Religion

Winter shelter, HART. Luke Otterstad, photo credit

Rotating winter shelter for homeless off to a busy start in Citrus Heights

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…

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Winter Shelter, Messiah Lutheran Church

Temporary winter shelter launches again for Citrus Heights homeless

Sentinel staff report–
Local churches in partnership with the Citrus Heights Homeless Assistance Resource Team (HART) are again launching a temporary winter shelter for Citrus Heights homeless during the cold and wet winter months.

The shelter program is scheduled for Dec. 30 through at least Feb. 23, and organizers are hopeful to extend the shelter into March if a few more churches sign on as a host site. As in prior years, the shelter will rotate to a different church each week, where up to 20 homeless guests will be given a hot meal and a warm place to stay overnight.

“This is an opportunity to break the cycle [of homelessness], offer them respite from the cold, some hot meals, and a chance to connect with people who can help them and take advantage of the resources that are already available so they can work their way back into society,” said Irene Hronicek, who chairs HART’s winter sanctuary committee.

Although having an immediate goal to provide temporary shelter for those without homes in the winter, HART’s ultimate mission is to help the homeless find permanent housing…

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