An army of volunteers descended onto an Old Town Elk Grove home Saturday morning, ripping up flooring, clearing brush and rebuilding a fence. But they weren't just renovating a neighborhood eyesore–they were working to create a place for Elk Grove's homeless residents to get back on their feet.
The city purchased the home earlier this year, and hopes by early 2013 the nonprofit Sacramento Self-Help Housing will be offering three-to-six-month stays in the home for a few homeless residents at a time who need help finding work.
Frank Lucia, the coordinator of Elk Grove People Assisting The Homeless (PATH) said the transitional home will be available to people with special circumstances–homeless residents who could re-enter the workforce with a little help.
"We've raised money to [provide] for a temporary motel shelter," Lucia said. "What we're trying to do is avoid that and get [people] here."
Saturday's work brought together about 50 volunteers from local Elks, Lions and Rotary groups, a co-ed Boy Scouts Venture Crew and more. They worked with donated or discounted materials, and a local crew of contractors provided a hand.
Elk Grove City Council Member Gary Davis said the future residents of the house won't be the only ones benefitting from the renovation.
"We deliberately chose a home that was in such bad shape that [nearby] residents would embrace it being fixed up," Davis said.
Noah Theurer, a homeless Elk Grove resident known to friends and PATH staff as Luke Skywalker, hopes to be one of the first residents of the transitional home.
"They've helped me get into school," he said. "They're out there looking for jobs for me."
Theurer, who said he's been homeless "off and on" for about four years, is now close to finishing an American River College program in repairing hybrid and electric cars.
He said for now, he sleeps "wherever's safe and quiet," but hopes to have a job and his own place within a year. He hopes the transitional home will help him accomplish that.