the Cycle.

There is no easy way to escape living in crisis. Since our founding on the steps of St. John’s Lutheran Church in 1985, we’ve challenged many homeless mothers with children to grapple with that difficult truth.

And not everyone can. It takes a certain type of woman to stand up to everything that’s ever damaged or broken her and take full, complete control of her life. It’s difficult. It’s painful. And again, it’s not for everyone.

Saint John’s is for the woman who wants to make the leap. Who will fight the pervasive influence of homelessness, poverty, and abuse. Who will make an empowered decision to rise up and become a productive community member. Who understands, unequivocally, that the decision to create a better life – for herself and for her family – rests entirely on her.

The time for excuses is over. Make a stand. Reach out, and create a powerful, lasting change – for you and your children.
The first step is calling us at (916) 453-1482.

When a family enters Saint John’s up-to-18-month rehabilitative program, they are immediately encircled with structure, with mental health therapy, with alcohol and drug counseling, with parenting education, with budgeting classes, with healthy relationship training, AND with hands-on employment training. All services are onsite and required. The program is designed to support women in taking responsibility for themselves and their families. Each family receives an average of 675 hours of services each month. 96% of women are placed in non-subsidized employment upon completion of our employment training!



support given toward ending poverty through Saint John’s proven methods is a solid investment. Every dollar spent on our program goes to removing families from the cycle of poverty which in turn directly builds our economy and ends up causing everyone to come out ahead. Interested in double checking our math? check out our benefit cost calculator here to see how we came to this conclusion

Designed To Change Lives.
Once and For All.

We provide more than shelter and food. We provide the ability to rise above devastating, negative elements and achieve job-readiness and self-sustainability. Entry into the program is limited, and each step is extremely rigorous. But those who see it through end up with rewarding, happy, and productive lives – for themselves, and for their children.

An extraordinary change takes place over three distinct chapters.


This is the breaking point. It is acceptance that something, anything, must be done in order to escape the cycle of poverty, abuse, and dependence. No sob stories. No excuses. Just a challenge. Can you take an honest look at your life and your choices and decide that something needs to change once and for all? With the opportunities presented at Saint John’s, can you leverage your potential to create significant change in your life?


The real test of mettle begins here. Mothers dig down to the root causes of their homelessness and start making enormous life changes through comprehensive mental health services, GED attainment, and career education. All the while, their children also receive emotional and developmental support through our Children’s Program. With Employment Training at Plates Café and Catering, Plates Midtown, or First Steps Child Development Center, mothers learn the essential skills to become employable and ready to join the workforce. It’s an arduous process, because it’s hard, honest work. Many don’t make it. But those who do – prosper.


This is graduation. Those who make it here are ready for the real world. A real job. Real housing. And a real way to support a family. It’s new territory for many. A stage that marks the end of a routine of hardship and failure. This is looking adversity in the eye and saying “Not this time.” Now – real life begins.

The Tools for
Real Change.

Based on more than a quarter-century’s worth of experience, we know what our clients need to become self-sustaining. And it’s much more than just being housed, clothed and fed. It’s giving mothers real love so they can finally learn to love themselves. It’s helping them fully realize their potential. It’s establishing a sense of self-worth and readiness for the real world.

Mental Health Services

Without mental stability, holding down a job and supporting a family just isn’t possible. Research shows more than half of homeless mothers experience mental health challenges, such as depression and anxiety. And the trauma their children face can potentially spell a lifetime of devastation. Our clinical staff provides individual, group, and family therapy for mothers and their children, crisis intervention, and addiction rehabilitation for mothers so they can cast off the heavy toll of mental health issues and make giant strides towards self-sufficiency.

Supportive Services

Being a mother comes with a lot of responsibility. And because a majority of our clients became mothers in their teens, a lack of support and parenting skills is simply the norm for them. That’s why parenting education is at the core of the support we provide. As mothers progress through the program, additional assistance becomes available so they can commit fully to employment readiness. Through housing, transportation, and a comprehensive and coordinated program for children, families are able to enjoy a support structure during their recuperation with the eventual goal of becoming independent.

Career Education

Our Career Education and Placement Center (CEPC) provides career guidance, high school education and diploma, financial literacy, job readiness, computer literacy, and in-house employment training. As a result, mothers end up more than prepared to embark on the path towards a successful career.

On-the-Job Training

During their up-to-18-month stay at Saint John’s, women gain up to 500 hours of on-the-job employment training through our social enterprises – Plates Café and Catering, Plates Midtown, and First Steps Child Development Center. By learning responsibility, accountability, work ethic, and teamwork, mothers are ready for gainful employment

Mental Health Respite Services

Saint John’s is one of only two local organizations able to provide women in immediate crisis with short-term mental health and supportive services for up to 7 days. During this time, they receive comprehensive evaluation, services, and referrals to stabilize their current crisis and promote recovery. 

Saint John’s is dedicated to the eradication of homelessness for each woman and child it serves. We require a far greater commitment from her than she has ever made. Program residents are not required to pay rent, but must commit to a long-term, all-encompassing program. She must examine her life, past and future, receive in-depth counseling, and further her education. She must participate in employment training at one of our social enterprises, Plates, Plates Midtown and First Steps, in which women build work ethic and on-the-job training skills. This sets them up for a new kind of success and presents them as viable candidates for the workforce and a new life. In the past eight years, Saint John’s has evolved from providing emergency shelter only, to a year-long program that provides real change in the lives of women and children who have become homeless. During that same period, we have reduced our reliance on public funding to less than 40% of our $7M budget to have the flexibility to require sobriety of our clients. We rely heavily on private funding to fuel the programs we provide to families who have become homeless.

Contact us

email us at:
2443 Fair Oaks Blvd, #369
Sacramento, CA 95825-7684
Mailing address only.
Not a physical location.
Nonprofit, 501(c)(3)
(Tax ID: 68-0132934).

Make a difference