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Through New Charter Sierra HOPE Takes On Homelessness In Calaveras

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Angels Camp, CA – A longtime Mother Lode nonprofit is taking on a broader role to address local homelessness and housing insecurity in Calaveras County.

This week, Sierra HOPE officials announced the Angels Camp-headquartered organization is expanding its mission, which has since 1989 provided HIV/AIDS education and supportive services to Tuolumne, Amador, and Calaveras counties although it has added housing and food pantry services in recent years.

As a long-time collaborator with the Amador-Tuolumne Community Action Agency (ATCAA), which provides homeless and shelter support programs and services to those counties, Sierra HOPE, officials say its partnership inspired them to take on the role for Calaveras through a new charter and relationship with the county and its affiliate, the Calaveras-Mariposa Community Action Agency (CMCAA), which is providing additional resources to help expand and grow housing programs.

“Sierra HOPE has been gradually stepping into providing housing services since 2012,” shares Executive Director Jerry Cadotte. “With this new support from the county…Sierra HOPE will be able to expand on these needed services…ATCAA does excellent work in Amador and Tuolumne counties and has provided valuable guidance.”

Many of the people served by Sierra HOPE are not generally known or visible in the community, officials say, because of all the various reasons that can contribute to their becoming homeless or housing insecure. These might involve a reduction in income from job loss, family break-ups, or a death in the family. Other frequent causes include unexpected and unaffordable rent increases or their rental being sold. Adding to these now are economic hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Temporary, Supportive Housing Solutions

Under the new charter, Sierra HOPE is providing “rapid rehousing,” a temporary bridge for those experiencing homelessness or are at imminent risk of losing their housing. Through it, those impacted can get housing deposits and rental assistance with case management support that helps them stabilize. There is also a homeless prevention program providing short-term assistance for those at imminent risk of losing their housing, funded through state and private grants.

For folks who are literally homeless and dealing with a diagnosed disability, Sierra HOPE has four leased apartments as part of its supportive housing program, which also provides ongoing case management, enabling participants’ access to mainstream supportive services that help them maintain stable housing.

Sierra HOPE also recently purchased a five-bedroom home in Angels Camp with the intent of it serving as its first “transition” house where clients will be able to stay until they find permanent housing. One of the rooms will house an onsite supervisor.

With $100,000 in funding from the county, plans are to add two more bathrooms, one of which will be ADA accessible, and make essential pre-occupancy repairs. Officials note that Pinnell’s Carpet and Flooring and the Angels Camp Union Congregational Church have donated labor and materials for the remodel. Other churches and organizations are welcome to “adopt a room” to help finish the home.

Officials say Sierra HOPE case managers are in the process of designing more programs that will deliver a full range of supportive services. For more details, click here or call 209 736-6792.