You don't have to feel helpless when you see a less fortunate person bearing the winter elements with no place to go.

There are many people who don't have a home, which can prove especially difficult during cold and rainy winters. On any given night in Sacramento County, its estimated there are about 2,650 people experiencing homelessness, according to the City of Sacramento. Roughly one-third of those people are unsheltered.

Northern California is experiencing an unusually stormy winter with heavy rainfall, strong winds and flooding over the last few weeks. It's not ideal weather for anyone to be outside, especially not overnight.

The good news is, there are options for the homeless in Sacramento to stay safe during a storm or on a freezing night.

A new temporary homeless shelter opened Wednesday at the Stanford Settlement, a non-profit in the Gardenland near Garden Highway. The city and county raised $110,000 this week to leave the shelter open through April. It houses and feeds up to 25 people and will only be open on nights when the weather is expected to drop below 40 degrees or a rain storm is expected to last two or more days, according to Sacramento County. The location is by referral only through outreach.

The City of Sacramento, in partnership with Sacramento County, also launched an pilot expansion program by opening a Weather Refuge Center during periods of severe weather. The program opens a center on days when the Pilgrimage Rotating Center isn't open and overnight temperatures are forecasted to drop below 40 degrees.

Currently, the Weather Refuge Center is located at South Side Park at 2107 6th St. It provides a heated indoor space with blankets, water, hot chocolate and snacks. There's limited space available for people with pets.

Another helpful option to consider is Winter Sanctuary, a Sacramento Steps Forward program. The rotating overnight winter shelter is available for single homeless adults. It's open from the Monday before Thanksgiving through March 31 at participating houses of worship throughout Sacramento County.

The Winter Sanctuary program provides transportation at three pick-up locations, as well as food for the evening and a light breakfast in the morning.

If you'd like to search for a warming center or need up-to-date information about the Weather Refuge Center, visit 211 Sacramento or call 2-1-1. The service has cold weather homeless resources and more information that could be helpful for the homeless.

If you know someone who is experiencing homelessness in Sacramento and want link them to services, contact:

Sacramento Steps Forward


City of Sacramento, Homeless Services Coordinator


If you feel a person is in need of medical assistance or danger during severe weather, call 9-1-1.

Check out the table below for the City of Sacramento's list of homelessness emergency services, including number of overnight beds in a shelter.