting tested.”
An estimated 400,000 Californians live with chronic hepatitis C, but many do not know they are infected. Hepatitis C-related deaths now outnumber those due to HIV.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the use of new treatment for adolescents 12 years and older, raising hopes for teenagers infected with hepatitis C. Although young Californians (ages 20-29) make up an increasing number of newly reported infections, baby boomers account for about one out of two newly reported chronic hepatitis C cases.
“Two groups are top priority for hepatitis C testing – young people who inject drugs and baby boomers,” said Dr. Smith. “Drug users may be at high risk for transmitting hepatitis C to others if they are not being treated, and baby boomers may be at risk for developing serious liver disease, even if they have no symptoms.”
CDPH urges all Californians who have ever injected drugs, even once, and all people born between 1945 and 1965 to talk to their doctors about getting tested for hepatitis C. Patients who test positive should receive care from an experienced provider.
The Department is working to address hepatitis C on multiple fronts, including monitoring hepatitis C trends, producing data reports, educating health care providers on hepatitis C screening and treatment guidelines, and supporting hepatitis C testing and access to care in settings where at-risk people are served. CDPH also supports coordinated HIV and hepatitis C testing in non-traditional settings, such as mobile health vans. In 2016, about 7,200 people received hepatitis C testing through these programs.
The California Legislature allocated $2.2 million in July 2015 for three-year pilot projects to help ensure people with hepatitis C are aware of their infections and linked to care.
Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) is excited to announce it has been awarded a $13 million grant from the California Transportation Commission (CTC). The competitive grant award comes from the Traffic Congestion Relief Fund and will support two major projects. The first project will be allocated $8 million to fund the replacement of SacRT’s outdated fare vending machines along with the installation of new digital information signs with updated security features.
“This is outstanding news!” said SacRT Chairman Andy Morin. “The District’s new executive team has been working diligently to uncover new sources of funding in an effort to upgrade station amenities to improve customer service. This is just one more example of SacRT going the extra mile to provide clean, safe and convenient service.”
Many of the system’s existing fare vending machines are more than 15 years old and only accept cash and coin. The new machines will allow passengers to pay with credit, debit and Connect Card (the region’s new transit smart card).
“SacRT really appreciates the partnership with one of its major funding partners, the CTC, as these funds are urgently needed. With these state funds, we are looking forward to providing state-of-the-art amenities to our customers,” said General Manager/CEO Henry Li. “The timing is perfect as we just rolled out our new Connect Card, and these updated machines will ensure that smart card technology is available to everyone, whether they are using cash or credit.”
The grant also provides funds to install a second information sign on all light rail platforms to improve communication with passengers. Right now, many stations only have one digital sign and the coverage is limited to properly inform customers.
The grant funding will also be used to pay for the relocation of a traction power substation that is currently located on land owned by SMUD. The electricity provider
intends to build a new substation near 6th and G streets to improve its ability to provide power to the region, but SacRT will no longer be able to maintain its substation on the current easement. A total of $5 million will be allocated to the relocation project, which must be completed by the end of summer 2018.
SacRT operates approximately 69 bus routes and 43 miles of light rail throughout Sacramento County, including the cities of Citrus Heights, Folsom, Rancho Cordova and Elk Grove. Sacramento buses and light rail trains operate 365 days a year. SacRT's entire bus and light rail system is accessible to the disabled community. ADA services are provided under contract with Paratransit, Inc.
Del Campo Teacher ‘Retires’ After 40 Years of Service
Carmichael, CA (MPG) - When Jim Jordan first began teaching yearbook and writing at Del Campo High School, photos were developed in a dark room, on film, while stories, writing and other homework assignments were composed on electric typewriters, and students had to use a pay phone if they needed to call mom for a pickup.
As he prepares to end a 40-year teaching career, 35 at Del Campo, Jordan’s home away from home, Room 17, is eerily quiet. It is summer. The desks, even some of the paperwork and books his last roster of students may have been working from and or on appear as if they were frozen in time and sitting that way since the last dismissal bell rang out for the year.
