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Author: Luke Miller

Luke is the Communications Manager with Goodwill Sacramento Valley & Northern Nevada, supporting the members of the Goodwill family of nonprofits. He is passionate about the support of youth in need, and has been in leadership roles in Sacramento's LGBT community since high school.

Big Day of Giving 2017

Sleeping bags are for camping trips and sleep-overs, not for living.

Every night in Sacramento, more than 400 children and young people do not sleep in a bed, but rather find refuge on a park bench, under a freeway or on a doorstep. Wind Youth Services provides food, shelter and lodging for as many of these homeless youth as we can.
Make your donation between 11am and noon to qualify Wind for an incentive prize, and your donation will be matched by Goodwill, up to $5000!

Schedule your BDOG online today.



Extended Hours Offer Overnight Options to Youth

Today, the City of Sacramento, in partnership with Wind Youth Services, announced the expansion of Wind Youth Services’ operational hours to accommodate overnight options for unhoused youth.

“Our transitional age youth are some of our most vulnerable populations,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “It breaks my heart to hear what these young people deal with on a daily basis. I’m thankful to our community partners and city staff for ensuring the good work Wind Youth Services is already doing can be extended to provide unhoused youth with a safe place to spend the night and access resources.”

This is the fifth shelter that has been opened in the last two months through coordinated City and County efforts to augment emergency shelter options for people suffering homelessness in Sacramento communities. The City and County, their leaders, and regional partners have been actively pursuing ways to prevent and end homelessness by committing significant resources in a variety of investments.

Through this new partnership, Wind Youth Services was able to extend its hours of operation to provide overnight accommodation for youth they are already serving with daytime resources beginning at the end of last week.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with the City to offer a place where our community’s unhoused youth can find shelter on these cold and rainy nights,” says Suzi Dotson, Executive Director of Wind Youth Services. “We’ve been wanting to offer this to our youth for a long time, since they can’t always stay in the adult warming centers, so it’s great to see it finally happening!”

Labor groups in the region stepped in to provide $10,000 to help cover the additional costs of keeping the center open overnight.

“When we first heard about the City of Sacramento’s push to expand the shelter program we felt it was an obligation for us to step in and put our money where our mouth is,” said Fran McDermott, Executive Director for the National Electric Contractors Association, Greater Sacramento Chapter. “We wanted to show our commitment to the City after such a great partnership with them over the years and understand the need for good partners in the community to ensure our most vulnerable are being taking care of.”

Bob Ward, Business Manager for IBEW Local 340 added: “It was common sense for us and our brothers and sisters. We make our money building housing and want to find ways to ensure those that need housing the most can get out of the elements. It felt like our duty to step up and do anything we could to help these youths.”

Previously opened shelters include:

The City’s Weather Refuge Center at Southside Park (2107 6th Street) remains available from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. when temperatures are forecast below 40 degrees or during persistently rainy evenings. 211 Sacramento updates this page with nights it is open.

The winter refuge center located at 904 11th Street is still currently operating every night from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and is staffed by Volunteers of America. The City provides a heated indoor space with blankets, water and snacks.

Stanford Settlement was opened to provide spaces for up to 25 people during cold and wet weather for the balance of the winter through a coordinated effort launched by Sacramento County, Sacramento City, the Association of Realtors, and the United Public Employees (UPE).

Volunteers of America provides staffing, transportation and food, with the County providing water, blankets and security.

El Hogar was similarly opened to provide spaces for up to 46 people during cold and wet weather. It is operated by the Salvation Army.

The City has a page on its website with a link of all emergency services.

Newly Housed Teens Need Furniture!

We have several youth moving into new apartments (yay!) who need apartment furnishings. If you have any new or gently used items you could donate, they can be dropped off atCountry Club Apartments at 2926 Watt Ave, #34. Contact Eden at 916-307-1450 for more info. Here is a complete list of what we need most, with asterisks by our most needed:

Mattresses, box springs and frames*
Kitchen table and chairs

Pots and pans
Cooking utensils (spoons, spatulas, knives)
Dishware (plates, bowls and cups)
Garbage can

All-purpose cleaner
Garbage bags

Washcloth/hand towel

Shower curtain

Keeping the Doors Open

Comstock’s Magazine profiles Wind’s recent success in keeping services running through strategic partnerships in the Sacramento area.

It was as close to a miracle as you can get. Just when all hope seemed lost for Wind Youth Services, the only homeless teen shelter in Sacramento, a financially-solvent fairy godmother swooped in to save the day.

The shelter temporarily closed in early February of 2016 due to a lack of operating funds necessary to keep the doors open, says Wind Youth Executive Director Suzi Dotson. A few weeks later, the Goodwill chapter of Sacramento Valley & Northern Nevada donated an initial seed gift of $10,000 to Wind Youth, allowing the facility to reopen in the short-term. They also issued a “challenge to the community,” Dotson says, to raise even more.

Wind Youth Center services nearly 200 homeless teens between the ages of 12 and 18 every month. They focus on getting the teens back into school and reunited with their families, when possible. “It’s a pretty expensive program,” Dotson says. “It has to be staffed 24 hours a day because they’re minors. It’s really intensive work.” Wind staffers provide support and care to the homeless or troubled teens so that they can address what is going on at home, she says. According to their website at windyouth.org, Wind is “the only service provider in Sacramento County focusing solely on runaway, homeless and street youth and transition age youth.”

Goodwill also helped organize another fundraiser that sought to raise $135,000 to keep Wind’s doors open all year — and they met their goal, with Goodwill matching another $3,000 donation from the combined efforts of Outword Magazine and Badlands in Sacramento. But the real funds came from an on-air drive during Good Day Sacramento that finally tipped the scales and reached their fundraising goal.

Read the rest of the article on comstocksmag.com