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St. John's Expands Shelter But Waiting List Remains Long

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

St. John's shelter says it tries to put two families in one room to allow the mothers to share housekeeping and daycare duties.

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

St. John's shelter for women and children celebrated an expansion of its Sacramento campus today with a ribbon cutting for a 22-room building that holds 90 new beds.

Sheila Torres is a client who was homeless and addicted to alcohol. She has graduated the shelter's program, has a job and will soon move into her own apartment.

"St. John's Program For Real Change. It is, for real, change," Torres says. "I had no life. I was hopeless, unmanageable, horrible, ugly. I had no love. I hated myself."

The program claims 96 percent of its graduates find work that will support them in unsubsidized, independent living.

Michele Steeb is CEO of the program. She says it is also cost-effective.

"It costs us $14,000 on average to move an individual from crisis to self-sustainability," Steeb says. "Sutter Health did a study that showed it costs the community, the system if you will, $49,000 and some change, though, admittedly, they weren't able to capture all the costs."

The program hopes to expand again and soon. There are 430 people on its waiting list.

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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