Homeless Housing Agency Misses Stolen Van

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NORTH HIGHLANDS --

A Sacramento housing agency that transitions homeless families to more permanent housing says its struggling to keep some operations going during the holidays.

Last week, someone stole one of Cottage Housing's two vans, which are used to transport those living in its two housing facilities in the area. The vans are also used to collect donations of furniture and clothing.

"They come in off the street or out of the shelter so they have no couches, they have no beds, they have hardly any clothing," said Lorena Cohen, who supervises volunteers and donations at Serna Village, which houses 83 formerly homeless families.

Cohen said she doesn't know how she's going to make pick-ups for a coat drive that concludes this week.

The van, which had a trailer attached, was also used for field trips for children at Serna Village. Rachel Schanklin says donation pick-ups included toys for the children.

"It's Christmas time, we were depending on donations for Christmas for our children, so hopefully it gets returned to us," Schanklin said.

The workhorse van was also used by a small detailing business that was a training ground for homeless participants like Taligha Clough. She's now out of a job.

"It teaches us how to be responsible, and use what we learned...to get other jobs," Clough said.

Clough was also counting on work this time of year to help get gifts for her family.

"Now I don't see that happening," Clough said.

Cottage Housing staffers hope someone might know where the 2004 E-350 Econo van is. It's license plate number is 5RTY960.