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Sacramento Homeless. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Sacramento’s ‘Solutions’ and $pending are Growing Homeless Population

It appears that the City of Sacramento is investing in growing the homeless population, rather than eradicating it

By Katy Grimes, November 4, 2021 8:23 am

In January 2018, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg announced he wanted to order 1,000 tiny homes to shelter the homeless.

In 2019, Sacramento officials announced a plan to open cabin-style shelters with services for 100 homeless people somewhere in North Sacramento.

“In summer 2020, he renewed the call for 500 tiny homes. There are about two dozen tiny homes sheltering homeless young people in North Sacramento, but the promise has largely not come to fruition,” the Sacramento Bee reported.

“Sacramento is home to more than 6,000 homeless, vagrants, and drug addicts living on the street,” the Globe reported in 2019. Today that number is more than 11,000 vagrants, and drug addicts living on the streets.

Homeless tents under Sacramento freeway offramp. (Photo: Katy Grimes for California Globe)

In 2015, the City published a report admitting to spending more than $13.6 million annually to address homelessness. “According to the 2015 Point-in-Time Homeless Count for Sacramento County, on any given night, approximately 2,650 people throughout Sacramento County experience homelessness. Over the course of a year, it is estimated that over 5,000 people will be homeless for one or more nights in Sacramento.”

It appears that the City of Sacramento is investing in growing the homeless population, rather than eradicating it.

In 2019, then-City Councilman Allen Warren, whose district the cabins would 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.

It was evident that 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 chose 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 at the time, which the city then strangely closed. There were 37 people staying at the shelter at the time in 2019, which housed 200 at its peak.

At the time, Steinberg said city resources were needed 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. 37 more people/

The City Council put “resources” into a $23 million, 180-bed temporary homeless hotel, located in the old Capitol Park Hotel downtown, where more than 90 elderly and disabled people had lived but were booted out. Apparently the city’s “resources” justified the $128,000-per-bed cost at the Capitol Park Hotel shelter.

The City continues to renovate Motels and hotels for homeless.

Flash forward to 2021: “The city plans to place new tiny homes at several North Sacramento sites and under the W-X freeway, part of the City Council’s $100 million Comprehensive Siting Plan to Address Homelessness, but it’s unclear when they will open,” the Sacramento Bee reported this week.

The trailers and tiny homes were “not appropriate” for emergency use during a storm, city spokesman Greg Fishman said. “The city opened two respite centers for the storm, including one at City Hall, and the county opened three.”

The Sacramento City Council unanimously adopted a plan in August to create “more than 5,000 beds, roofs and safe camping spaces to mount a comprehensive response to the growing crisis of homelessness.”

“The plan is the product of more than six months of intensive outreach and work by the Mayor’s Office, City Councilmembers and City staff. Now that Council has approved the list of sites and strategies, it will be the job of City staff to carry them out,” the City explains on its website.

As City Councilman Sean Loloee recently told the Globe, he questions the spending on homeless by the city, county and state. “The proposal of $14 billion in homeless spending (by the state) – how many can we really help with that?” Loloee asked. “Or the $100 million the Mayor proposes… how many homeless individuals will that help? What is the number?”

“And is $14 billion really the number? Or is it $30 billion… or $5 billion?” Loloee asked. “Where is the study which shows why that person became homeless? Progressives say it’s because of the lack of housing. But these people weren’t homeless 5 to 10 years ago. It’s bipolar and drug addiction.”

Loloee said it is likely that the money will go towards “affordable housing” rather than to services to help identify the specific issues causing their homelessness. However Loloee is profoundly concerned with what the city is spending on “affordable housing” at $600,000 per unit,” Loloee said. “One hundred units at $600,000 per unit is $60 million.”

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7 thoughts on “Sacramento’s ‘Solutions’ and $pending are Growing Homeless Population

  1. YES, because there is money in it —– for all the wrong people. Dem politicians, un-elected bureaucrats, integrity-challenged developers, fake-helper non-profits, etc. It is BEYOND SHAMEFUL that anyone would seek to benefit off the backs of sick, addicted, mentally ill, horribly damaged people living on the streets (and the just-plain bums, of course) —– never mind the absolute refusal of our so-called “public servants” to keep public spaces free of crime and filth as they are charged to do but ARE NOT DOING and haven’t for years and years.
    Search “Homeless Industrial Complex” on this website for the basics of what is going on here if you don’t know. And search for and read all that Katy Grimes and Edward Ring and other Globe writers have written on this over the last two years.

    1. @showandtell
      Well said!
      We must address the root cause of addiction and mental health issues before locating permanent housing. Otherwise, we are just putting a roof over the head of addicts who will suffer the same fate on or off the streets.Unfortunately, many will die of drug overdoses in the privacy of their homes. They will not be rescued or saved.

      A new book written by Michael Shellenberger , (once progressive) called “San Fransicko”, has examined and thoroughly researched this issue. The author has an extensive progressive pedigree. He now acknowledges that progressive policy has increased the number of street addicts. He acknowledges that this will continue until treatment comes first.
      If the billion of dollars already spent have not solved the problem, the government must change course and truly provide compassionate care by treating addiction first!

  2. Thanks for that, Cali Girl, and for your extremely valuable additional commentary as well.
    As usual, I should add!

  3. Since he’s such a compassionate Democrat, maybe Sacramento Mayor Steinberg could invite some homeless into his Pocket Area mansion and maybe let some of them camp out in his front and backyard?

  4. Agreed the money needs to be spent on the root cause. Is there an analysis on how many addicts/mentally ill people are coming from other states, because CA is very generous with tax payer’s money.
    Governor Newsome invited all the homeless from all states to CA.

  5. Spend the money on public guardians office and institutionalized, look-down treatment centers. Reform Laternan-Petris-Short Act, Demand full auditing of the entire history of the Mental Health Services Act.

    What have we learned from the billions of dollars spent so far, besides proving the lead topic is correct- misguided efforts only grew even more street populations. Time for tough love; not more pandering. Compassion set limits. Squandering resources is not compassionate. It is aggressively fool hardy.

    Triage and stop calling this “homelessness: (1) have nots; (2) can nots; (3) will nots. Each sub-group takes a different response. Take the can-nots off the street first. Incarcerate the will-nots. Current welfare takes care of the have-nots.

    REFORM LANTERMAN-PETRIS-SHORT ACT NOW! Job one for the legislature and GovNewsom needs to come out of hiding and lead the way.

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