Sacramento mayor, city council members voice support for $62M homeless housing plan

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The Sacramento City Council is poised to approve a $62 million homeless housing plan that’s been in the works since the beginning of 2020.

City council members and housing officials got a firsthand look at the new Women’s Homeless Shelter due to open in the Meadowview neighborhood in a few weeks.

That is where Mayor Darrell Steinberg chose to lay out a $62 million homeless plan that goes beyond the 100-bed facility.

The plan includes more large shelters as well as tiny homes, manufactured homes and hotel conversions to provide both temporary and long-term housing for the homeless.

Some of the money comes from federal economic relief to cities.

“We could have chosen to spend the money on other things,” Steinberg explained. “But we chose to spend $15.6 million into combating homelessness.”

State COVID-19 emergency grants, a partnership with the county and the mayor’s private fundraising account for the $62 million figure.

The city is not a social service agency but council members say it must lend a hand to fellow residents.

“In 110-degree heat or 112-degree heat, it’s just no way human beings should be allowed live or be forced to live,” said city councilmember Jay Schenirer.

The plan targets key areas of concern by providing a center for treating meth addiction which afflicts a huge number of the homeless population and $5 million in rental assistance for those hit by hard times like the COVID-19 crisis.

“This will help us not push people into needing these types of facilities and keep them housed,” explained La Shelle Dozier, executive director at Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency.

Part of that targeting strategy is acquiring transitional and permanent housing where the homeless are already staying.

SHRA is moving ahead with plans to buy the Hawthorne Suites Hotel in the River District off Richards Boulevard where hundreds of homeless congregate in the area.

The state’s Project Roomkey program has already leased hotel rooms for COVID-19 housing and is providing money to convert them to housing.

Many of the new shelters are not for families with children.

“Hotel conversions, which are a good solution for women and children, particularly if we can place them near a good school,” said city councilmember Angelique Ashby.

Steinberg said the approach isn’t a total solution but insists it will put a dent in homelessness in the city.

The Sacramento City Council will vote on the spending package Tuesday.

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