Community Comes Together Around Homelessness

Auburn, CA (MPG)  |  Source: Placer Community Foundation
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“We came to The Gathering Inn because it was one of the few shelters that would take in the whole family.” -Amadeus

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Regardless of political stripe or where you live, many Placer County residents cite homelessness as a major concern. Despite the good works of many churches, organizations and individuals addressing this issue, a singular comprehensive solution has not been developed countywide.

Last year PCF collaborated with many partners and held an open forum in Roseville to explore helping individuals who are experiencing homelessness in our county. The forum made clear the need for buy-in among all our communities, to address the causes and not just treat the symptoms. Involving all cities and towns, this work requires committed collaboration of local governments, non-profit service providers, private enterprise and the community as a whole.

Since then the Board of Directors and staff at Placer Community Foundation have participated in several workgroups and site visits with local leaders to learn how others in our state are serving people experiencing homelessness.

Local Nonprofits Working to Help the Homeless

While controversial among neighbors who have concerns about safety and property values, the County of Placer awarded a contract to Volunteers of America, which extends the temporary shelter started by Right Hand Auburn at the Dewitt Center for another year. Additionally, a new nonprofit called Placer Rescue Mission received a conditional use permit to explore the feasibility of developing a campus that would include services for the homeless as well as permanent housing on a ten-acre parcel near the Santucci Justice Center in Roseville.

These projects can take many years to develop and at considerable expense. In the meantime, Placer Community Foundation looked for ways to address our donors’ concerns, interests and care for our homeless population.

$35,000 Matching Grant Supports Critical Services to Our County’s Homeless

While the community considers how best to help those experiencing homelessness, we have collaborated with our generous donors to make a significant $35,000 matching grant to The Gathering Inn; an existing provider that has worked for many years in our community to help people out of homelessness. All gifts were pooled into the Foundation’s Community Needs Fund.

During a site visit, our donors learned how this organization provides homeless women, men and families with resources they need to become active members of our community. The Gathering Inn is attuned to the multitude of needs of their clients and is achieving great impact with the staff and comprehensive programming currently provided. They are changing people’s lives and require significant philanthropic investment.

Grant funds support the operations of the Gathering Inn; allowing for people struggling with homelessness to receive the following and more:

  • Basic needs including food, clothing, toiletries, clean clothing and safe shelter.
  • Access to social and employment services.
  • Case management services; linking them to critical community-based services.
  • Comprehensive on-site dental services.
  • Substance abuse treatment programs.
  • Mental health screening and access to emergency mental health intervention and support.
  • Life skills training to build basic social and behavioral skills necessary for successful living.

With good organizations like The Gathering Inn and caring churches providing many critical services, the countywide discussion of addressing the cause of homelessness in each individual continues. Having all providers working from one connected system and managing outcomes to each individual would be a significant step.

Strengthening our transitional, mental health, and substance abuse services while increasing longer-term affordable housing so that more stable living situations are fostered are key to positive results. This is all central to the remarkable conversation in our county right now. With a true community approach, Placer County can go a long way toward real solutions for homelessness.

We truly thank our donors for taking the time to understand this extremely complicated issue and supporting some of the most vulnerable in our community.