By Thomas J. Sullivan–
Volunteers at Celtic Cross Presbyterian Church in Citrus Heights welcomed a break from days of heavy rain this week as they closed out a busy seven-day “Winter Sanctuary” event on Saturday, having offered a hot dinner and a warm place to sleep for an average of two-dozen homeless individuals each evening.
“It’s a ministry of presence,” said Jan Souza, church coordinator for the annual volunteer program. “We’re here to help, to listen and to offer spiritual support to them in any way we can.”
The Winter Sanctuary is an annual event for the Celtic Cross Church community, at 5839 Dewey Drive, which began its participation in the program three years ago. Coordinated by the nonprofit Citrus Heights Homeless Assistance Resource Team, area churches take weekly turns over a two-month period to offer a rotating shelter for the homeless during the coldest and wettest months of the year.
Church volunteers received training from Citrus Heights HART staff members and worked four-hour shifts over…
Sentinel staff report–
Following a public hearing at a four-hour council meeting last week, the Citrus Heights City Council approved plans for — and imposed several new conditions on — a 47-unit supportive housing project on Sunrise Boulevard.
The city’s approval means construction could begin as early as the first part of 2020, according to spokeswoman Erin Johansen, who serves as executive director of TLCS, the organization that will provide supportive services for tenants. She said it will take approximately 14 months to complete, once construction has started.
The project, called Sunrise Pointe, will fill the old Abel’s Christmas Tree lot at 7424 Sunrise Blvd. and will provide permanent housing and on-site supportive services for those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, those with psychiatric disabilities, and those with low or very low-income levels. Tenants will be required to contribute 30 percent of their income to rent, which qualifies the development as an affordable housing project.
The development is projected to cost $23 million to complete and will…
Sentinel staff report–
Citrus Heights council members on Thursday night voted unanimously — yet reluctantly — to initiate the process to divide the city into five council districts and change how voters elect council members. Unless an alternative legal option arises, the city now has 90 days, and potentially up to 180 days, to hold five public hearings and draw up new district maps.
The council’s action followed the receipt of a demand letter last month by a Malibu, Calif.-based attorney, Kevin Shenkman, who said the city’s current method of at-large elections to select council members dilutes the vote of Latino voters and violates the California Voting Rights Act, which favors district-based elections. Under district-based elections, Citrus Heights would have five voting districts and each council member would be required to live in the district they represent and only be elected by voters of that district.
“I really feel like we’re being held hostage,” said Mayor Jeannie Bruins during the meeting, noting that no city had prevailed in multiple lawsuits Shenkman has filed in other cities over similar claims. “Had there been maybe even one city who had prevailed against these lawsuits, there might be a hair of a chance — but to the best of our knowledge and the research our attorney has done, no city has prevailed, and so the question is: do we spend the money [on] a case that we will probably lose. And I don’t think that’s the best use of our taxpayer dollars…
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