A warm place to sleep

Finding hope and inspiration to end homelessness

Lisa Bates is CEO of Sacramento Steps Forward.

Lisa Bates is CEO of Sacramento Steps Forward.

As the holidays approach, it is often a time for reflection on what we have to be thankful for.

This holiday season will be the first that I spend as the chief executive officer at Sacramento Steps Forward, a nonprofit committed to ending homelessness in the Sacramento region through collaboration, innovation and connecting people to services.

Having now worked for this organization for almost a year, what I am most thankful for this year is basic in nature—things that many of us take for granted on a daily basis that every person should have. I am grateful that my family and loved ones have our most basic needs met, that we have food to eat, clothes to wear and a warm and safe place to sleep at night.

On any given night across the Sacramento region, more than 5,500 people are experiencing homelessness. The majority are unsheltered; they don't know where their next meal will come from, have only the clothes on their backs and are sleeping outside in the cold.

Every day I am reminded of the compassionate people who have made ending homelessness their life's purpose, and I am grateful for their kindness, perseverance and hard work.

Similarly, I am humbled by what I have learned from people formerly and currently experiencing homelessness. Their unwavering hope and determination in the face of traumatic life events and the hardships they endure from being on the street is an inspiration to never give up, to work harder and to be thankful for all I have.

As I look toward 2020, our steadfast commitment to address one of our region's most pressing issues can only be accomplished by working together as a community. I remain thankful for what I have, grateful for all the hard work and hopeful that by ensuring everyone who needs a safe place to call home has one, we will transform home-“less” to “home-“ful.”