Hope for Homeless in Sacramento?

At 6:00 pm on January 31st, 2017, the Sacramento City Council and County Board of Supervisors met in a joint meeting in downtown Sacramento. This was the first time that these two groups had come together in over 20 years; the issue that finally brought them together: homelessness. Over 400 concerned citizens attended the meeting, approximately 100 of which hoping to speak directly to our representatives, hoping to suggest solutions to this massive problem.

This should come as a shock to no one. Homelessness has become (or does it simply continue to be?) a prominent issue in the Sacramento region. Individuals speaking on behalf of different interests– businesses, activists, landlords, nonprofits, builders, health professionals– implore our city and county officials to do something about it.

People are dying, children are sleeping outside. The time to do something is now.

After last week’s joint meeting–and for weeks, months, and years prior–The Sacramento Bee published many important articles on homelessness in Sacramento.

The following articles are taken from The Sacramento Bee throughout the last week, and highly worth reading. They are a snapshot, a point in time picture of what homelessness is right now, and how we are addressing the issue as a government and a people.

Hopefully we can look back on these articles in the future, and celebrate how far we’ve come and the solutions we have created. For now, here we are:

“Let Sacramento’s homeless sleep in Peace” Dave Kempa


“Is there hope again to find a way off Sacramento’s Streets?” Erika Smith


“Overcoming the dysfunction on homelessness” Erika Smith


“Sacramento city and county take first steps toward giving housing to homeless” Anita Chabria and Ellen Garrison


“Sacramento moves ahead on public housing for homeless, but county wants more time” Anita Chabria and Ellen Garrison


Mustard Seed School

Each month, thousands of students throughout the Sacramento region experience homelessness. Mustard Seed School, a program of Loaves & Fishes, is a free private school for children ages 3-15 years-old who are currently homeless.

Mustard Seed School provides a safe space for children while their parents access other services on the Loaves & Fishes campus. These services include: breakfast and lunch meals, mental health services, housing information, showers, and various other survival services.

Mustard Seed School also provides students with snacks, lunches, school supplies, and anything else they may need during the school day.

Friendship Park Grand Opening

On January 6, 2017, at 10am, the new Friendship Park opens at Loaves & Fishes. Friendship Park is a state of the art park designed specifically for homeless people to feel welcome and safe. After years of planning, community feedback, and construction we’re ready to open a new Friendship Park especially designed for the much larger number of men and women experiencing homelessness in Sacramento.

You’re invited to help usher in our newly relocated Friendship Park at Loaves & Fishes. The ceremony will feature a triumphant entrance through the park gates, an interfaith blessing, and a ribbon cutting. Enjoy the open house and refreshments immediately following. More info at http://sacloaves.org/friendship-park/grand-opening

Photographs Courtesy of Gale Filter

Christmas Brunch at Maryhouse

Every Christmas season, Loaves & Fishes hosts activities to celebrate our guests, many of whom have nowhere to go for the holidays. We believe that everyone deserves to celebrate during this time, and do our best to help make the holiday season a bit brighter for our guests.

With the help of generous individuals and groups, Loaves & Fishes is able to provide toys, Christmas, stockings, warm clothing, and hot meals to those who would otherwise go without this Christmas.

A very special event that we hold each year at Loaves & Fishes is our Maryhouse Christmas Brunch. During brunch, we are able to honor the women and families who visit Maryhouse, our daytime shelter for women and children. This year, volunteers and staff served a delicious hot meal to guests, and photographers from the community volunteered to take photographs of women and families. Our guests were then given photographs to keep, or share with loved ones.

Below is a gallery of photographs from this year’s Christmas Brunch. Special thanks to Gale Filter, Theodore Goodwin, and Doug Winter for volunteering their time and talent to Loaves & Fishes and our guests!

Breakfast in Friendship Park

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In Friendship Park at Loaves & Fishes, we strive to provide nutritious breakfasts to our homeless guests.

However, Loaves & Fishes cannot do this alone. Thanks to many generous groups throughout Sacramento, the Loaves & Fishes Breakfast Program is able to serve hearty, healthy lunches to the most vulnerable in our community.

