Salvation Army Center of Hope Afraid of Losing Funding

SACRAMENTO -- After a lifetime of caring for others, Renae Hartin felt anything but cared for when divorce and illness left her without stable housing for three years.

Now she's one of the 130 needy people the Salvation Army's Center of Hope Emergency Center in Sacramento brings hope to in the form of a warm place to stay.

"It helped show me a life again," Hartin said.

Recently, the Army's area captain learned that kind hope may be dashed by a city change in funding priorities.

"As our current understanding, the shifting in funding will result in a funding loss of about $511,000 to us, which is about a quarter of our total operational cost," said Cpt. Martin Ross.

The Center of Hope has received a boost from city coffers from each of the last two years, but fiscal year 2018 to 2019 may be in question.

Ross stated the Salvation Army's case right in the middle of a city council presentation about the progress Sacramento's making with "Pathways to Health and Home."

That's a Medi-Cal-based program focused on ending homelessness through whole person care, merging attentions paid to the chronic housing and social service needs a client has to get them off the streets for good.

"Again as we ramp up here we're going to be able to have 1,000 people in the program at a time," said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.

So far the city reports about 50 people, most from the Winter Triage Center, have found secure places to live.

The Salvation Army just wants to make sure that plusses on one side of the ledger in the fight against homelessness don't mean minuses somewhere else. Despite the potentials, city leaders say they don't either.

"We rolled that into whole person care and what our meeting was about is that we recognize whole person care doesn't pay for sticks and bricks and operations," explained Homeless Services Coordinator Emily Halcon. "So, we had a meeting with the Salvation Army staff to discuss different ways to support the shelter. No decisions have been made about defunding at this point."

"I'm hopeful. You know, there's always hope in the Lord and hope with good people doing good things," Ross said.

The city and the Salvation Army will be meeting again soon to try and workout a way forward together.