City Beat

Wanted: A vehicle, for shelter

Made up of light emitting diodes, the cool blue glow spreads across the uppermost part of the 1930s-era Alhambra water tower and depicts a scene of the Sacramento and American Rivers flowing into the city.
Made up of light emitting diodes, the cool blue glow spreads across the uppermost part of the 1930s-era Alhambra water tower and depicts a scene of the Sacramento and American Rivers flowing into the city. Sacramento Bee Staff Photo

The entirety of Janice Moore’s small world can be seen from where she sits under a freeway.

There’s a Round Table Pizza across the street; the workers there sometimes bring Moore food. A block away is a Bank of America branch, where on rainy nights Moore huddles under an awning. And there’s her lawn chair, nestled in front of a cart packed with everything on this planet that Moore owns.

She’s probably there right now, dressed in her flannel shirt, her two dogs by her side.

Yet even in a life without much human interaction, Moore barely remembers the woman who stopped to talk with her a few weeks ago. But something about Moore stuck with that woman and led her to start an unusual charity drive for a face on the street that the rest of us might ignore.

That woman, who wants to remain anonymous, contacted a friend named Claudia Romero because Romero has a computer and knows how to use it.

Romero’s mission: finding someone willing to donate a car that could serve as shelter to Moore, her two dogs and her cat. Romero’s email campaign has found its way to animal rescue groups and into neighborhood chat rooms like Nextdoor.com. So far, Romero’s effort has collected dog and cat food. No one has offered money or a car.

Like most people in her situation, Moore said she wants to be inside. But she said shelters and landlords won’t take her because of her pets. They’re the only family Moore knows, and she’s not giving them up. Moore said she has children but doesn’t know where they are. She is 69 years old, and it isn’t entirely clear how she ended up on the streets.

Moore said she collects $960 a month in Social Security benefits. A lot of it goes to feed her animals. She had an apartment six years ago in south Sacramento, but said she left after it was broken into multiple times in just a few months.

Now she’s part of a close-knit group of homeless men and women who live near Alhambra Boulevard in East Sacramento. The area has long attracted homeless wanderers, but their numbers seem to be growing.

“There’s always someone here, in case I’m attacked,” Moore said.

The dogs help with that. Sweetie, the bigger of the two, flashes her teeth at anyone who gets too close to Moore. Honey is the smaller dog. They wear matching green sweatshirts donated by a stranger.

Romero, an animal lover, thinks a car is Moore’s best shot at shelter. Moore agrees. “At least with a car you have a roof and a heater,” she said. Still, no one is quite sure how Moore would pay the insurance or registration for a vehicle.

“All I wanted to do was put the word out there and who knows?” Romero said.

If you have an idea or want to help Moore, send me an email at the address below.

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

  Comments