The City of Sacramento is spending more than $44 million to provide eight homeless shelters and camping options, most not yet built or ready, and three Project Homekey motel conversions. According to city officials, “most of that comes from state and federal grants that are not certain year to year.”
This homeless spending comes on the heels of city residents learning that waste collection services are going up drastically: 4.0% increase for recycling, 4.50% increase for garbage, 20.50% increase lawn and garden, and 7.0% increase for street sweeping.
Senate Bill 1383, authored by then-Sen. Ricardo Lara and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2016, requires organic waste (food waste) be recycled to reduce methane, “climate pollutants” and greenhouse gas emissions in landfills.
Sacramento County has more than 11,000 homeless living on the streets and in the parks, and all shelter beds and spaces are full on any given night.
The Mayor and City Council now calls Sacramento’s drug-addicted, mentally ill homeless vagrant population the “unhoused,” “people experiencing homelessness,” “guests,” and “our unhoused neighbors,” as if these really are our neighbors who were just one paycheck away from living on the streets. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Despite the uncertainty of ongoing funding, the City is planning on these various shelters into 2023. “We think for 2023 we have pulled together the funds to cover the shelter piece, from both the State Homeless Housing Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) grants and by redirecting some funds within the Department of Community Response budget.
While the city’s total siting plan involves 20 potential sites, City staff said they are currently focusing efforts on eight sites, “that have shown the most potential for development and activation. Some of these sites have been added to the plan in recent months.”
This is the status of the eight proposed and existing homeless sites:
- Joshua’s House is a private hospice facility not yet built on a city-owned lot in North Sacramento. The developer recently applied for a permit and the site could be up and running late this year.
- Miller Park Safe Ground is a 60-tent low barrier shelter has been opened since Feb. 8. It has already served approximately 140 people, 25 of whom have moved on into positive settings.
- Auburn Boulevard Respite Center is sited at the former Science Center Museum. It is in use now as administrative space for Hope Cooperative and Department of Community Response outreach teams. It is ready to be used as a respite center for adverse weather conditions.
- North 5th Street is an existing 104-bed shelter which, under the siting plan, has been expanded to 145 beds and will add another 18 in July for a total of 163.
- Downtown Service Hub is an unnamed location that is the subject of ongoing negotiations to purchase the building and use it as a central hub for homeless and the service providers who work with them.
- Colfax Yard is a vacant city-owned vacant lot not yet ready for official use being used now as an unsanctioned parking spot by homeless. The State Water Board ordered an environmental clean up for longer-term, sanctioned safe parking. The homeless there now will need to vacate.
- Roseville Road RT Station is currently used unofficially by homeless parking vehicles. The city is working on a three-way agreement among the City, RT and Cal Trans. When completed, that agreement will allow between 50 and 70 vehicles to safely park there.
- The 102-acre Job Corp site was recently purchased as federal surplus land, not accessible yet. In the short term, the site requires new road access and other improvements before part of it could serve as a safe parking site.
Currently available shelter for homeless totals 164 spots according to this list – 104 actual beds, and 60 tents in a public park.
Sacramento has more than the 11,222 homeless people accounted for Sacramento in 2019-2020. Where are they sleeping? We don’t know how many are sleeping in their cars in designated parking lots, and other default parking locations.
Again not yet ready or opened are three Project Homekey motel conversions, La Mancha, Vista Nueva, and Central Sacramento, the City is working on with the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency on, expected to provide more than 300 rooms to be used mostly as supportive and transitional housing.
Last month the Globe reported that Sacramento city manager Howard Chan warned the City Council that future funding for the city’s existing homeless shelters was uncertain, even as the City Council was pushing to open more large homeless sites to address Sacramento’s growing homelessness crisis.