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Sacramento County – Saint John’s Program for Change


Saint John’s Program for Real Change operates the largest shelter in Sacramento County, and the only one focused exclusively on homeless women and children. Its total daily capacity is 270, with an annual capacity of 1,000. Sacramento County’s point in time count in July of 2017 was 3,666 were counted as living without permanent shelter and 2,000 of those people living outside. 

Funded through a combination of private and public funders, including USDA, the California Department of Education, the California Wellness Foundation, Allstate Foundation, and Serving California, among many others, Saint John’s is a true public-private partnership. For every $1 in county funding received, Saint John’s raises $9 to serve more women and children with full programming.

Saint John’s Program is designed to support women and children in becoming permanently independent from “the system,” thereby making room for others in need. The average woman who comes to Saint John’s is 34 years old with two children. The challenges they face vary, however, 100% of the women lack stable work history/current employment. Other challenges include substance abuse (74%), domestic violence (68%), criminal history (60%), mental illness (54%), and lack of education (52% do not have a high school diploma or GED).

Originally founded as an emergency shelter in 1985, Saint John’s has expanded into a 12-18 month program that provides women with the education, tools and habits to learn how to work and how to live.

The program provides housing and meals in coordination with on-site intensive, structured and individualized support including mental health therapy, alcohol and drug counseling, budgeting classes, basic education, and hands-on employment training. Over the course of a year, each participant receives an average of 675 hours of service each month.

The program model also supports reunification of women and children through Child Protection Services processes, facilitating CPS required education, appointments, and supervised visits.  In 2016, 20 women were reunited with 46 children. 

Between 2014 and 2016, over 1,500 women and children were served through Saint John’s. In 2016 alone, reduction in homelessness thanks to the Program saved taxpayers a minimum of $13 million. 

Saint John’s Program for Real Change is majority funded by private donations and some public funds.

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