SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg believes he has solved the “Not In My Backyard” mentality that has hindered the fight against homelessness.
He is asking the city council the approve 20 new homeless facilities throughout the city with one vote on Tuesday.
The architectural plans show a combination of tent structures, tiny homes and car camping facilities with homeless services, all designed to fit in with neighborhood surroundings. If the city council approves, it will be a big green light.
“There is no reason why the 20 sites contained within this siting plan cannot be up and running in some form within months,” Steinberg said.
Steinberg says the plan is a breakthrough that could get 10,000 people off the streets in a year.
“In our view, it’s a con job,” said Anthony Prince, with the California Homeless Union.
The homeless union says the $100 million price tag could be used to build real homes instead of temporary shelters. They are also concerned that homeless people will be forced into facilities against their will.
“The next step is to legislate an obligation to accept whatever the city says where someone has to go and that’s not acceptable to us,” Prince said.
Steinberg says he will move ahead with an ordinance to obligate homeless people to accept shelter that is provided to them.
“Ultimately, the individual has the obligation to come indoors if they are presented safe and dignified alternatives,” Steinberg said.
Safe Ground shelter manager Seven McClain has spent years on the streets and says many people can’t or won’t follow shelter rules, like curfew hours and anti-drug policies.
“You might have some that will want to go to better themselves, but a lot of other ones want to be on their own and do what they want to,” McClain said.
The plan’s tiny homes feature appeals to Sherry Hogan, who has been homeless for five years, since it would allow for some independence.
“You still have your individuality. I hope it will be like that because I need my own space,” Hogan said.
Steinberg and others say many more will accept the new shelters than will refuse.
“It will be a good thing. You’ll get a lot more people off the street,” McClain said.
“A lot of people are looking for help, so I really do think it will be successful,” Hogan said.
The money for the plan will come from a combination of city, state and federal dollars.