Help Sacramento’s homeless!

Jeff vonKaenel

As our economy struggles to pull itself out of recession, I am grateful to still have a job and a roof over my head. But because of the recent economy, thousands of our neighbors don’t know where they will spend the night. Inside this week’s Sacramento News & Review is an eight-page insert which outlines how those of us with a job and resources can help families who have just found themselves homeless or on the verge of becoming homeless.

We have been presented with a one-time opportunity to help prevent homelessness. For every $1 we raise, we receive $4 in emergency funds from the federal government. Our goal is to raise $400,000 so that we can receive $1.6 million in matching funds. This will allow us to help up to 2,000 eligible families and individuals in Sacramento County.

Here’s how: Sacramento County’s Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program exists to help families and individuals about to lose their homes and those who have just become homeless due to the challenging economy. The strategy is to provide funds to help people stay in their homes, and to get recently displaced families and individuals back into a home. Once these people are off the streets and out of the shelters, it will be easier to help them overcome the other challenges they are facing. The Salvation Army, Lutheran Social Services of Northern California and Volunteers of America will implement this project. The highly regarded Sacramento Region Community Foundation will administer the funds.

To accomplish these goals, we need to raise money. This is where another great local organization, Sacramento Steps Forward, is taking a leadership role. This coalition of individuals, businesses, faith-based organizations, foundations and nonprofits is committed to ending homelessness in Sacramento. Sacramento Steps Forward member, Capital Christian Center Pastor Rick Cole, came up with the idea of passing the contribution plate throughout Sacramento’s religious community. A simple idea, really. If those of us who are able can donate the amount of one day’s rent or mortgage, we could make a huge difference in the lives of up to 2,000 Sacramento families and individuals.

So now I’m asking you: Please read the insert in this week’s paper. It explains how all of us working together can help improve the living conditions of those who’ve fallen upon hard times. Can you donate the amount of one day’s rent or mortgage to help prevent homelessness in Sacramento?

Remember, for every dollar you contribute, the federal government will match it with $4. We may not permanently solve the crisis of homelessness this week, or even this year, but it’s one heck of a start.

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About the Author

Jeff vonKaenel
Jeff vonKaenel is the president, CEO and majority owner of the News & Review newspapers in Sacramento, Chico and Reno.