Homeless in Sacramento -- Need Help for a Friend

A dear friend of mine in the Sacramento area is in need of help. They reposed her house and threw her out on the streets. She is a widow in her seventies with 2 cats and living in her car. She has tried to get help but no one in the government wants to help her. She is a very sweet lady and doesn't deserve this. Is their anyone here that lives in the Sacramento area who can help?

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Song of the lark's picture

Maybe she can get some traction.

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harrybothered's picture

He and his sister are living at his mom's house there. They were taking care of their mom who had dementia. She died about two years ago. He commutes to work here in Santa Clara and San Jose and often stays on my sofa when he does. He would probably be willing, but I'm not sure about the sister.

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"The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to those who think they've found it."
Terry Pratchett, Monstrous Regiment

michelewln's picture

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A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world. Oscar Wilde

harrybothered's picture

Unfortunately, the kitties are the problem. His sister has 5 already and he has one. I'm sorry.

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"The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to those who think they've found it."
Terry Pratchett, Monstrous Regiment

Deja's picture

It would be wonderful if it all worked out. Surely there could be some bartering.

Hoping the best for this lady and her kitties.

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Phoebe Loosinhouse's picture

that we live in such a heartless world. Is there no shelter for her? Is the issue her cats? Maybe she can turn them into a rescue for fostering until she lands a place?

This is not directly about your friend and won't help her, but it is relevant. There are a ton of single older women either divorced, widowed or always single who are struggling to make it on their own in their later years. Some have houses and some do not. IMO it is imperative that these women find each other and share their resources. Three or four social security checks can maintain a modest household where one will not. Not only will they benefit from lowered expenses but also from having more socialization - so many elderly lead lives of loneliness and isolation.

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" “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR "

michelewln's picture

There is a problem because of the cats. They are all she has in the world and could not give them up. So we need to find a place that will take them.

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A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world. Oscar Wilde

Also the sharing idea sounds good, It seems there should be a website (not for profit) to help bring these people together. The elderly need and deserve all the help they can get.

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Phoebe Loosinhouse's picture

I just don't understand why people don't seem to be doing this, or maybe they are and it's just a quiet sort of thing going on.

Also when people are close to losing their home, why NOT rent out a bedroom or two to help with the expenses? I know I've told this before, but a long time ago I read a story about a guy who lived with his teenaged daughter who was resistant to the idea of having a boarder because of the lack of privacy even though it would have helped to save his house. He was filled with regret later because as he wrote "there's no privacy on the street." It always stayed with me.

I know it might be hard to find a good roommate, but lots of people do it and there is an actual housing shortage going on. I had a good friend who didn't want a permanent roommate so she only rented to interns and students she knew would be in and out and wouldn't be in for the long term. There are a number of ways a person could do it.

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" “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR "

michelewln's picture

She tried everything including trying to get someone to rent and wasn't able to find anyone.

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A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world. Oscar Wilde

riverlover's picture

I am not quite there, yet. And my house has many stairs, not the best set-up for many aging. But two bedrooms. And a full bath and a half-bath near the "family room".

It may be wise to write about trust issues. We have all been burned before.

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Hey! my dear friends or soon-to-be's, JtC could use the donations to keep this site functioning for those of us who can still see the life preserver or flotsam in the water.

mimi's picture

with a homeless person. Trust is an issue. Privacy is an issue. Two people with problems to have a roof over their heads on their own, doubles the chance of one accusing the other to be abusive.

If I were to design a house it would have several small studios with kitchenette and separate bathrooms and separate entrances to the outside, just to offer those studios to tenants or homeless people, who have no chance to get back on their feet and have a private space to themselves. Misery is a constant companion to a homeless person.

I hope you are doing ok, riverlover, 23 acres and being all by yourself and elderly and having issues with your health, is enough for you to handle. I would wish you had someone to help you and share your spacious lot and house, but it would be a miracle to find that person. Good luck to you.

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mimi

I googled this and was pleased to see what seemed to be a collection of good 'housing first' organizations that I think would work for this lady. (IMO, she doesn't need to go through the battering of 'entry-level homelesssness -- 1-night shelters, etc.)

http://sacramentostepsforward.org/understanding-homelessness/housing-ove... -- This link is to one of the 'Housing First' organizing sites. The programs I looked at apply to different populations and don't mention 'the suddenly homeless aged' , but I think at the very least this would be a good networking source, and could make her entry to 'the system' happen at a higher level, which could lead to faster results.

I noticed that many of that site's services were provided through a Lutheran group -- http://www.lssnorcal.org/ . I would be immediately resistant, in general, to social serivices offered by a church group, now that 'church' usually means some kind of fundamentalist/evangelical group that demands that one swallow their mishmosh of belief-systems in order to receive service. Perhaps because I grew up in a town settled by a lot of Lutherans, I don't have that fear because, in my experience, Lutherans are Nice People, not belief-pushers.

The Contact Us page for the Lutheran org is: http://www.lssnorcal.org/contact-us.html .

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The Fair Housing Act's civil rights cover 'service animals', including those who are not trained, as 'assistance animals' for health reasons -- such as providing comfort and companionship. The lady's cats would qualify as 'assistance animals' under FHA, so it would be illegal for her to be refused a rental on account of her cats, nor could she be required to pay an additional fee or sign a 'pet contract' (a service animal is not a pet under FHA terms.)

There is a lot of nonsense being written about 'service animals' these days by people who are unfamiliar with the law. I know that what I have written above is accurate, because I had to fight for my rights by bringing a civil rights complaint. If people give her trouble about 'documentation' for her/her cats, have her google for the 'HUD/DOJ 2002 Joint Statement on Service Animals', wich contains a clear description of the minimal levels of 'documentation' required -- it can be as little as a statement or two by friends, no medical documentation needed, no training or certification needed.

