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Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa Partners with the Napa Police Department

Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa (CCSR) provides services to Sonoma, Lake, Napa and Mendocino counties. CCSR’s team of Bilingual Service Navigators in the Crisis Response and Community Resources Team travel throughout these counties, both to urban and rural areas, to provide benefit enrollment and other vital community resources to the most vulnerable. CCSR recently learned of different homeless encampments near downtown Napa, as well as meet-up places where many homeless individuals gather to find day jobs outside of the local hardware stores and gas stations. Most of these individuals live in their car or in a homeless encampment, have transportation challenges (such as an expired driver’s license), and have limited resources to visit the local Self Sufficiency Division Offices. Napa county has a large number of immigrant farm workers working in the wine industry, but many of them have lost the seasonal work that normally sustains them and their families throughout the year due to the pandemic as well as the recent fires that have destroyed thousands of vineyard acres and affected grape quality. The hundreds of people experiencing homelessness in Napa are often overlooked as Napa is one of the wealthiest areas in the state, making these individuals in high need of support. Through outreach, education, and enrollment efforts, many people are able to have the food they need for their survival, access to medical care, access to information and resources on preparing for the next disaster, immigration services referrals, and much more.


Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa’s CalFresh Outreach (CFO) staff, in hopes of boosting outreach efforts, has partnered with the Local Napa Police Department (Napa PD) Outreach Team to visit homeless encampments and various meet-up places around the city of Napa. These efforts ensure that this population has access to public benefits such as Calfresh and MediCal, as well as resources the Napa PD provides like referrals to local shelters, drug and alcohol rehab centers, and support in obtaining identification documents so they can apply for additional social services in the county. The Napa PD has a van with Wifi which allows CCSR staff to assist individuals on-the-spot, with little to no documentation, which is a convenient added service for potential clients that otherwise would not have the capacity to go to the county offices to apply for CalFresh or MediCal benefits. Often times, individuals don’t realize that the benefits are available to them, do not apply due public charge fears, or do not understand that they can receive benefits if they are a SSI recipient, so CCSR CFO staff are able to clarify those things for clients on the spot, and are able to get clients expedited or emergency processing if needed. Working with the Napa PD also provides a sense of added safety for staff when going to encampments and working with individuals that, due to the struggles they are facing, can sometimes get upset and need de-escalation. CCSR is grateful that the PD outreach team has an excellent rapport with the population they work with, and that officers go by a first name basis in order to form a mutual respect, aligning with CCSR’s values of treating everyone with dignity and offering hope. CCSR CFO staff are also able to assist officers who are not bilingual with translation services so they may effectively communicate with the Latino population.


The CCSR CFO team, in coordination with Napa PD Outreach Team, has been able to alleviate many challenges that this population faces on daily basis, such as hunger, access to healthcare, transportation challenges, mental illnesses, and limited or no access to technology. The partnership with the Napa PD has enabled a wonderful opportunity for this population to see Catholic Charities and the Napa PD working to bring these resources to those in need. By going to meet these clients where they are, CCSR has been able to bring awareness around resources and the opportunities available to them. The CFO team will continue to work alongside the Napa PD on a regular basis to submit new CalFresh applications, follow-up with the County on existing ones, and bring other resources available in the community.







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