City Beat

Sacramento City Council approves advocates’ plan to expand homeless outreach, support

Homeless care advocates told the Sacramento City Council on Tuesday that they will expand their outreach and support efforts to assist the city’s chronic homeless and homeless veterans.

Sacramento Steps Forward, a nonprofit that coordinates many of the region’s homeless services, will also launch an assessment plan that will use data to help prioritize which services are needed most and to link homeless individuals with those services. The program will help connect homeless individuals with permanent housing, health care options and other support.

Ryan Loofbourrow, executive director of Sacramento Steps Forward, said the program was “meant to be the backbone” of the city’s services for the most vulnerable homeless individuals.

The City Council voted to approve Sacramento Steps Forward’s plan and to dedicate up to $1 million toward the effort over the next two years. Sacramento Steps Forward will launch its expanded outreach and data collection program in January.

Sacramento Steps Forward will focus much of its effort on the central city, Oak Park and busy mass transit corridors with high homeless populations. Homeless individuals who are contacted by outreach workers and law enforcement officers in those areas will be assessed for which services they need most.

Loofbourrow said advocates would also work with the business community and other agencies on workforce development programs for the homeless. “The ability to get a job is what creates self-sustainability,” he said.

He said he would update the City Council regularly on the program.

Tuesday’s vote by the City Council occurred during the same week that the annual Winter Sanctuary program started. The program shelters about 100 homeless individuals every night in houses of worship during the cold months.

While roughly $200,000 of the money needed to operate the program has been raised, the program is still $100,000 short of providing shelter every night through March. Sacramento Steps Forward is asking local businesses to fill the gap with donations.

Call The Bee’s Ryan Lillis, (916) 321-1085. Read his City Beat blog at www.sacbee.com/city-beat.

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