Pasted to a white board is a large, hand-made sign from his students, a love letter in big print addressed to “The Great Mr. Jordan,” with hearts and inside jokes scrawled out in purple, pink and black marker. On one side is a header entitled “Kids who don’t love Mr. Jordan.” Beneath that, someone has drawn a large line cutting diagonally across the plane of a circle in red ink.
And the feeling is mutual.
“My motivation for teaching in high school these last 40 years is pretty simple: You stay because you love high school kids,” says Jordan, who will take a short vacation before returning later in summer to pack up the room, hand over his keys and embark on his next chapter. “They are so talented and have so much to offer.”
Jordan, now 61, earned a teaching credential from Sacramento State University and also holds a Masters in Writing. He officially entered academia at Mira Loma High School in 1977, despite vows to avoid the field, largely because he grew up with a father who served as a school superintendent in Auburn for many years. “I wanted to do anything but get into education,” Jordan says.
Between 1980 and 1981, Jordan was straddling two part-time teaching positions, one at Mira Loma, the other at Del Campo. In 1982 he was offered a full-time position at Del Campo, launching a 35-year tenure that has paralleled the arrival of significant cultural and technological advances, including the arrival of the first personal computer, laser printer, the “Super Information Highway” (also known as The Internet), and perhaps the biggest game-changer of all, the introduction of smart phones into mainstream culture.
“When we first started yearbook here at Del Campo we were writing stories on electric typewriters, manually pasting them up and then shipping them out to be printed,” says Jordan, sitting atop a desk in room 17, sporting a pair of flip-flops, shorts and a bright blue polo shirt with the Del Campo logo.
With the invention of the PC and Apple’s LaserWriter introduced in 1985 to the mass market, came unprecedented opportunities for retooling the way things got done, not just for students, but for Jordan and his fellow educators. By summer of 1986, Del Campo invested roughly $10,000 on two Macintosh PC’s, the LaserWriter II and what was then known as a “WYSIWYG” (What You See Is What You Get) software package called PageMaker, and, although the darkroom for yearbook would remain open for several more years, nothing was ever the same again.
“The big breakthrough was the arrival of the laser printer that could scale type,” says Jordan. “It changed everything for us, especially on yearbook. We literally learned how to produce yearbook in a whole new way, which meant a lot of research and education for ourselves. It was a creative explosion for all of us. For the first time, kids had the exact same tools that all the professionals had.”
Jordan fell in love with the idea of writing, specifically teaching him as a bonus course, but one he grew to love teaching, particularly because of it, while in college, and carved out a career showing students the power of words. Yearbook came to his love of photography.
“I took a writing class in college and for the first time it hit me that you could actually teach people how to become better writers,” Jordan said. “I fell in love with writing and the concept of being able to instruct students in the subject. And yearbook was something that fit well into that arena, plus, since no one else wanted to teach it at the time, I looked at it as job security. But I have grown very fond of the course and teaching it.”
Jordan’s own three children were students at Del Campo, in fact, they all were editors on yearbook during their time at the school.
“I had them all in my class and it was an absolute joy,” Jordan says. “They were all editors on yearbook and they really loved it. It was amazing to be able to work with them.”
Other former students of Jordan’s include Joe Derisi, an immunologist and recipient of the 2004 DeRisi MacArthur fellow; CNN host and television personality Lisa Ling; journalist and writer Laura Ling; and KXTV ABC 10 news anchor Cristina Mendonsa.
In addition to technology, says Jordan, what’s also changed at Del Campo is the composition of the district in which he’s spent his career, which, fueled by several cultural shifts that have altered the way teachers and students interact. Those include a spike during the 1970s and 1980s in the divorce and poverty rates, and housing price changes that resulted in Del Campo’s transformation from a neighborhood school to a commuter school.
“This used to be a neighborhood school, all the teachers lived in the attendance area,” said Jordan. “That’s not the case anymore.”
