Sacramento has an array of housing and service programs that are designed to help people who are experiencing homelessness. Unfortunately, the resources available cannot match the rising tide of people in need and therefore we do not have enough housing and resources for everyone. As such, ending a cycle of homelessness may require a person to pursue multiple avenues for housing simultaneously and not count on one single resource.
At its core, a person becomes homeless when they lose connection with their social network and support structure, otherwise known as family and friends. This may happen quickly or over time, but when it occurs a person finds themselves living in a shelter or worse, on the street. If a person can safely reconnect to a healthy support structure, that is often the best solution to ending a person’s state of homelessness. If reconnection is not possible or may put a person’s health or safety at risk, other options should be considered.
2-1-1 Sacramento provides free, confidential information and referral service that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 2-1-1 can refer clients to more than 1,600 community services in the Sacramento area, including employment and training, housing information, financial assistance, children’s services, senior services, food programs, healthcare services, and more. To access 2-1-1 Sacramento, use a telephone to dial 211 or visit them on the web at www.211sacramento.org. If you are hearing impaired, please call 7-1-1 and ask to be connected to 2-1-1
This guide is a self-advocacy tool for people experiencing homelessness and low-income people. The People’s Guide is designed to give them tools to play an active role in making a difference in their own lives. The Guide provides information about health care, housing, food, income, legal advice and employment from local, state and federal programs and community services in Sacramento County. The People’s Guide can be found online here.
Families experiencing homelessness can self-register for County of Sacramento emergency shelter services by visiting the County of Sacramento’s family shelter reservation website and answering a few questions. The registration website can be accessed through a personal device, or at one of the county’s Department of Human Assistance resource centers, located around the county. Families will be prioritized for shelter based on vulnerabilities, including the experience of literal homelessness, and shelter vacancy. No family will be denied shelter services due to household configuration, eligibility for aid, employment or criminal history (with the exception of registered sex offenders). Additional details are provided on the county website.
On behalf of the Sacramento Homeless Continuum of Care (CoC), Sacramento Steps Forward manages federally funded housing and services for people who are experiencing chronic homelessness and considered to be the most vulnerable. While life-saving for thousands of people who have been housed by this program, there are precious few new units available each year and not nearly enough beds to meet the needs of people who are without a home. As such, CoC funded beds should be considered, but not counted on for housing, while you seek alternative options.
CoC housing programs use a housing first model in which people seeking housing are not refused access based on mental health, disability status, substance abuse challenges, lack of income, or other impediment to accessing and maintaining permanent housing. Housing programs include Permanent Supportive Housing, Rapid ReHousing, and Transitional Housing.
Referrals to CoC programs are made through the Coordinated Entry System. The Coordinated Entry system is designed to evaluate a person’s vulnerability and length of time homeless compared to other people in the community and refer people into housing who best meet criteria for each housing program. It is not a traditional “waiting list.” For more information please call (916) 577-9770.
This type of housing is intended to serve our most vulnerable, chronically homeless residents. As the name suggests, individuals and families that need long-term supportive care, such as mental health services and intensive healthcare and other aids to maintain housing, are placed in this housing type.
Transitional housing is longer-term, but not permanent, housing available to individuals and families. However, federal regulations are gradually steering communities away from providing transitional housing except for specific populations, such as transition age youth and those escaping a domestic violence situation. For this reason, Sacramento and other continuums around the United States are reducing the amount of transitional housing offered, often replacing it with rapid rehousing.
This intervention is newer to the Sacramento CoC. Intended to assist individuals and families who need fewer supportive services and rental support, rapid re-housing often takes the form of short-term rental assistance and services such as employment and training programs to ensure that families and individuals can sustain their housing after the rental assistance and services are completed. This is a more cost-effective approach to helping many individuals and families regain and maintain housing.
Emergency shelters offer overnight stays for individuals seeking shelter and assistance. While Sacramento County provides the funding for most family shelter programs within the community, other programs for individuals are also offered by agencies such as the Salvation Army. Shelters are intended to provide emergency housing.