New Homeless Shelter, Low-Income Housing Project in the Works for North Sacramento

SACRAMENTO -- At first glance it makes a lot of sense -- put in a low-income transitional housing project at the old Lumberjack hardware store on Arden Way and a 200-bed homeless shelter and service center in the Regional Transit warehouse just behind it.

A temporary winter shelter for 300 homeless will open at another warehouse at the foot of Del Paso Boulevard just across the American River from downtown Sacramento.

"If we don't do something about the homeless crisis, it's gong to get worse," said Sacramento City Councilman Allen Warren.

Warren says the so-called homeless triage center will help people get off the streets and possibly move into the low-income housing project next to it, a developer plans to put retail space on the bottom floor.

"It's planning to invest $40 million in North Sacramento, and that's nothing to sneeze at," Warren said.

A large centralized shelter seems like a good plan.

"It'd be so much better because you don't have to be worried about them being on on-ramps or on your street corner, they're somewhere centralized, you know?" said Sacramento resident Richard Mason.

"One location would probably be the best," said Michael Hibbard, who is homeless.

Hibbard says the location near the light rail station would take a load off his efforts to find services and get off the streets.

"It's horrible just trying to find a place to eat or sleep at night, you spend all day trying to do that," Hibbard said.

Even though the area is primarily industrial, there are residential neighborhoods nearby.

"I'm going to call my real estate agent today, I'm not joking," said Darcy Wilcox, who lives in the Woodlake neighborhood.

Wilcox was alarmed after driving by the Lumberjack site and the winter shelter location and realized that her Woodlake neighborhood would be sandwiched.

"I'm really concerned about this, you know, I have little kids and it's too much," she said.

A former midtown resident, she notes how much homeless traffic facilities like Loaves and Fishes generates. She says others should share the burden.

"Does Roseville have a homeless shelter, or Elk Grove, or East Sac or anywhere else than North Sac here?" Wilcox said.

Warren agrees that regional solutions should be pursued.

"This is not a place that should attract people from all over the city," Warren said.

In fact, Warren said he only supported the triage center if it was connected to the housing development. And he says there are no guarantees that the shelter plans will move forward following public input.

"All this stuff we got to see what it is, none of this stuff is fully baked," Warren said.