And, with these changes also came new, emotional landscapes for students that teachers, like Jordan, have had to learn to navigate differently and, admittedly, not always as efficiently as they’d prefer.
“Kids have a lot more personal struggles because more of them are not living in stable home environments,” says Jordan. “There have been times, looking back, when I know I could have put the endgame or the ‘assignment’ on the backburner, and paid closer attention to what the personal issues with a student were, spent more time getting to know everything about them I possibly could. I think that’s the aspect of being with high schoolers that I’ll miss the most.”
What has remained constant, says Jordan, is his love for the craft of teaching. By the time the class of 2018 arrives for school in fall, he will have packed up Room 17 and said goodbye to Del Campo. But by no means is he done with teaching, let alone, ready to retire. Jordan says will continue private consulting on yearbook production to fellow educators and students, as he has done in summer for several years previously. In addition, he will take his fifth trip to Zambia, where he’s been involved with the development of a Christian-based school in cooperation with his church back home.
“I am not retiring. I’m just getting ready for the next chapter,” Jordan said. “I can’t imagine not working with students in some capacity, especially high school students. But I guess my legacy from Del Campo, or what I wish to be my legacy, is that none of my students are ever able to say that they didn’t learn something while in my class.”
Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - When Deeann Lynch lost her husband, Rick, of 30 years in 2012, she carried on as best as she knew how with life. But after roughly two years of widowhood, she says, something finally occurred to her that completely rocked her foundation.
“I woke up about two and a half years after my husband passed away, and it hit me that I was really alone,” said Lynch, 66, a retired school teacher with the San Juan Unified District. “I hadn’t really given it a lot of thought before that day. I was just kind of operating on auto pilot. But I realized all of our friends that we had as a couple were nowhere to be found. I took a look at my life and I didn’t really like what I was seeing.”
What Lynch experienced, the delayed impact of losing a spouse but not quite living through the grief and moving forward afterward, is common. Just ask any one of the roughly 345 members of the Widowed Persons Association of California, Sacramento Chapter, where, week after week newcomers, just like Lynch, are greeted and welcomed in by long-standing members with experience to offer on how to feel, grieve, process and get on with reshaping their lives after the death of spouse.
“Common understanding, the trust in others who have been through what you are going through, these are the things that we offer our members,” says Claudia Ezzell, the chapter’s sitting president, who lost her husband in 2006 and, in 2007 started attending the association’s Sunday Support class, which she said “changed everything.”
Trail a finger down the list of commonly identified top causes of stress, isolation and deep depression and you’ll find loss of a spouse right up there at the very top. Widowed Persons provides a safe and convivial space for those experiencing the death of a spouse to recover from grief, release the stress, share their experiences with others, make new friends, stay connected and find redirection. Sometimes, as in Lynch’s case, this begins years after someone loses a spouse. In other cases, it can be a matter of days.
While chapters have come and gone, the Widowed Person’s Association of California, Sacramento, was the first, founded in 1986 by Helen Krough, newly widowed and seeking a network of support.
“She was sitting around staring at the TV for days after she lost her husband,” said Ezzell. “The funny thing is, the TV wasn’t even on and her son pointed it out to her that she was staring at a blank TV. So she decided to put an ad online looking for others who just wanted to get together and share experiences. She was hoping for 10 to 15 people, but 75 people showed up for its first meeting, which was held in the Carmichael Library.”
The Sacramento Chapter has since had as many as 500 members at a time and the list of programs and activities has grown from lunches and coffees to include travel trips, music festivals, dances, theater nights, monthly luncheons, dinners, Sock Hops at the Carmichael Elks Club, Luaus, walking groups, picnics, bridge, pinochle and Mexican train domino game days, bowling and more.
The chapter has a budget of roughly $60,000 and is run completely by a core of roughly 24 volunteers, all of whom have come through the program. There is an annual membership fee of $120.00, which may be split into two payments. The fee for joining after July 1 is $40.00. Fees cover expenses for recruiting speakers, holiday parties, the printing of the monthly newsletter and other administrative costs.
