Sacramento city officials send outreach team to connect homeless to COVID-19 services

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – The majority of trailers provided by the state to shelter the homeless population in Sacramento during the pandemic are still vacant.

“The trailers currently are the highest level of care and they are intended for folks who either have a COVID positive test, are under investigation or have known exposure to somebody,” explained Emily Halcon, the homeless services coordinator with the city of Sacramento.

There are 63 trailers currently at Cal Expo. Yet, only five people from the transient community are using them.

“Their low occupancy really is a reflection that we haven’t had that many folks in the homeless community yet diagnosed,” Halcon told FOX40.

Motel rooms have also been made available for lower-priority cases or those who may be vulnerable to the novel coronavirus.

As of Monday, one motel is housing 32 households, meaning 32 rooms with some rooms having more than one person.

A frequent question to FOX40 from members of the homeless community is how to tell the city or county that they need help.

Halcon said there are 37 members of an outreach team looking for those who need that assistance.

“So, the outreach teams have the ability to assess you for your vulnerabilities, what underlying health conditions you have, age, et cetera,” explained Halcon. “They also have the ability to bring in mobile health partners, UC Davis medical students, mobile integrated health units, to actually assess your physical state. So temperature checks, what’s going on with your current symptoms, and make a recommendation to what level of service you might need.”

Halcon said those in the homeless community who do not come across an outreach member are encouraged to flag down local law enforcement as a back-up.

“This is a very different type of intervention. So, for some folks who have resisted in the past maybe this will be what’s attractive and then start them into a different path. That would be great,” said Halcon.

The trailers at Cal Expo, although provided by the state, are now owned by the city of Sacramento. The city will have to figure out what to do with them after the crisis.

City officials say hopefully starting next week, homeless community members will be able to dial 211, the city’s information line, to find out more about how they can get assistance during the pandemic.

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