Wells Fargo has come to the rescue of a winter shelter program threatened by a $75,000 funding shortfall, officials said Monday.
The "nomadic shelter" program offers as many as 100 homeless men and women warm places to sleep and evening and morning meals in rotating houses of worship during chilly winter months in the Sacramento area.
But it came up short on donations and was scheduled to run out of money by the end of January or early February, said Christie Holderegger of Volunteers of America, which is operating the program for the second straight year along with Sacramento Steps Forward.
Wells Fargo learned of the shortfall through media coverage and has agreed to plug the funding gap through its foundation, said David Galasso, the bank's regional president for Northern and Central California.
The bank has a history of supporting groups that help the homeless, including the Salvation Army and Loaves & Fishes, Galasso said.
"A couple of us saw the article last week about the nomadic shelter, and we thought it was the perfect opportunity for us to bridge the funding gap," he said. "It's the right thing to do."
Organizers of the effort will get a $75,000 check "as soon as we can print it," Galasso said. The funding should be enough for Volunteers of America staffing, transportation and other necessities through March, said Holderegger.
"Wells Fargo's commitment is another example of our community stepping up to help those in Sacramento who need it the most," Mayor Kevin Johnson said.
The winter sanctuary program is part of a mosaic of services designed to house Sacramento's homeless in the face of steep countywide budget cuts. In addition to the nomadic program, the county this winter kicked in $150,000 and the city $100,000 for motel vouchers and family shelter beds.
Overall, the efforts are providing housing for more than 200 people, officials said. But existing shelters are full virtually every night, leaving some out in the cold, officials said.
Faith communities interested in hosting homeless people and donors wanting to contribute to the program should contact Volunteers of America by phone or visit wintersanctuary.org. The agency also is collecting warm gloves, scarves, socks and hats for homeless adults.