Wheels…and Boots on the Ground

Winter shelter is in the rear view mirror but Housing El Dorado’s van is still in service. Colleen Ivazes has put it to good use providing transportation services to folks working their way upward. Some of the transportation needs include medical appointments, rides to and from work, court dates, trips to the methadone clinic, and relocation assistance.

Boots on the ground activities have included finding safe housing for vulnerable women in recovery and, for medically fragile individuals. When she’s not on the road, Colleen procures, warehouses, and distributes clothing, hygiene items and camping gear. Additionally, she provides transportation to Friday Showers (and a hearty Thank You to our partners in the Friday Day Navigation and Shower Program: Green Valley Community Church and Housing El Dorado).

Where in the World is Ron Sachs?

You may have noticed Ron Sachs is missing in action in JSS activities. He is no longer seen working hand in hand with the people on the streets of Placerville. You no longer see him at the Upper Room. But, make no mistake, he is still busy pursuing another of his passions – Biblical Archeology.

Ron recently donated his extensive library to Foothills United Methodist Church and now serves as curator of their Biblical Archaeology Library.

A year ago, Ron stepped down as JSS President and handed the reins to Colleen Ivazes. He remained active on the board as a Member-at-Large until March of this year, seeing the organization through the transition and merger with The Lighted Candle. Feeling he had fulfilled his mission, he turned to caring for his wife, Doris, and devoting time to establishing the Biblical Archeology Library.

He has served unhoused populations in one capacity or another since his teen years. At the age of 54, through the misfortunes of divorce and the loss of his business, he found himself homeless. After five months he was able to turn his situation around, finding a great job and settling in the Los Angeles area. There he met his present wife, Doris who invited him to work with her providing food to a shelter. Hooked not only by Doris, but by service to the homeless of Los Angeles County, he helped found the East San Gabriel Valley Coalition for the Homeless. Working with 30 local churches they developed a Winter Shelter, Emergency Assistance Center, and four transitional homes. That robust organization has grown and now has an annual budget over a million dollars.

In 2006, Ron and Doris moved to El Dorado County, bringing their passion for service to the homeless with them. He soon founded Job’s Shelter of the Sierras and began distributing supplies to the people on the streets. He also joined with participants of regional churches and served on the board of Directors in the establishment of Hangtown Haven, a short-lived but briefly successful encampment. After the demise of Hangtown Haven, he served on the steering committee for the Nomadic Shelter, a program that provided winter shelter for several years. When the COVID pandemic shut down the Nomadic Shelter, he has continued to work with interested people tirelessly seeking solutions for the unsheltered of the Western Slope.

And now he has passed the baton. The current board of directors for JSS include, President Colleen Ivazes, Vice President and Treasurer Nichole Paine, Secretary Melody Moore and Members-at-Large Brian Smith and Tamara Janies. With Ron’s legacy and the recent merger with The Lighted Candle, we look forward to a bright and enduring future of service on the Western Slope.

Winter Shelter for the Homeless

As of this writing, Housing El Dorado has secured 3 nights per week of shelter through their Pathways Winter Lodging Program. Shelter will begin January 1st and run through March 31st, 2022. Currently, there are 3 area churches participating, though there are hopes to add more. A thank you to Discovery Hills Evangelical Church, Green Valley Community Church, and Foothills United Methodist Church for coming together to make the Winter Lodging Program a reality for the un-housed of the western slope.

Michael…A Success Story

Over the last few weeks, JSS has had the opportunity to help an unhoused individual, Michael.

Michael was put in contact with JSS when he was dropped off at the local Social Security office with nothing but his wheelchair, the clothes on his back, and his service dog, Pooh. Our new President, Colleen, was able to assist Michael with straightening out his SSI, visiting Health & Human Services for emergency benefits, and securing him housing at an area Board & Care Home. Additionally, she was able to find a loving, long term foster for Pooh.