59.1 F
Davis

Davis, California

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Yolo District Attorney’s office helps secure $1.5 million grant for Woodland nonprofit Fourth & Hope

JEREMY DANG / AGGIE

Grant will fund new program HOPE that aims to provide transitional housing, services to homeless victims of crime

The Yolo County District Attorney’s office announced on Dec. 31 that it successfully secured $1.5 million in funding for a new transitional housing program led by the Woodland homeless shelter Fourth & Hope.

In a press release, the DA’s office celebrated the acceptance of a grant application. The California Office of Emergency Services Transitional Housing Program approved the request, awarding $1.5 million over a period of five years to the new program. District Attorney Jeff Reisig praised the efforts of his staff in writing and obtaining the grant.

“We have an outstanding team of grant writers who are knowledgeable, dedicated and very creative,” Reisig said in the press release. “We are always pleased to assist our partners particularly when it comes to important causes such as homelessness. We will continue to seek out partnerships with nonprofits and other county agencies to achieve shared policy goals.”

The DA’s office worked in conjunction with Fourth & Hope, a nonprofit based in Woodland, to secure the grant. In addition to providing emergency shelter for local homeless individuals, Fourth & Hope operates supportive programs that seek to help them re-enter the community.

“Over the past 20 years, programs have been established to assure that every person has food to eat; a place to sleep; dignity and hope,” their website reads. “Our programs address physical and mental health, substance use, employment and income needs, and housing.”

According to the release, the new program is called The Homeless Opportunity and Positive Engagement Program. HOPE aims to deploy a “housing first” strategy, which prioritizes securing housing as the first step to reintegrating homeless individuals into the community. Fourth & Hope will work alongside Empower Yolo, a domestic violence intervention group, to provide rapid re-housing services for their clients. The grant also will fund a full-time case manager to assist Fourth & Hope clients, as well as short-term rental assistance after they move into permanent housing.

HOPE specifically targets homeless individuals who have been victims of crime, according to Jake Whitaker, an administrative service analyst at the District Attorney’s office. Whitaker, who was the primary grant writer of the proposal, noted that the grant reserved its funding for crime victims, but allowed applicants to choose which populations to target.  

“In the instructions for the [grant] application, you were told that you had to serve victims of crime, but you could choose your target population,” Whitaker said. “So we saw that as an opportunity to help serve the population in a way that would be broadly accessible.”

Whitaker said that homeless individuals are often victimized of crime, but hesitate to seek help from police in fear that they may be arrested themselves.

“The definition of victimization isn’t simply for cases that have been reported to a law enforcement agency, but it can include self-reported victimization as well, as long as that circumstance would rise to the level of something that would be a criminal charge,” Whitaker said. “I know that there is a certain level of fear among the homeless community. A lot of these people have warrants for their arrest, so it makes sense that they would not call law enforcement.”

An informal survey of Hope & Fourth’s clients revealed that the majority of those surveyed had been the victims of crime within the past year. The majority of the victims surveyed did not report the crime to the police, however.

“The survey found that 26 of 46 clients — 57 percent — self-identified as a victim of crime in the past year,” Whitaker said. “Only 42 percent — 11 of the 26 — reported that crime to law enforcement.”

Whitaker, alongside fellow grant writer member Kevin Clark, saw an opportunity to secure the funding for this underserved population. He spoke with pride regarding his success in obtaining funding for the new program.

“One of the great things about being a grant writer — if you do your job well enough — the things you write down on paper actually become real,” Whitaker said. “So, I was so excited when I saw this one had gotten approved. It’s probably my proudest one yet.”

Written by: Tim Lalonde — city@theaggie.org

1 COMMENT

  1. Now what remains to be done is to continue to get the street people that do not want help or to follow shelter rules to keep moving out of our city. They are not welcome.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here