SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Walking the streets every day with only your own thoughts for company is something David said can get him down. He’s a lifelong Sacramento resident who’s been unhoused for two-and-half years and said he tries to achieve at least one goal a day, but it’s not always simple.

“Mentally, when you get into a crisis of being homeless, you get so stuck in the rut of doing the same thing over and over again,” David said.

However, David says there is something that helps his mental state. The sight of someone bringing a smile and a hot cup of coffee on a cold morning to help him and other unhoused people in the city start their day.

That someone is Sister Libby Fernandez, who runs the nonprofit Mercy Peddlers and has been working with unhoused people for over 20 years.

“She’s such a pleasant person, such a pleasant spirit, and everything about her is wonderful,” David said.

The Mercy Peddlers are comprised of over 100 volunteers from all walks of-life, from lawyers to high-school kids. They help unhoused people where they are, as many find it difficult making it to physical locations where help may be.

“We bring coffee and hygiene items — soap, shampoo, hats and gloves — but we try and get a dialogue of, ‘How can we help today?’” said Sister Fernandez, a Sister of Mercy.

Sacramento has experienced a surge of unhoused people and now has an unhoused population greater than San Francisco.

More important, Sister Fernandez said, than the physical items they provide is the connection the Mercy Peddlers make with unhoused people that may feel mentally defeated.

“We all feel that we are in a trust environment where it’s safe and that you can trust the person that you’re talking with. So, that they’re not full of stories or even trying to pull one over you. And once you establish a real sense of trust, care, then you can go deeper into how to help someone,” she said.

David said his goal of the day is to visit the DMV and focus on staying positive.

“Oh man, it’s a, it’s a must [to stay positive],” he said.

With people like Sister Fernandez, David said he’s optimistic the DMV is just the first of many positive steps to finding a true home again.