The Homeless

Sacramento gets $1.6 million from Dignity Health to fund homeless shelter, initiatives

Dignity Health Sacramento announced Friday it will contribute $1.65 million to the city’s homeless initiative.

The health system said $1.2 million will allow the triage shelter on Railroad Drive to stay open an additional three months until November, an extension The Sacramento Bee reported earlier this week.

The 200-bed shelter provides meals and showers as well as services which help homeless people find permanent housing.

Previous plans by the city to house homeless people in giant tent structures have been tabled after the city failed this summer to find an acceptable location.

While the city continues to search for a location, the triage shelter will remain open.

Laurie Harting, senior vice president of operations for Dignity Health’s greater Sacramento region, said the shelter has been successful in housing a portion of Sacramento’s homeless population, especially in extremely warm and cool months.

The money will allow the shelter to reinstall heating units, according to a Dignity Health press release. It will also cover costs for the Downtown Streets Team, a crew of homeless men and women who clean streets in exchange for gift cards and help in securing housing and finding jobs.

An additional $450,000 from the health system will be used at a later time. Dignity Health officials are working with Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg to decide how the money would best be used.

“We are very involved in our community,” Harting said. “We take very seriously the care of the poor and disenfranchised.”

Dignity Health is also a partner in the city’s Whole Person Care program, which aims to house 2,000 homeless people by 2020.

The health system serves as the program’s “pilot hospital,” referring homeless individuals into the program while providing intensive social and placement services. Care coordinators and social workers are available to ensure these individuals continue receiving the care and services they need once they reenter the community.

“Dignity Health’s generous contribution of $1.65 million will give hundreds of homeless people a chance to come indoors and to stabilize their lives,” Steinberg said in the release.

Harting said Dignity Health’s various partnerships are an “ongoing investment.”

The health system has long been involved in a number charitable efforts and collaborations. Dignity Health Sacramento has supported Loaves & Fishes and Lutheran Social Services, which provides support services and housing for homeless individuals, as well as other organizations helping them find permanent housing.