An estimated 2,500 people are homeless in Sacramento.
Now, the city and county are trying to work together to get these individuals into housing.
A Tuesday evening joint meeting will bring city and county leaders to discuss a new proposal: freeing up 200 city public housing units and 600 county housing vouchers for the homeless and the at-risk.
“This could really kick-start a larger effort to make some significant progress in housing. We know the solution to homelessness is housing, so having access to permanent subsidized housing units is critical,” said City of Sacramento homeless services coordinator Emily Halcon.
At the same time, Sacramento city councilmembers are proposing solutions of their own to alleviate the problem.
Councilmember Allen Warren has offered up a five-acre parcel of land he owns in North Sacramento to be used as an encampment, supported by social services.
“A lot of the folks around here have people frequently in their garbage cans, in their alleyways, sleeping on the side of their homes, so my thought was if we could put people in a more dignified, centralized location, then we could bring supportive services to them,” Warren said.
To date, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg has not embraced the idea of lifting the city’s ban on camping. Warren says he is still developing the details, however, given the severe need this winter.
“I think you know a couple of people have died recently at City Hall,” Warren said.
Meanwhile, councilmember Jeff Harris has parked a pre-fabricated, mobile housing unit outside City Hall for elected officials and the public to tour.
Harris says the city could potentially use public housing vouchers to help pay for these units – a solution that would be more affordable than building traditional housing.
“Of course, the two big questions are how much does it cost, and where will it go? And I understand that curiosity,” Harris said. “As far as cost, we don’t have a lot of money to build a big development. It’s very costly and the entitlement process and the time are really a key factor.”
Halcon says the focus at Tuesday’s meeting will be on reallocating the public housing units and vouchers currently available, but says “any type of housing is up for discussion.”
“We recognize there’s a need for crisis services,” she said.