This week, a group from PG&E came to Friendship Park to serve bananas, hard-boiled eggs, oatmeal, granola bars, and warm beverages to our guests.

To learn more about the Loaves & Fishes Breakfast Program, including how you can help, visit www.sacloaves.org/breakfast.

Welcome to Anneke’s Haven

Anneke’s Haven, a program of Loaves & Fishes, is a daytime kennel for homeless pets. While their pets are in the kennel, guests can access important services such as a hot meal, a shower, and mental health services, knowing their pets are safe and well-fed.

For many experiencing homelessness, pets are their only companions. They are family. Pets provide companionship, safety, and the unconditional love that we all crave.

To help support homeless pets, make a donation at www.sacloaves.org/donate, or bring pet food directly to Loaves & Fishes at 1351 North C Street.

To read more about Anneke’s Haven and the importance of pets to many of those who are homeless, check out this article from the Sacramento News & Review:


Children sleeping outside: we need shelter.

Call your supervisors today. Tell them that no child should sleep outside.

District 1: Phil Serna: (916) 874-5485

District 2: Patrick Kennedy: (916) 874-5481

District 3: Susan Peters: (916) 874-5471

District 4: Roberta MacGlashan: (916) 874-5491

District 5: Don Nottoli: (916) 874-5465

Mustard Seed School at Loaves & Fishes is an emergency school for homeless children ranging in age from preschool through eighth grade. Some of its students are lucky enough to be staying in emergency shelters but others have been turned away for lack of space. Last week 26 of the 60 children attending Mustard Seed were camping outside or staying in cars with their families. Maryhouse, Loaves & Fishes daytime resource center for homeless women and families, also reports mothers with infants and toddlers are unable to find safe shelter.  Homelessness is devastating to families, especially the children. Can Sacramento County not provide even the bare minimum of shelter for them?

Mustard Seed Director Casey Knittel states, “This is the first time I’ve seen so many children in cars. It’s heartbreaking to see them leave us at the end of the day not knowing if they’ll find a safe place to stay that night.”

“Look, he’s trying to feed the baby.”

The moment that I walk into Maryhouse, I can tell that it’s been a lively morning. Not that it I’m surprised; there is never a dull morning at Maryhouse.

Both lobbies– downstairs and upstairs–are full of women, some waiting for showers, some waiting to talk to a Maryhouse staff member, and others simply relaxing, enjoying a safe space to pause and rest in the morning.

As I stand at the counter I notice Evelyn* with her two-year old son Dee* standing around the corner. Dee has a bottle tilted up to his mouth, spilling most of its contents down the front of his shirt. “We’re working on that,” she laughs, and reaches onto the counter to grab him a cup instead. “He’s better with cups,” she says.

As we continue talking, another woman walks into the lobby, pulling her children in a two-seated red wagon.

“Baby, ” Dee points.

Evelyn laughs “He thinks he’s a lot bigger than he is. Kids can be the same age or older than him, and he’ll point and say ‘baby’. I thought he was going to be jealous when his little brother came around, but no way. He loves babies. He loves taking care of them.”

As she was telling me this, Dee ran straight over to the wagon and climbed right in the middle of the other little boys. He made himself right at home in that wagon, and the other little boys didn’t seem to mind another addition to their vehicle.

“Look, he’s trying to feed the baby,” Evelyn said as Dee held his cup up to the other boy’s mouth.

It was an adorable sight, and I can only hope that each of these boys has a safe place to call home for the night…


*Names changed

“I had been driving trucks for years…”

“I started smoking cigarettes when I was eight. I was the fourth of six kids, and my older brother and his friends loved daring me to do stuff. ‘Take a drag, take a drink, take a puff.’ So I started real young. It’s really too bad… I’m in my 50’s now, and my heart can’t really take it anymore.

“I had been driving trucks for years, until I got this last heart attack. It was a good job–lonely sometimes, but it paid the bills. Ever since my last attack, I can’t do it anymore. It’s too dangerous. I’m looking for something else but, for now, I’m back out here.”

–John at Friendship Park, Loaves & Fishes