by Marlene M. von Friederichs-Fitzwater

The Joshua’s House Holiday Lunch and December Board meeting was held in person on December 21, 2022 to acknowledge the immense work that our Board and our partners have accomplished in the past six years and, particularly in 2022.

We would not be preparing to open Joshua’s House this year without a group of people who have been part of this journey from Day 1. The first person I met with and shared my vision was Sister Libby Fernandez who was the CEO of Loaves & Fishes at the time. Sister Libby understood the need and immediately found ways to help me move forward with my vision. She opened doors that I would not have been able to open and she connected me with the key people who were able to bring Joshua’s House into reality.

One of the first people Sister Libby introduced me to was Jeff Harris, who was the District 3 City Council Member at the time. Jeff worked tirelessly to help us locate a property, complete a 50-year lease on slightly more than an acre of land in South Natomas that is rent-free (we will only pay annual property taxes), and acquire a $450,500 grant from the City to complete all the work needed to prepare the property for the homes.

Jeff connected me with Tina Thomas and Nick Avdis with Thomas Law Group who became our incredible legal advisors. Tina and Nick have donated hundreds if not thousands of hours of legal work over the past six years as well as being friends and partners in making sure Joshua’s House becomes a reality!

Then, we have three people who helped create our first Board of Directors and help us gain support from our four health systems (UC Davis, Kasier, Dignity and Sutter): Jose Martinez, former CEO of Yolo Food Bank, guided us through several operational planning sessions and brought in several significant grants and donations has also been a trusted friend and partner. Jose introduced me to Craig Dresang, CEO of Yolo Cares and Craig will be taking over Joshua’s House and operating it once it is open and ready to welcome residents!

Left to right: Craig Dresang, Jose Martinez, Sister Libby, Marlene Fitzwater, Randele Kanouse, John Brown and Barbara Fitzwater

Charlotte Norton with UC Davis, has been a significant supporter and close friend, and helped us create our first Board of Directors, brought UC Davis Health in as a financial supporter and has consistently guided us in developing necessary policies and procedures.

Another person who has been a committed supporter from the beginning, John Brown, will be joining Joshua’s House as the maintenance & grounds director. He will make sure that the homes are maintained and kept in great shape and that the grounds are kept beautiful. John formerly worked at Loaves & Fishes and is so dedicated to caring for the homeless.

January Newsletter 2 1 1

In addition to these awesome folks, we have several others who have made huge contributions. Angie Strawn, is helping us develop educational agreements with local universities and colleges for medical, nursing and social work internships and practicums. She also started Hats for the Homeless which is providing homeless adults and children with warm and colorful knit and crocheted hats. Barbara Fitzwater, will develop our Volunteer Program, and Randele Kanouse, has created a program to acknowledge and honor the residents of JH who are veterans. Christine Brenna helped to create and plan fundraising events as well as completing training to be an End of Life Doula at Joshua’s House, and Kris Kington-Barker created and trained our first End of Life Doulas.

I would also like to thank Perry Communications Group – Drake, Julia and Kassy – for their great work to help promote Joshua’s House and build community support!

And we welcome all our new Natomas community Board members who will help us make 2023 our best year ever!