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PriceRip's picture

          Two years ago a student with anxiety had a dog in one of the dorms. Someone complained and the usual happened. This particular "case" ended with the student getting a settlement sufficient for her to go to another university. Unfortunately this university's administration was not compelled to deal with some of the core issues that lead to this unsatisfactory (with respect to the larger issues) resolution.

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Redstella's picture

You have offered some leads on real help whilst I read all the above and thought...'poor lady'. Obviously, you have a huge helpful heart while I have some amount of empathy.

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Deja's picture

He even has chickens, and a cat friendly dog.

According to ad, it's $600/mo + $50/mo per pet = $700/mo plus split of utilities.

Has she seen this ad?

Edit: bet we could convince him to go $625/mo because of her situation!

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Daenerys's picture

I never heard of such a thing until I moved to Utah a few years ago, now apparently everyone is doing it. You're already paying a deposit, anywhere from about $300-600, what's the point of monthly pet rent besides? I read somewhere that they do it because dog owners let their dogs crap everywhere and then don't pick up after them (this was rampant at our last apartment). Even with provided plastic baggies to pick it up with! OK I get that, but cats generally don't do that, so why not just charge dog owners monthly? Like sure, let me just tell my cat to go get a job! Hubby and I went to look at a place a couple weeks ago; they wanted a $400 deposit for one cat, $200 for the second one and $25/month per cat on top of that. Do you make under $34k? the leasing agent asked. Yes, I said. Are you sure? Yes bitch, I know how much I make, JFC!! (I didn't say that; why is everyone so condescending these days?!) Ok, it's $859/month, not including the pet rent or anything else. I said it was too much and we walked out. You shouldn't need two people working full-time to afford even a one-bedroom apartment, I don't care what you do. It's getting really bad. The public housing waiting lists are two years out as well (I have no idea how they figure that out either). I don't think we're going to find another place until we're both working again once Hubby is done with school.

Sorry I got off on a tangent there, but it makes me so angry what they're doing; housing is a necessity, not a fucking entitlement! I'm so sorry to hear about your friend Michele, I hope she finds something soon.

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This shit is bananas.

Deja's picture

I don't have a problem with the deposit, but the rent is total bullshit!

Some people shouldn't have pets, though. I took extensive pics of what someone's poor dog did to the porch and outdoor storage closet when she got the keys.

Apparently, they closed the animal up in the closet, based on the destruction around the door, where he apparently tried to claw and chew his way out. They left shitty towels and piles of shit too. Same with the wooden railing and slats on the porch (and shit there too).

Apartment people didn't even clean it before she moved in!

So, when we do the move-out-walk-through in the summer, Mama will be there to make sure they don't try to scam her and charge her for it.

While those people caused the damage and the mess (not blaming the dog, because WTF? they locked him in a closet!), the apartments never repaired or cleaned it, so a pet deposit should have been returned, imo.

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Phoebe Loosinhouse's picture

I know several people with investment properties and they have some nightmare stories, most revolving around pets eating and scratching woodwork or relieving themselves and ruining carpeting and floors, flea infestations, etc. Cat urine is so damaging that I know of someone who had to replace the entire subfloor and not just the carpet! I say this as someone who has pets and loves animals.

For every great and responsible pet owner there is another terrible and irresponsible one. I wonder if there simply couldn't be some clause in leases where the renter with pets agrees to be responsible for and to correct any pet damage above and beyond the usual human wear and tear. That way, a bad owner pays for their own freight and responsible owners don't. Collecting for the damages would be another matter, though.

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" “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR "

Deja's picture

Pet rent is just a scam to make more money, imo. But it's so common, it's accepted, because what else are you going to do, get rid of your pets? I know some people have been pushed to that, and it's sad.

A pet deposit is completely understandable. Pet rent is total greed, imo, like charging rent for food and drink because they too can damage floors/carpet.

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to apply for SSI and, if eligible, OASDI. At the very least, the office where she applies for SSI may be able to give her suggestions for inexpensive housing. Very likely, she is overwhelmed and panicked and has little to no access to internet and phones. And what she has she will likely lose soon because she won't be receiving her bills. Maybe you could help her out with some preliminary online research or phone calls, until you find the best place for her to go first.

The Sacramento Department of Health and Human Services has a department of Senior Services, which sounds like a good place to start. http://www.dhhs.saccounty.net/SAS/Pages/SAS-Home.aspx

https://www.ssa.gov/pgm/getservices-apply.htm

As far as housing, has she tried here: http://www.shra.org/Housing/PublicHousingProgram.aspx At the very least, I think they would be obligated to put her on a waiting list, if nothing is available immediately.

Also: http://www.namisacramento.org/resources/locallinks-housing.html (Housing resources and emergency shelters)

There is also a HUD portal for California homeless, but Mozilla Firefox won't let me access it because Mozilla could not verify that the connection is secure (!!)

I know she said no one in government wanted to help her, but she may not have known where to turn. I am sure she is overwhelmed. And, it's not really a matter of wanting to help her. It's their job and their obligation. So, again, I think I'd start with the Senior Services section of Dept. of Health and Human Services. If she's already seen them, it may be that they've told her they can't help her unless she is willing to give up the cats.
As you said, the cat's are indeed an issue. As sad as it is, it just may come down to a choice

Has anyone looked on Craig's list for a room for rent?

I am nowhere near California and don't know anyone in the Sacramento area. The above is all I can think of long distance.

Best wishes to her.

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Deja's picture

Don't know if Michele has seen it or not.

Most ads are strictly no pets, but the one I posted above actually has a picture of his adorable little cat friendly dog.

Of course, it'll cost her $700/mo for the room and 2 cats PLUS utility split. Ad doesn't mention how much those run.

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