Perhaps the most critical aspect of the chapter’s programming is its Sunday Support group, run by Ginny Baldauf, who joined the chapter when she lost her husband in 2003. Sunday Support, says Baldauf, is the “core of everything the group has to offer. It’s our weekly support group where all of us begin to get back on our feet. I started in Sunday Support. I came on the advice of a friend and I think I cried every Sunday for weeks, but eventually something turned over for me and I realized I had found a new support system and new friends.”
For Lynch, finding the group was also like being tossed a life preserver.
“I was going to a support group in other areas for a while, but I wasn’t getting anything I needed there,” Lynch said. “Then a friend brought me here and it was like for the first time I started to hear other people talking about the kinds of things I was feeling and thinking. I thought I was going crazy, but I realized I wasn’t. I was just needing to make new friends and feel that connection with people who understood me.”
In addition, the chapter offers four, six-week Grief and Recovery workshops each year, which are free to all and set to begin again July 13. Topics, according to workshop coordinator, Chuck Beaver, cover overcoming grief, coping with stress and anxiety, and changing relationships and moving on with your life. The workshops culminate with a potluck event.
Men and women alike come seeking that initial support in dealing with the death of a spouse. For most, the death has come suddenly and there is deep, profound and seemingly unshakable grief. For others, such as caregivers of a spouse suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or other long-term illnesses who have had time to plan for change, the grief comes sneaking up from behind as they experience not just the loss of a loved one, but the loss of their identity as a caretaker.
“Many caregivers experience deep grief because their role as caretaker is now over and they find themselves without a sense of director or purpose, once that role has ended,” Baldauf said.
Because women tend to outlive men, membership is largely comprised of women,” said Ezzell. The average age of the group’s membership is 79 and that’s a concern. With a goal to grow the membership base and increase funding, the group is amidst an effort to attract younger members. The challenge, said Ezzell, is that younger widows and widowers tend to still have careers and the ability to do more socializing to make new friends. Older members come in with fewer connections as they have typically been retired for some years and or their friends are primarily also passed away.
“It’s tough to get younger members in but we need them to grow,” Ezzell said. “Many younger people who lose a spouse still have a place to go every day. They work or they are in school, or raising small children, so they have roles and networks.”
Since joining the chapter, Lynch has begun volunteering in the office and supports Baldauf with Sunday Support. She also said she’s done a few things she’d stopped doing when her husband died, namely, traveling. But perhaps more importantly, she’s made new connections with people and from those connections have come new friendships, a key to recovery.
“I’ve started traveling again, which is something my husband and I did do together,” Lynch said. “But the big thing is that I’ve made new friends here. The people you meet in the Sunday Support group become your friends and you find you are doing things again and are part of this new community. They become like a new family.”
Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - United Way California Capital Region’s Women in Philanthropy group is now United Way’s Women United, joining the global Women United network of more than 70,000 women leaders taking action in their communities. The local Women United action group is a force of 350 local women and supporters making sure local foster youth are prepared for success in college or career.
“The name Women United is a clear call to action for women of all ages and backgrounds to come together for an important cause,” said Stephanie Bray, president and CEO of United Way California Capital Region. “This makes it clear that we need all of women’s gifts, from donations to volunteer time. While our focus will remain the same, we will now be part of a global group of women, all working on their local community’s most pressing issues, most of which are related to children.”
The local Women United action group raises funds for special bank accounts that help foster youth leaving the system save for necessities such as rent, transportation and textbooks. Members and supporters also lead life skills workshops and trainings to help foster youth understand how to manage finances, navigate the college system, prepare for interviews, cook and more, and they participate in volunteer experiences and networking events. To learn more about Women United, become a member or make a donation, visit www.YourLocalUnitedWay.org/WomenUnited.
Women United’s local members and supporters focus on foster youth as part of the Square One Project, United Way California Capital Region’s 20-year promise to significantly increase the number of students who graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond. Through nine decades of work and research across Amador, El Dorado, Sacramento, Placer and Yolo counties, United Way believes ending poverty starts in school and is working to ensure kids meet important milestones to prepare for success in college or career. To make a donation, visit www.YourLocalUnitedWay.org.
