Council Votes to Keep Homeless Triage Center Open Through Winter Months

SACRAMENTO -- Dan Butters is one of more than a hundred people staying at a homeless triage center in North Sacramento.

He’s relying on the shelter to get back on his feet.

"Pretty much, I lost my job at Walmart in 2016 and we had to, unfortunately, come out on the streets and we lived in these various encampments that you see," Butters said.

The shelter was originally supposed to shut its doors on Dec. 31 but the Sacramento City Council voted Tuesday to keep the Railroad Drive center open through the cold winter months.

“We have a potential six-month lease negotiated to keep the shelter open," District 3 Councilman Jeff Harris said. "The council adopted it. We are going to go ahead and do it."

Staff at the center say they’ve served more than 600 people over the course of a year, half of those people being over the age of 50.

“What we’ve found at Railroad is if we can get people into the shelter, get them stabilized, it's amazing what having meals and warmth and safety and hygiene will do to a person," Harris said.

Harris says the city will work on ramping down capacity to no more than 100 people.

Now, Mayor Darrell Steinberg is asking city council leaders in each of the eight districts within the city to find 100 additional beds to shelter the homeless.

"People worry about having an aggregate of homeless people in their neighborhood, I understand that completely,"  Harris said. "But if we all share the burden and we make it less of a burden and we scatter it around town then nobody can really complain, 'Well, you’re dumping it on us.'"

Inevitably, helping people like Butters until they are ready to make the leap toward finding permanent housing.

"We just got our housing voucher so, hopefully, we won’t be staying here much longer," Butters said.

The anticipated closing of the shelter is in April 2019.

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