SACRAMENTO — It wasn’t just a ribbon cutting or a celebration Friday at Saint John’s Program for Real Change, it was hope in action.
“We decided we can’t just sit on our hands,” Saint John’s executive director Michele Steeb said. “We need to be a part of the solution.”
The solution to the growing problem of homelessness in Sacramento.
“Our waiting list was holding steady at 250-300 women and children,” Steeb said.
For the last three decades, Saint John’s Program for Real Change has provided services for homeless women and children.
Friday, they marked the completion of a $1.5 million expansion — allowing 90 more clients to be served daily, bringing the total to 270.
Clients like Sheila Torres.
“My drug of choice was alcohol. I used to dumpster dive every night to support my habit,” Torres said. “I wanted to die.”
For three years, the 55-year-old was sleeping along the American River. No job, no family, no hope until, one day, she had enough.
She checked into rehab, spent two weeks on the Saint John’s waiting list, and finally got help.
“It’s about giving them the ability to become self sustaining, and be the primary providers for their family, versus being dependent on the government system.”
It’s a rigorous program. Some people don’t even make it past one week, but if they do, their success stories are incredible.”
Seventeen months of detox, classes, even art helped Torres get back on her feet.
“Today, I have a job, I have a bank account, clothes, I have my life, my family, my own apartment,” Torres told FOX40. “I move in 43 days right around the corner from my job.”
She can’t even contain her smile.
It’s happening — the life Torres never could have imagined, if she didn’t walk through the doors at Saint John’s, a year and a half ago.