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SHRA April News Alert

changing lives

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SHRA April News Alert

Welcome to SHRA's e-newsletter. Here you will find the latest information about the work we're doing and how we're changing lives.

Stories this month:

  • SHRA program changing lives for disconnected youth
  • Promise Zone partners announce collaborative funding commitment to accelerate revitilization in Sacramento's underserved communities
  • SHRA awarded $10 million in mortgage credit certificates to assist first time homebuyers
  • Agency highlights National Community Development Week
  • Success story - Public Housing Program opens door to homeownership
When you meet Lorraine Cervantes, you immediately notice the warmth and positivity that radiates from her and realize that she is on a path to success. Now that Lorraine is housed through SHRA’s P3 Program (Performance Partnership Pilots for Disconnected Youth), she is ready to take on the next phase of her life to achieve her goals.
Lorraine has had to overcome many challenges in her life. She grew up in foster care during her teen years and experienced constant instability in her living environment. “Being in foster care made me feel like all I wanted was to be accepted somewhere.” She became emancipated at 16 and later re-entered foster care to go back to school. But once she turned 18, Lorraine was asked to leave her foster home and has since been living on her own.   
SHRA began administering the P3 program in 2018 to assist homeless youth aged 18-24 and youth at risk of homelessness by removing federal or programmatic barriers so they can achieve employment and/or educational goals to become self-sufficient.  Three partner agencies serving Sacramento are unique among P3 awardees in committing themselves to addressing the issue of homelessness while simultaneously working with the youth to achieve the other program-specific goals (education and employment). SHRA allocated up to 100 housing choice vouchers to house the homeless youth served by P3 with resources provided by partner agencies that serve 1) parenting youth, 2) primarily single homeless youth, and 3) youth transitioning out of foster care. Sacramento’s P3 program utilizes a “housing first” model while the youth receive casework support with their education and employment goals.
Before Lorraine entered the P3 program and received a housing voucher, she was struggling to find a place to stay. “I was going through a lot of hardships. Everybody was shutting the door on me. Even when I was as young as six years old, nobody wanted me to stay at their house. Having a bed to go home to every night is all I ever wanted.”
While transitioning into the P3 program, Lorraine stayed at the shelter operated by Wind Youth Services which gave her a foundation that allowed her to work on her career and educational goals. She currently works as a security guard but it’s always been her dream to work at a hospital in the nursing field. SHRA has issued 56 vouchers and housed 30 youths who remain stably housed. “Having my own place to stay has been amazing. It’s very peaceful and nice to go home and not worry about any stress. It is a place where there is no drama and I really love living here.”
SMUD, along with Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, UC Davis Health, Blue Shield of California, and the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce have partnered with five other Sacramento organizations on a long-term effort to revitalize Sacramento’s Promise Zone ‑‑ an area that encompasses 22 square miles of the economically hardest-hit neighborhoods in Sacramento ‑‑ from Del Paso Heights in the North Area to The Avenues in the South Area.
Together, these partners have pledged a minimum of $750,000 towards economic and workforce initiatives that will be implemented over the next three years within the Promise Zone.  Activities in the target area will exceed today’s pledged amount by leveraging partnerships within the community.
The Promise Zone Partnership will be anchored by several key initiatives and projects. SMUD’s Sustainable Communities Initiative will focus on improving economic, social, and environmental condition through multiple energy savings and electric vehicle installation projects in the Promise Zone. The UC Davis’ Aggie Square Project is in the center of the Promise Zone and will work to embed education, workforce training and inclusive community spaces including shared workspace, and active recruitment of community members for job opportunities. Additionally, the National Society of Black Engineers Junior Programs will provide students from underrepresented groups with access to high-level STEM curriculum to enhance diversity and inclusion in engineering and medicine. The Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce and Blue Shield of California are collaborating on a health and wellness training program. 
The Promise Zone Collaborative includes SMUD, UC Davis Health, Blue Shield of California, Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce, SAFE Credit Union, Roberts Family Development Center, Greater Sacramento Urban League, United Way and Sacramento Area Council of Governments.  The group’s mission is to coordinate resources, build capacity, and creates public-private partnerships through shared goals to drive revitalization in Sacramento’s most underserved communities.  This collaborative partnership builds on the work established in 2015 when Sacramento received the Promise Zone federal designation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  The Promise Zone cross sector initiative has grown from 30 partners to partnerships with over 150 corporate, non-profit, governmental and local organizations.  Focus areas include education, job training and placement, heath care and nutrition, economic development and sustainable community development.  To date, Promise Zone partners have been awarded or leveraged $140 million in local, state and federal funds. For more information on the Sacramento Promise Zone, visit www.sacramentopromisezone.org.

Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency (shra.org) has been awarded a $10 million grant from the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee to help eligible families afford to buy their first home. SHRA administers the Mortgage Credit Certificate program which provides a tax credit to eligible homebuyers to reduce the amount of federal income tax the homebuyer pays, enabling them to more easily afford to purchase a home. SHRA is the only entity to administer the program for Sacramento County. The tax credit can be applied to home purchases within the County of Sacramento and the cities of Sacramento, Elk Grove, Folsom, Isleton, Galt, Citrus Heights, Rancho Cordova. The Agency’s MCC allocation will be able to assist 48 eligible families in buying their first home. Learn more about the MCC program at www.shra.org/homebuyer-resources.
SHRA joined the campaign to celebrate National Community Development Week April 22-26, 2019. Created in 1986, the campaign’s efforts are intended to educate the community and Congressional Members on the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Home Investment Partnerships (HOME) Programs, their impact on the community, and the need for increased program funding. National Community Development Week brings national attention to the CDBG Program at a time when the program was facing scrutiny by Congress and has expanded to include the HOME Program. The celebration is intentionally held during the Congressional appropriations season to allow for a concerted grassroots effort and voice to be heard on the importance of both programs and their impact on communities nationwide. With continued pressures to reduce federal funding, it is imperative that all communities that receive these resources participate in National Community Development Week. The campaign also shines a spotlight on the local impact of the CDBG and HOME programs so that Congressional representatives are aware of the successes of the programs and their value to local communities.
Juanita Luna had a plan to someday make a better life for herself and her two young children. Someday came sooner than she planned but with help from the Sacramento Housing Authority's Resident Trainee Program, she recently purchased a home for her family and no longer needs public assistance. Juanita had been couch surfing for almost a year until she was pulled from the Public Housing wait list. "I got leased up in February 2008 and it was a big help because I was homeless with a child."

In 2013, she enrolled in the Resident Trainee Program to learn clerical skills but left in the first year to have another child. She was excited to learn that she was eligible to return to the program and was able to graduate in 2018. The training led to employment with the Housing Authority as a Program Technician. "Honestly, I don't know where I would be if I wasn't able to get rental assistance in the housing program and have a safe place for me and my children." Juanita also took advantage of many training courses and other opportunities that were offered by the Resident Services Program. She says the program benefited her by providing valuable services including child care. "Having those resources for child care right there in my community made it possible for me to work and go to school and overall it has benefited me a lot. I gained so much knowledge and was able to develop a good working history, build up my credit, and most important, I was able to save money to purchase a home." Juanita wanted to save for another year but she realized the time was right for her to take that big leap of faith. Leaving the rental assistance program means she makes room for another deserving family to receive a housing opportunity.

Now that she's a homeowner, Juanita hopes her story about living in public housing will inspire others to make a plan to reach their goals. "The road was not always easy, especially when you're trying to save money while providing for a family and at the same time trying to reduce dependency on public assistance like food stamps and cash aid. It's really hard but if I can do it, I believe that others can be successful, too." Juanita also hopes her children will see why she made such a big sacrifice to become self-sufficient. "Although they’re very young now, I hope when they get older they'll realize that what I've done has put us in a better situation and that I did what's best for us."
Residents in the Sacramento public housing program can pay their rent online using any device with Internet access and check the status of payments and review payment history. Making payments online provides another convenient way for residents and applicants to connect with the Housing Authority in addition to applying for housing and updating status changes using mobile devices. To get started, go to www.shra.org and click the Pay Your Rent button.
For those looking to find resources such as rent assistance, help with utility bills, eviction prevention and other needs, a variety of resources are available to residents in Sacramento County. Click here to find a list of agencies and programs available to families who need help.
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"We revitalize communities, provide affordable housing, and change lives
for the better."

-La Shelle Dozier, Executive Director

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Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency

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801 12th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814