North Sacramento Winter Triage Center for Homeless Scheduled to Open Soon

NORTH SACRAMENTO -- Crystal Farnshaw spends most of her nights walking Del Paso Boulevard, looking for any way to make money to feed herself.

She says arson by her old roommate left her homeless about 18 months ago -- a secret she's keeping from her solider son.

"My grandchildren are growing up without me," she said.

The 65-year-old is hopeful about warm nights with food and facilities at the winter triage center the city of Sacramento is planning to open on Railroad Drive Dec. 8.

She's hopeful, but wary of the large 200-bed environment many area homeowners have complained about.

Sheltering with that number of people in one place has left her in a bad way before.

"It caused me to become very ill. I tore the lining of my stomach coughing," she said.

Monday night, Farnshaw added her voice to the latest community meeting about Mayor Darrell Steinberg's three phase-plan to address homelessness.

That plan starts with winter triage.

"My question is, how will Sacramento deal with the defecating and urinating problem since if you have no money you are not allowed to use any facilities?" Farnshaw said.

With that, she tried to tackle one of the circular problems she feels keep communities away from the solutions they desire most.

"Is there going to be a curfew at all," asked another man.

"The intent is that there will be a shut down to people at a certain hour, 8 to 9 p.m.," said Emily Halcon, the city's homeless services coordinator.

Halcon and the assistant city manager were peppered with different concerns in exchanges that were much more civil than in earlier forums.

The community -- which has loudly expressed its dismay at being tapped for a total of three homeless centers -- was upset that the point of this latest meeting was missed - the chance to question Volunteers of America.

VOA will be running the winter triage center for the city, but was not present because the operations details have not yet been finalized 11 days out.

Home and business owners at the meeting did learn that the site on Railroad has been changed from the warehouse at 1900 to the one at 2040 and that the contract will only be four months long.

City staff reiterated that through overtime, the equivalent of four extra city officers will be added to security efforts around the center and that 500,000 economic incentive dollars will be pumped into the area.

That's to help balance what many fear will be a drain on an already troubled neighborhood.

Farnshaw hopes what's ahead will be the answer for her because homelessness is taking its toll.

"I'm very unsure anymore," she said. "I'm very unsure."