More than 200 area residents filled Sierra 2’s Curtis Hall for the Oct. 23 forum on homelessness. They heard from Councilmember Jay Schenirer and a dozen city, county and resource agencies about outreach programs in progress and the needs yet to be filled. Residents’ questions ranged from barriers the homeless face in obtaining shelter and opioid addiction to what happens when people refuse services. The focus was how to help solve problems.
The panelists talked about the number of people they have served, the costs of some services (such as manned portable toilets previously offered by the City), and what they foresee happening once additional funding is available for programs, such as Whole Person Care.
Schenirer emphasized the need for additional housing. He said the City needs about 3,000 units of housing built per year, but is instead seeing 300 units.
Sacramento Steps Forward CEO Ryan Loofbourrow highlighted his agency’s lack of capacity and requested that anyone with property or housing units who would be willing to partner to provide housing to the homeless to reach out to his group.
Housing is not the only challenge for the homeless. Some do not seek shelter because their pets or opposite sex partners cannot stay with them. Others have had negative experiences in shelters and do not want to return.
The forum, sponsored by the Land Park and Curtis Park neighborhood associations, was meant to begin the conversation between residents and those who serve the homeless population. It was meant to dispel rumors and inform the community about programs in progress. It was good start.
—By Stephanie Duncan Special to the Viewpoint