Homelessness and Housing
St. Marks has adopted homelessness as its main focus. It advocates for affordable clean and safe housing and just mortgage and rental practices and provides temporary or permanent housing and material aid (water and sanitation facilities) for local, national and global communities in need. It supports the work of the following programs to achieve adequate housing for all, as well as other organizations and initiatives combating homelessness.
Family Promise of Sacramento and Family Promise/Interfaith Hospitality Network –Family Promise of Sacramento is a nonprofit program designed specifically for homeless families that helps them achieve self-sufficiency and regain a home for themselves and their children. Shelter for the families is provided through a unique, innovative method by utilizing an interfaith hospitality network of 16 churches and hundreds of volunteers throughout the Sacramento region. St. Marks contact is Joyce Estes, (916) 481-0418
St. Marks Winter Shelter Program
A program to provide temporary shelter for Sacramento’s homeless persons during cold winter months. St. Marks, in collaboration with Volunteers of America (VOA) and Sacramento Steps Forward, provides sleeping accommodations, meals, clothing, foot massages, fellowship and other services to 100 persons for one to two weeks per Winter season. Contact: Barry White, and Simon Vu.
St. Marks Community Breakfast
Held on the last Saturday of the month at 10 am in Grace Café, the breakfast provides food and fellowship for the local Arcade-Arcade-Carmichael community. Basic health screening and flu shots are also provided on some Saturdays by our Parish Nurse, Pam Taylor. Coordinator: Cynthia Suzuki.
St. Marks Food Basket
Provides non-perishable food for local families and individuals on an as needed basis. Refers persons to other local food banks. Provides turkeys with food baskets during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Contact: Doris Olson.
Faith and Homeless Families Initiative
Helps families permanently escape homelessness by providing limited, short-term rent assistance, builds partnerships between homeless family service providers and congregations to develop housing resources and supportive services, and recruits volunteers from the faith community to help homeless families by providing support and encouragement as well as financial management and goal setting advice. Goal is to have all faiths participate to train and mentor one homeless family for 6 months and to engage 50 congregations per year. Executive Director: Nora Benavides.
United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UM-VIM)
Provides mission opportunities in construction/reconstruction, disaster relief, medical, connectional and educational venues that will enable the persons volunteering to do mission service, and, the persons to whom they are in covenant relationships with, to progress along their faith journey, with simplicity, authenticity, and relevancy. We are in service locally within this Conference, through the rest of the United States and internationally through out the world.
St. Marks Haiti UM-Volunteers in Mission Teams
St. Marks has sent one team of seven disciples to Haiti (October, 2011) to engage in earthquake restoration work and Bill Borah, a license contractor, is assigned to work long-term in Haiti, coordinating the reconstruction and development of UMC schools, churches and residences. St. Marks local contact: Joel Bulaya.
United Methodist Committee on Relief (U.M.C.O.R.)
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is the not-for-profit global humanitarian aid organization of the United Methodist Church. UMCOR is working in more than 80 countries worldwide, including the United States. Our mission, grounded in the teachings of Jesus, is to alleviate human suffering—whether caused by war, conflict or natural disaster, with open hearts and minds to all people. UMCOR responds to natural or civil disasters that are interruptions of such magnitude that they overwhelm a community’s ability to recover on its own.
Habitat for Humanity International and Sacramento Habitat for Humanity
A nonprofit, ecumenical Christian organization dedicated to eliminating substandard housing and homelessness worldwide and to making adequate, affordable shelter a matter of conscience and action. Our ministry was founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a simple, decent place to live in dignity and safety. St. Marks UMC has participated in the building of several houses locally and St. Marks members have traveled to a number of countries on Global Village work teams to build Habitat homes. Contact: Miriam McCormack, (916) 451-5709.
Cottage Housing /Quinn Cottages/Serna Village
Creates healing communities that are solution-focused, participant driven and strength-based where homeless people help themselves and each other, to transition from the streets to self-sustainability. Contact: Sally S. Weinland, (916) 483-1548.
Sacramento Housing Alliance
The Sacramento Housing Alliance (SHA) promotes quality affordable and accessible housing and enhanced opportunities for lower income households and homeless individuals. Since 1989, SHA has been at the forefront of the effort to create more affordable housing opportunities for people throughout the Greater Sacramento Region through advocacy and education.
Loaves and Fishes
Without passing judgment, and in a spirit of love and hospitality, Loaves & Fishes feeds the hungry and shelters the homeless. It provides an oasis of welcome, safety, and cleanliness for homeless men, women and children seeking survival services. Founded in 1983, it is governed by a board of directors selected from Loaves & Fishes and from the community-at-large – people who have demonstrated compassion and concern about the needs of the homeless and the indigent poor. It recognizes the dignity and spiritual destiny of each person, and hope by our attitude of hospitality and love, to nourish not only the physical needs of those who come to Loaves & Fishes, but also their spiritual need for love, acceptance, respect, and friendship. It serves each person with the belief that “as often as you did it for one of my least brothers and sisters, you did it for me.” (Matthew 25:40). St. Marks contributes material goods and money and provides volunteers, including a team that prepares a meal for 400 homeless persons the last Saturday of each month. Contacts: Ann Parsons, (916) 488-3345.
Francis House Center of Sacramento
Francis House Center is a soulful place that provides assistance, mentoring and resources for Sacramento’s homeless community. For more than 40 years, Francis House has served as a beacon of light and hope to the most vulnerable among us. It is a place where people are treated with dignity as they arrive seeking help for some of the most basic needs. Each person receives individual attention as they meet with one of our many volunteers. “This is a place that treats me like a real person,” is a comment we hear often. Francis House Center offers a number of services, some of which are not provided anywhere else in the Sacramento region. For example, it is the only place which offers vouchers for California I.D.s, birth certificates, and California driver’s licenses. Without identification it is virtually impossible to obtain a job, cash a check, or rent an apartment. The Job Development Center, with computers, job announcements, capable mentors and compassionate counselors is filled to capacity every day. For many of their homeless guests, the JDC is a lifeline to opportunities otherwise unavailable to them. The Fast Track program supports the newly employed with transportation vouchers ensuring their ability to get to and from work for the first two weeks. These vouchers are a simple offering, but can make all the difference in one’s ability to keep a job once they get it. St. Marks supports Francis House with money, material goods and volunteers. Executive Director: Faith Whitmore, (916) 443-2646.
Sacramento Steps Forward
Works to provide permanent housing for all homeless persons in the Sacramento area, including transitional housing. Sacramento Steps Forward is now incorporated in the State of California and has received 501(C)3 tax exempt status from the IRS as a non-profit organization. Over the next year Sacramento Steps Forward is building its capacity to take over the $15 million in federal Homeless Continuum of Care grants and other homeless contracts from Sacramento County. The Continuum of Care is responsible for housing over 3,200 men, women and children each night in shelters, transitional housing and permanent housing. We will continue to update the community as needed. Program Coordinator: Shannon Stevens.
Safe Ground Sacramento
Works with local political and economic bodies to create and maintain safe, clean temporary housing for Sacramento’s homeless persons. Paula Lomazzi, Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee, (916) 442-2156.
To learn more about homelessness and housing ministries, contact John McCormack, Chair, (916) 451-5709.