Capital Region Cares Capital Region Cares 2017-2018 - Page 61

who don’t realize how tight the housing market is, it’s kind of extreme.” Sacramento is the fastest-growing rental market in the country, with rent prices rising 11.4 percent last year and vacancy rates plummeting to 2.6 per- cent. Add in the homelessness crisis and sluggish developments on new af- fordable housing, and options become increasingly limited. Still, the team at SSHH, like Home- less Outreach Navigator Lauren Juskelis, are regularly out in the streets, creeks and parks, working — and succeeding — in housing homeless residents. “Some days I’m not in an office at all,” Juskelis says. “I’m driving clients to their meetings, and connecting them with other resources.” She’s had partic- ular luck this winter helping folks find temporary warming shelters. Accord- ing to Foley, the resources people may need before finding housing will vary: Can they update their resumes and find work? Do they qualify for disabili- ty benefits or other streams of income? The organization will cobble together what they can to connect clients with affordable housing. And if they still can’t afford it, clients will look at renting a room instead. While working with Sacramento Steps Forward in their Common Cents program, Foley recalls connecting one vulnerable veteran — a man barely able to function — with the Veteran’s Affairs department after sustained and dedicated contact with him. “There’s no question, he would have died if we hadn’t done that,” Foley says. Sometimes homeless clients will do everything asked of them — work on their credit scores, find jobs, etc. — but at the end of the process there are still no housing options in the region for them. These losses hurt the most, Foley and Juskelis say. But they keep at it, and Foley views the Common Cents program as a possible template for the future once the region sorts out the housing crisis. Until then, SSHH continues to works tirelessly to connect Sacramento’s most vulnerable citizens with the housing they desperately need.” n Dave Kempa is a freelance reporter and adjunct journalism professor at American River College. comstocksmag.com | 2017 CAPITAL REGION CARES 61