Source: Kristin Thébaud Communications
Sacramento, CA (MPG) - The Los Rios Board of Trustees has unanimously approved the appointment of three key leadership positions for the Los Rios Community College District. Whitney Yamamura, 53, was appointed President of Folsom Lake College. Michael Gutierrez, 48, has been named President of Sacramento City College. Dr. Jamey Nye, 43, will serve as the District’s Vice Chancellor of Education and Technology.
“It’s not often that a Board gets to bring three leaders as talented and dynamic as Whitney, Michael and Jamey into our organization at the same time,” said Ruth Scribner, President of the Los Rios Board of Trustees. “While each brings a unique background and diverse set of skills, they all share a passion for higher education and a commitment to doing the hard work necessary to improve the lives of the students we serve.”
Whitney Yamamura has served in the Los Rios District for almost 30 years and, with his appointment, becomes the second Asian American College President in the history of the Los Rios District. Having most recently served as Interim President of Sacramento City College, Whitney has also worked as Vice President of Instruction at Cosumnes River College, the founding Dean of American River College’s Natomas Center as well as American River College’s Dean of Behavioral and Social Sciences. Whitney began his tenure as a member of the American River College faculty, as an adjunct and full-time Professor of Economics.
“It is an honor to have been selected to serve as the President of Folsom Lake College,” said Yamamura. “I am excited to join the talented and hard-working team of faculty and staff as we continue to grow our college and look for new and creative ways to serve students.”
Michael Gutierrez will be the first Latino president in the 100-year history of Sacramento City College. He comes to Sacramento City College from Texas, where he has most recently served as Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success at Eastfield College in the Dallas Community College District. In his 21 years in higher education, the Princeton University graduate has served in a wide array of different areas, including faculty, college administration, research, workforce/economic competitiveness and resource development.
“It is humbling to have the opportunity to serve an academic institution with the storied history and reputation of Sacramento City College,” said Gutierrez. “For a hundred years, Sacramento City College has been a cornerstone of the Sacramento community. As we look ahead, we’ll continue to celebrate the rich fabric of our college and work tirelessly to help our students reach their goals.”
Dr. Jamey Nye will take over as the Vice Chancellor of Education and Technology having spent the past 17 years in Los Rios, most recently serving as Associate Vice Chancellor of Instruction. In this role, Jamey has led Los Rios’ Workforce and Economic Development Center and has helped Los Rios build and support a variety of robust and comprehensive academic programs. Jamey began his career as a faculty member at Cosumnes River College, where he later served as Academic Senate President, Chair of the English Department, Dean of Business and Family Science, and Associate Vice President of Instruction and Student Learning.
“Los Rios is poised to continue to do great things in the coming years, and I’m thrilled to be part of that work,” said Nye. “Our four colleges are among the most forward-thinking institutions of higher education in the State of California, and my goal is to help take our successful innovations to scale to serve even more students.”
The appointment of Yamamura, Gutierrez and Nye provides an incredible opportunity to build on the great things happening at Folsom Lake College, Sacramento City College and throughout the Los Rios District according to Los Rios Community College District Chancellor Brian King.
“Together, these three leaders will have the ability to positively impact the lives of thousands of students in our colleges,” said King. “At a time of unprecedented focus on student success, I look forward to working with Whitney, Michael and Jamey to build on the momentum in our district and look for new ways to innovate and excel. They bring an exciting mixture of experience in our organization as well as fresh ideas for how to improve student outcomes.”
Nye will begin in his role on July 5. Yamamura and Gutierrez are both scheduled to begin on July 24.
Since 2004, Folsom Lake College has provided educational opportunities to the communities of eastern Sacramento and western El Dorado counties. The college serves approximately 8,750 students at the main Folsom campus, El Dorado Center, and Rancho Cordova Center.
Sacramento City College is the oldest community college in the Los Rios District and about 22,500 students are enrolled.