CAP CARES Digital Edition - Page 17

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SHUTTERSTOCK ILLUSTRATION

Helping the Unhoused

Nonprofits provide critical services to aid the homeless population
By Ken Smith
Nonprofits are often the boots on the ground for local governments trying to address the human cost of homelessness while also wrestling with the economic , environmental , quality-of-life and legal issues that come with it .
The most recent Point-in-Time Count , the annual effort to estimate the number of people experiencing homelessness , was done in early 2019 and estimated that over 5,500 people in Sacramento County , 600 in Placer County and 655 in Yolo County are unsheltered on any given night . That count has undoubtedly increased and leaders of local nonprofits are expecting to see new growth in the unsheltered population as pandemic-era rent subsidies , emergency housing programs and eviction moratoriums come to an end .
Through contracts , nonprofits provide a variety of services that local governments either cannot do on their own or can ’ t do as effectively . These providers are also taking the lead in finding innovative ways to help those who experience homelessness chart a new life .
In Placer County , The Gathering Inn has 11 centers for the homeless that serve about 900 men , women and children annually . President and CEO Keith Diederich says the county , cities and local health providers are strong partners in addressing homelessness and are doing a good job with available resources , but they are hamstrung by a lack of affordable housing and a landmark legal case .
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