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No End In Sight For Single Women Homeless Shelter Shortage


Joann Gwynn says she found herself stranded in Sacramento at Christmas time and may not be able to leave until the middle of the month. She is at Loaves and Fishes hoping to find someone to help her get back to Arizona.

"I've never had to ask for help in my life. However, I found myself stuck and stranded here in the city, knowing no one, knowing nowhere to go, and totally lost without funds."


She hopes to stay at a church as part of the Winter Sanctuary program or at the Salvation Army shelter. But, Salvation Army Major Ray Yant says all 40 beds there are full.

"Currently there's a waiting list of 43 women. That can go twice as high. It just depends on the time of year," says Yant.

40 women stay at the Salvation Army shelter on winter nights. A similar number sleep at churches participating in the Winter Sanctuary program. 

Sister Libby Fernandez with Loaves and Fishes says as many as 200 temporary beds are needed.

"We're still seeing a lot of single women out on the streets in midtown, downtown, the rivers. We're still seeing a lot of single women who aren't in shelters any given night."

~Sister Libby Fernandez

But, there's not much hope for more temporary beds.

Every February, Sacramento Steps Forward applies for funding to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Sacramento Steps Forward says none of this year's applications will include emergency shelter. 

On March first, the Salvation Army will lose funding to keep 40 beds open. That will leave only 20 beds available.  


Bob Moffitt

Sacramento Region Reporter

Bob reports on all things northern California and Nevada. His coverage of police technology, local athletes, and the environment has won a regional Associated Press and several Edward R. Murrow awards.   Read Full Bio 

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