A non-profit organization in Sacramento plans to build a three-story building in Oak Park to house 28 homeless women and their children, but must first raise $ 5 million.
City of Refuge Sacramento – founded about eight years ago by a couple from Oak Park – currently hosts 12 women and their children in two homes in Oak Park, where they can stay up to two years while enjoying professional training and other services.
Most of the women in the program are between 18 and 24 years old, have children, and have a history of human trafficking or domestic violence, said Rachelle Ditmore, co-founder of the non-profit organization. Many women leave the reception system or the juvenile room, discovering that they have nowhere to live and can not find a job. A woman had lived in 16 different homes before coming to City of Refuge – and many have a similar story, Ditmore said.
"This way of life creates a need for survival for many young women in our city," said Ditmore. "For the majority of them, survival looks like a life that none of us would have wanted or chose".
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The non-profit organization wants to grow because there are many more women in need than beds in the two houses in the city of Refuge or in the facilities of other similar non-profit organizations, such as My Sister's House and WEAVE, Inc., said Ditmore.
"We get calls every day," Ditmore said.
Ditmore recently spoke to a 23-year-old woman who was sleeping in her car with three children and had to tell him that both houses were full, she said.
The new facility will include a restaurant called Hautebird, where women participating in the program will gain work experience in the foodservice sector.
The restaurant, known for its waffle cones stuffed with chicken, hosted pop-ups around the city.
The building will also include a child care center named after the mother of Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn, Mary Jean Hahn, who served the Oak Park neighborhood and died in the town. 39, last year. At his funeral, instead of flowers, Hahn asked people to donate to City of Refuge.
"The work they do is exactly what my mom should have done," said Hahn, who grew up two blocks away from the land that non-profit projects plan to build.
Part of the Ditmores' mission is to help rebuild and revitalize Oak Park, the neighborhood where they live.
"We want to create spaces of community pride and spaces where people can come together," said Loren Ditmore, co-founder of City of Refuge.
Councilor Angelique Ashby stated that she supported public funding for the project, whether through the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, the state or the tax increase. Measure U sales of the city.
"This community deserves this kind of investment and aspires to achieve it," said Ashby, who represents Natomas but studied in high school and law school in Oak Park, at Sacramento Charter High School and at McGeorge School of Law.
The Sacramento Municipal Public Services District has awarded the project $ 100,000 to launch the fundraising campaign, which will begin next month, said Loren Ditmore.
The organization hopes to raise $ 5 million by the end of the spring and begin construction work this summer, said Loren Ditmore.
The non-profit organization receives about 35% of its housing budget from the California Governor's Emergency Services Office, with the remainder coming mainly from private donations or corporate grants, said Loren Ditmore. Sacramento is one of 21 cities across the country with City of Refuge locations. The organization is based in Atlanta.
Even with the expansion, the city will still have many women with a history of human trafficking still on the street, unable to find housing, Hahn said.
"This is only a drop of water in the bucket," he said. "There are so many more women who, with more services, could absolutely use them."