Harmony Village Resident Meeting

April 21st, 2021 was the first Resident Community Meeting with Harmony Village Partner Families, Sutter County Public Health and Habitat for Humanity Yuba-Sutter. This first meeting we were also joined by a special guest, Sutter County Sheriff’s Office Deputy and Peace Officer of the Year, Andre Licon.

Ymelda, Sutter County Homeless Services Coordinator, started the meeting by addressing the tragic loss of Andrea, the scheduled on-site case worker for Harmony Village. Andrea had a heart for the work she did and wore it proudly on her sleeve. All the clients she was serving at Harmony mourned alongside her co-workers and family. The Habitat team was grateful to have known her for a short time and extends our condolences to all that loved her. Roberta D’Arcy PHN has stepped in for the interim as they rebuild their team.

The intention of the meeting is to build an open dialogue with the residents, Habitat for Humanity YS, Sutter County and participating partnerships. As Ymelda stated, “Harmony Village is the first of its kind, very-low income housing in our community. There are many people and organizations involved and we want to hear from you what is working and why it is. We all want you to succeed. “

Aside from the on-site case management services, Sutter County Public Health has committed to provide resources and interventions, including the flowing:

• Diabetes management, Oral Health, Tobacco education

• Flu shots during flu season

• Education and prevention on Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV

• Linkages with Sutter-Yuba Behavioral Health

• Homeless prevention, crisis resolution support

• Public Assistance Specialist to assist residents with application for different public assistance programs, including CalFresh and Medi-Cal

Sutter County Sherriff Deputy Licon recognized many faces at the meeting. His first comment was how great it was to see everyone smiling, happy and home. He went on to explain Law Enforcements long running history with the location. On average, they received 8 calls per month and every officer knew this address by heart. Since Habitat opened Harmony Village in December of 2020 they have received 2 calls, neither of which directly related to the tenants at Harmony Village. The amount of time saved by multiple City and County resources is already a measurable outcome.

Deputy Licon created an open dialogue, answered questions and even shared his gardening tips for what the residents can do with their own community garden. His primary intention seemed be letting our Partner Families know that their community is proud of them. He acknowledged each person for their hard work and it was evident they all felt like they were being seen in a whole new light, even in their own eyes.

John Nicoletti asked Deputy Licon how City/County leadership as well as Sutter County Board of Supervisors felt about Harmony Village and everyone that lived there. Deputy Licon answered with zero hesitation and crystal-clear authenticity, “When the community was upset about this project it was because they didn’t know what we did. The problem was already here and this was a chance at a solution. All of you being here have made this part of Sutter County 100% better. The Sutter County Board Supervisors are proud and grateful you’re all here and so is local law enforcement. What you are all doing is creating a better life for yourselves and showing your community that these programs can help with long term successes.”

When the meeting finished Deputy Licon stayed long after to talk one on one with anyone that wanted. A Habitat staff member walked up while Deputy Licon was talking with John, a Harmony Village Parter Family. John explained to Habitat staff that he was recovering from a stroke, hence his hand shake wasn’t what it used to be. He went on to tell stories of how Deputy Licon would come to the river bottoms often and every time he was there John always felt he was seen as a person, not river trash. “This guy didn’t come down just to yell at us to move, he came to check on us. When they (Sherrif’s Dept) were there for problems they would come talk to us that were down there doing good and staying out of trouble. He would encourage where to get help.” John beamed with pride when he said how happy he was Deputy Licon gets to see him get his life back on track and that this is just the beginning.

Thank you Deputy Licon for your Leadership and treating every member of the community with humanity, while upholding the law. You more than deserve the honor of ‘Peace Officer of the Year’ and we appreciate you investing your time with us at Harmony Village and all of the residents.

Without question we thank County of Sutter, CA for believing in and partnering with Habitat for Humanity YS for HomeKey funding. Ymelda, your staff is incredible and we are grateful to your dedication for those you serve.It takes a Village to create Harmony and these residents have many partnerships investing in their success. The residents are also investing their ideas, time and skills to creating a community that is a positive addition to Sutter County.

Habitat for Humanity Yuba-Sutter