Sacramento City Council Discusses Ways to Shelter Homeless Before Winter Hits

SACRAMENTO -- Four months ago, dinner would have looked different for Ella Mollique and her mother. There would have been two china plates on a dinner table at home instead of paper ones at a free community meal served on the grounds of Sacramento's City Hall.

Four months ago Ella and her mother weren't homeless.

Ella Mollique says homelessness has made her feel "stressed out."

Being evicted after complaining about repairs their landlord wasn't making at their Stockton Boulevard apartment is what Mollique says paved their route to living in shelters and relying on others for food.

That's why Mollique is behind the support council members' voiced Tuesday for city staff's work on proposals that could add 300 beds to existing shelter space available for the winter months.

The plan in the works could spend almost $1 million county and city dollars on beds to be opened up by First Step Communities and a yet to be determined group that could replace the current winter sanctuary.

"It's a start, but that puts it into more shelters right, but that's only a temporary solution," said Les Light, a community dinner volunteer.

A repeat critique among homeless advocates. Council members did encourage city staff to keep pursuing a possible, more permanent offering -- a 24/7 triage shelter that could service 200 men and women.

"I worry often that we're gonna set down a path, that we won't, that people will depend on us, and we won't have the resources to meet their need. Makes me nervous, makes me lose sleep. Doesn't mean we don't do it, but it means we have to have the right partners in place," said Councilwoman Angelique Ashby.

Costs in the first year could run close to $6 million between construction and operation.

An estimated 2,000 people are unsheltered tonight in Sacramento.