Local Homeless Program Honors Graduates

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SACRAMENTO --

Some of the City's homeless were honored Thursday evening at a special dinner and graduation ceremony.

St. John's Program For Real Change has been helping the homeless now for the past 30 years.

"The moms who come to St. John's, most of them have drug and alcohol addictions, mental health issues, domestic violence issues," explained St. John's CEO Michelle Steeb.

They are known as the 'invisible' homeless, not the homeless normally seen in parks or on freeway exits.  Instead, the homeless mothers and children are growing in population.

Over the past 2 years the number of homeless families has risen across the country by an alarming 35%, making single moms the largest part of the homeless population.

"What we do at St. John's is help to stabilize them, educate them, and then move them into employment training," said Steeb.

Arnia Rodgers is one of the moms who graduated from the program, and she knows first-hand that it takes a big effort to turn your life around.

"It takes a lot to say 'I'm gonna get up with my kids and go live at a place with a bunch of other women who are going through the same thing I am, if not worse.'"

All the moms who graduated took anywhere from 8-12 months to complete the program at St. John's. They did it to take back their life, and their life with their children.

"Everyone wakes up at 6 a.m. with us. They do chores, they get their kids ready, then they go to class, or employment training," said Steeb.

"I have structure now," noted Rodgers.  "Everything is different in my life, in my kids life. I have a clean home and I have my life back."

For more information about the program, visit the official website.