More Yuba-Sutter homeless expected this year
WHEN: 2 p.m.-4 p.m. today.
WHERE: First United Methodist Church, Ninth, B streets, Marysville.
WHAT: Resources information for homeless.
The first rain and bluster of the season sends most residents digging in closets for boots and warm clothes.
But for the estimated 900 homeless in Yuba-Sutter, staying warm and dry is a more complicated matter.
Those who work or provide volunteer services to help that population now are in high gear, and bracing for a high numbers of clients.
A Homeless One Stop event today in Marysville will give them their first look at what to expect this coming winter.
"There's a level of anticipation," said Dennis Green, vice president of the Hands of Hope Board of Directors.
"The number of people using our programs has increased in the last six months, if that's any indication," he said. Green coordinates transportation for the Regional Emergency Shelter Team, a rotating homeless shelter for women and families, now in its third year of operations
That program does not take in people until Nov. 24. Organizers are busy training volunteers and are ramping up efforts to attract more people to help.
"Overnight supervisors are the hardest to find," he said. "Not everyone can spend all night doing that and then go to work the next day."
The program runs through April 6, and involves 10 churches that serve as temporary homeless shelters, and many more that work on a rotating basis to provide hot meals.
Grace Espindola, who helps track and provide services for homeless students through the Sutter County superintendent of schools office, said county schools have already identified 202 homeless students since the start of the school year.
The number for 2010-11 was 216.
"We have definitely seen a trend of increase," Espindola said Wednesday. "School staff is saying there's greater need (this year)."
The Sutter-Yuba Homeless Consortium's seventh One Stop event today involves eight government and nonprofit agencies, and is expected to provide resource information for the homeless or near-homeless, as well as basic health screening services and vaccinations. In addition, volunteers will be on hand to give haircuts, fix bicycles and distribute donated items such as blankets and sleeping bags.
Jim Leonard, whose volunteers serve food to the homeless and needy at the base of the 10th Street Bridge each week, will also do so as part of today's event.
Monday's storm brought some especially destitute souls to his lunch wagon, he said.
"A lot of folks lost all their possessions in that rainstorm," Leonard said.
Recent work on a new park at Willow Island in Yuba City recently left many in the river bottoms scrambling for new places to camp, he said.
"It forced a lot of our homeless into Yuba County and increased the population there," he said. "Now, some walk all the way from Linda for a meal," Leonard said.
Green and Leonard said they have seen an uptick in families with young children in the last couple of years, both in the REST program and at the lunch wagon.
"There's just not a lot of employment in our area," Leonard said. "We all think the problem is going to be worse this year than last."