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Valley agencies house 43 homeless in 10 days

Fresno HOMERUN intiative housed 43 homeless people, including children, in 10 days.
Fresno HOMERUN intiative housed 43 homeless people, including children, in 10 days. Special to The Bee

Three central San Joaquin Valley agencies that help people in need came together in September to house 43 homeless people – including children – in only 10 days.

The two-week rapid rehousing push was an idea from Fresno County to help the maximum number of people in the shortest time possible with a $65,000 emergency solutions grant that had to be spent by Sept. 30.

WestCare California, Poverello House and Turning Point of Central California named the program the “Fresno HOMERUN” to distinguish it from similar day-to-day services that typically take days and weeks to finalize.

“We did a rapid amount of work in a short amount of time,” said Shawn Jenkins, senior vice president of WestCare like expedite checks to get people into homes.

“All the agencies donated their time to make it happen,” he said.

The county grant helped pay rental deposits, up to three months of rent, PG&E deposits and back pay on bills so tenants could restart service, Jenkins said.

The program helped 23 households, seven of which had children.

During the housing push, the agencies were also able to create relationships with eight new landlords including Regency Property Management of Fresno which offered 13 of their vacant units. Las Villas apartments in central Fresno gave three units to the initiative.

“We’re always looking for landlords willing to work with this population,” Jenkins said. “A lot of times when you say, ‘do you want to house somebody who is homeless?’ you get a stigma attached to them. They really don’t have any more problems than normal people.”

BoNhia Lee: 559-441-6495, @bonhialee

If you are landlord who wants to get involved, call 559-538-2084.

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