Capital Region Cares Capital Region Cares 2017-2018 - Page 60

n Success story A Roof of One’s Own SACRAMENTO SELF HELP HOUSING GETS THE HOMELESS INTO HOUSING AND KEEPS VULNERABLE RESIDENTS IN THEIR HOMES p h oto : co u rt e sy o f j o h n fo l e y 60 CAPITAL REGION CARES 2017 | BY Dave Kempa PHOTO: Ken James A s the Capital Region rallies around renewed homelessness talks and discussions on the im- pact of rising rent, one nonprof- it has already worked for the last 17 years at the intersection of homeless- ness and affordable housing. Sacramento Self Help Housing helps get people off the streets and into homes by helping them find the services, in- come and relationships with landlords they need to sign a lease. That could include helping clients with anything from employment programs to housing vouchers and safety net services like welfare, SSI and disability assistance. They also provide interim and perma- nent supportive housing services, and run a “Renters Helpline” for housed but vulnerable Sacramentans looking for guidance. In 2015, the nonprofit served 12,578 clients and worked to house about 3,300 people, of which two-thirds found homes. “In some ways, applying for an apartment is sort of like applying for a job,” says SSHH Executive Director John Foley. “If you don’t have a way to even say hi and explain yourself, or if you do a poor job of filling out an appli- cation, you’re not going to be on the top of a list. And these days if you’re not at the top of the list there’s no point.” One of the first things SSHH does with homeless residents is walk them through what they can expect from the application process. They look at their credit scores, criminal background checks and income streams, then work to overcome the barriers these things pose to hopeful tenants. “It’s a reality check,” says Foley. “For a lot of people