NOTE: Two years ago, Sierra Roots and Hospitality House folks visited the long-established Quinn Cottages in Sacramento, a transitional housing project for people who experienced homelessness. At that time, the Sierra Roots blog posted about this “inspiring tour,” written by then-Board member and current dedicated volunteer Kathy Mann. We re-present that post again, slightly edited, below:
On August 11, 2017, a group of Sierra Roots supporters – board members, volunteers and friends visited the Quinn Cottages, a community of 60 permanent homes that have 350 square feet of living space each. The community is located in Sacramento, just on the edge of the downtown area. Project was built by Mercy Housing, a non-profit organization that builds affordable housing. Their website provides a good description of the Quinn Cottages community:
“Quinn Cottages, built in 1998, is a partnership of Mercy Housing and Cottage Housing. Quinn Cottages provides transitional housing for the homeless. The 2.65 acre site consists of 60 small cottage units (including six fully handicapped accessible units). The cottages are clustered in a series of small neighborhoods, each oriented around a shared common space. The perimeter is fenced, monitored with a security system and has controlled front gate access. A central community building houses a computer room, a library/small conference room, a multipurpose room and a community kitchen. Residents participate in a rigorous and comprehensive two-year program from which they graduate. Resident support services are provided by Cottage Housing, whose staff provides comprehensive social services through existing agencies and through services contracts that bring social services on board.
Our group of twenty or so were treated with a tour by a guide who was very knowledgeable about how Quinn Cottages was developed, its many programs offered to the residents of the community and their experience of moving from an early “clean and sober” entry policy to the Housing First model. That model has been used more recently with organizations that provide services and housing for people who have been drug and/or alcohol addictions and some also have physical and/or mental disabilities. Our tour guide spent a good deal of our time on site answering all of our questions and also talked about her own journey from a long time on the streets, getting treatment, living at Quinn Cottages and now working there. Very hopeful!
We also were granted permission of a resident – a single Mom with a teenager, to enter and see their home. That home has a nice separate bedroom, a kitchen, a wall mounted air conditioner, and a full bathroom. Of the 60 units, there are a mix of one, two and three bedrooms. Tenants pay 30% of their income for their homes. The homes are built semi-attached and are in a very pleasant meandering clustering layout. Property maintenance of the common green lawns and shade trees is provided by Mercy Housing staff. Also, there is a large community building for food services, trainings and meetings. An inspiring tour to say the least!