“Sacramento officials are planning to open cabin-style shelters with services for 100 homeless people somewhere in north Sacramento by mid-March, and could also open warming centers to shelter homeless individuals this winter,” the Sacramento Bee reported Wednesday.
The cabins will be in North Sacramento.
City Councilman Allen Warren, whose district the cabins will be located in, had proposed that the city build a development for 700 homeless and low-income people – a mixture of cabins, tiny homes, tents and traditional permanent housing. Warren had identified a vacant lot, the former site of the now closed Harmon Johnson Elementary School.
Sacramento is home to more than 6,000 homeless, vagrants, and drug addicts living on the street. One Sacramento homeless dies at least every three days on the street. While that number has not been updated, anecdotal evidence suggests it’s closer to daily deaths of homeless.
It is evident that while Councilman Warren attempted to actually solve some of the problem with his idea for some sort of shelter for 700 homeless people. Instead, Mayor Darrell Steinberg prefers to buy individual cabins from Seattle area-based Pallet, or from local builders, the Bee reported… for 100 homeless.
The City had been relocating some homeless to a North Sacramento shelter, the only city-run homeless shelter, which closed in May. There were 37 people staying at the shelter at the time of the closure, which did house 200 at its peak.
Steinberg did not want Railroad Drive to close before a new shelter is open, but said city resources now need to go into opening new shelters.
“I have fought successfully to keep the Railroad shelter open since last June,” Mayor Steinberg said. “It was scheduled to close June 30 and I said no no no and now we have gained an additional 10 months as a result and more people have been helped and been served,” the Bee reported in April.
The City Council put those “resources” into the $23 million, 180-bed temporary homeless hotel, located in the old Capitol Park Hotel downtown, where more than 90 elderly and disabled people lived but were booted. Apparently the city’s “resources” justified the $128,000-per-bed cost at the Capitol Park Hotel shelter.
As Sacramento temperatures currently hover near freezing, and it is raining daily, the city is reportedly considering opening warming centers this winter for the first time in three years, Steinberg said. But the warming centers previously opened only when temperatures hit freezing for three consecutive nights, an apparent standard.
Apparently, freezing temperatures are acceptable for two consecutive nights for people living unsheltered on the streets, and only the third freezing night triggered the opening of the warming shelter.
The city-run Railroad Drive warming center was a low-barrier center, however, it also was the only facility that triaged the homeless.
Steinberg said the warming center was a success. But the City closed it, and has not reopened another, despite the success and triage services.
“In the nearly 17 months the shelter has been open, 161 people got into permanent housing after leaving the shelter, while 82 went to temporary housing, mostly other shelters, according to city data through April 24,” the Bee reported.
The biggest problem Sacramento has is where to locate these shelters; no one wants a large tent of drug-addicted homeless vagrants living in their neighborhood near schools, parks, sporting fields and markets. The city could use the massive old SleepTrain arena (away from residential homes), or the old McClellan Air Force Base, closed in 1995 due to Base Realignment and Closure.
Instead, the Mayor and City Council, continue to look to residential neighborhoods for sheltering homeless vagrants.
As for the 100 cabin-style shelters, a SacBee.com reader summed it up best: “Making a huge story out of a possible 100 homeless being relocated to some kind of an enclosure which is of course in North Sacramento only shows again the complete lack of understanding of the gigantic homeless problem in this community! How will those ‘cabins’ be apportioned? How will the residents there be served? How will those same residents be protected?”