As I know you all are aware, Sacramento has a homeless crisis. Over the past few years, the problem has become increasingly worse, expanding from the banks of the river into almost every neighborhood in the city, including our own. It is a problem that I believe is a great risk to the city, not only to our financial/economic future, but to our very core values as a community.
City Council, led by Mayor Darrell Steinberg, has adopted a strategy of locating at least 100 shelter beds in each City Council district. The challenge, as you can certainly imagine, is finding sites to locate these shelters.
Most Sacramentans want the challenge of homelessness to be met; however, few are happy about the possibility of a shelter in their neighborhood. That is why I have been so pleased, although not surprised, at the overwhelming support from Curtis Park residents when I recently proposed placing a shelter on an unused Caltrans lot between Broadway and X Street, just west of Alhambra Boulevard. More than 180 people attended our first meeting.
The shelter will not be a walk-up facility, but will house at least 100 individuals experiencing homelessness who are currently residing within a twomile radius of the shelter. All guests must receive services by referral. Based on our 15-month experience running the city’s North Area shelter, we have a successful strategy to take folks off the street and move them into permanent housing and employment.
The shelter operator/provider will be responsible for 24-hour security and coordinating a full range of services for the guests, including health, mental health, employment and other items necessary to support the transition into permanent housing and a better life. In addition, my hope is that the shelter can create learning opportunities for our young people working with the many schools in the area.
To mitigate shelter impacts in the neighborhood, the city will increase solid-waste pick-up and police patrols in the area and provide a Downtown Streets Team – 12 individuals residing in the shelter and working 20 hours per week to clean trash, graffiti and illegal dumping in the immediate area and surrounding neighborhoods.
I ran for City Council to help improve our city and meet the challenges before us. Homelessness is a challenge that we must surmount if we are to be successful as a community and create a city where all Sacramentans can thrive.
As always, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts and questions.