SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A measure that would allow the City of Sacramento to provide more shelters for unhoused residents, but at the same time allow officials to clear more homeless encampments, will remain on the November ballot after a 7-2 vote from the city council Tuesday night.

The Sacramento City Council voted to advance the Emergency Shelter and Enforcement Act of 2022 during a special meeting Tuesday night, which was also the first in-person meeting of the council since the pandemic. The measure would require the city to open about 1,100 new shelter beds or spaces while homeless encampments will be allowed to be broken up.  

However, the entire project is contingent on the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors approving similar actions in order to work in tandem with the city to tackle homelessness in the region.

The measure was first approved by the council in April and has now been revamped in the latest vote. One of the changes in the measure is how many shelters the city can provide. Previously, the measure would base the percentage of shelters required based on the county’s latest official count in the homeless population. 

Tuesday’s amendment is based on the city’s homeless population, resulting in a smaller number of shelters that would need to be provided. 

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said he wants to keep the measure on the ballot on Nov. 8. 

If voters approve the measure in November, it would go into effect only if Sacramento County leaders agree to do their part in providing certain services for the unhoused population. To make the ballot measure valid, city and county officials agree to have certain roles to address homelessness in their jurisdictions. 

As of this week, the county supervisors have not voted on any action regarding working together with the City of Sacramento.

At the Tuesday meeting, some members of the public asked the city council to dissolve the measure, arguing the ordinance would be against people’s rights and that it will shuffle people around, rather than establish more permanent assitance.

Homeless advocates argued that homeless camps should not be removed until there is enough housing. 

Just to put a finer point on the fact that we’re not going to be able to do this alone. You know, I mentioned we have over 1,100 shelter beds here. We’re spending, on average, between $33 million and $40 million a year to maintain these beds. And for us to move forward with our current initiative and not have additional support from the county, the state and even the federal government, it is a recipe for failure.

Sacramento City Manager Howard Chan

Homelessness in Sacramento County

In a June report issued by Sacramento Steps Forward found that the number of unhoused people in Sacramento County rose by more than 60% between 2019 and 2022. The report was based in part of a “point-in-time” count in February.

Sacramento Steps Forward said there were 9,728 unhoused individuals in Sacramento County, up 67% since 2019. 

The 2022 point-in-time count found that 72% of the unhoused population were living out of tents, cars, or were otherwise unsheltered. The remaining 28% slept in emergency shelters, utilized hotel programs, or were in transitional housing.