Sacramento City Council votes to declare homeless shelter crisis

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The Latest on the vote (Jan. 14, 3:50 p.m.): At Tuesday afternoon’s meeting, Sacramento City Council voted to declare a homeless shelter crisis. 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The city of Sacramento will vote on whether it should declare a homeless shelter crisis.

If it does, that could make it easier to build shelters within the city.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg says he wants to cut through the red tape that is slowing the construction of homeless shelters.

“You know, we’re being very assertive and aggressive about trying to solve this problem through a variety of means,” Mayor Steinberg told FOX40. “Experimenting with these efficiency homes, these smaller homes.”

Next Tuesday, the City Council will vote to declare a homeless shelter crisis, which if approved, could pave the way for a plan to place cabin-style shelters on private property in North Sacramento.

“If we’re going to get to the volume that we need in this community to address homelessness, to address the affordable housing shortage, we need to be innovative,” Steinberg said.

The declaration allows the city to get rid of certain environmental review requirements and changes the building code standards. It will allow the city to streamline construction and get shelters up faster.

It also allows shelters without electricity and restrooms to be built, which technically violates city code.

“Get around, if you will, some of the state regulations that make it more difficult to build efficiency housing,” Steinberg explained.

But the mayor said just because they are built quickly does not mean the shelters will not be safe.

“Quality must remain the first priority and, obviously, health and safety first,” he told FOX40. “So, we’re not talking about shacks here.”

If approved by City Council, a staff report says the cabin-style shelters could be up and running by April.

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