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Sacramento approves two dozen cabins for homeless youth

The city recently declared a shelter crisis, launching a renewed effort to acquire adequate shelter for homeless residents. The project will cost about $5.6 million.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento City Council approved unanimously on Tuesday emergency housing for youth aged 18 to 24, kick-starting a pilot program to provide sleeping cabins to individuals experiencing homelessness.

Following the cabins' approval, the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency [SHRA] will begin by contracting First Step Communities [FSC] to implement 24 cabins for up to 48 individuals. 

SHRA and FSC intend to add an additional 26 cabins for 52 individuals in the future. In total, the two agencies aim to provide 100 shelter beds.

"There's nothing we can't do if we are all working well together, as we are here," Mayor Darrell Steinberg said.

Sacramento recently declared a shelter crisis, leading to a renewed effort to acquire adequate shelter for the city's homeless population. Similarily, on Dec. 5, Governor Gavin Newsom launched an 100-Day challenge for all California cities in an effort to jump-start action on homelessness.

RELATED: Cabins for homeless youth proposed next to Sacramento Church

With the 100-Day deadline quickly approaching, the Housing Authority had identified a vacant lot on Grove Avenue, perfect for launching the pilot program. 

This community would provide emergency housing for unsheltered youth who may be referred through the U.S. Department of Education's Performance Partnership Pilots for Disconnected Youth (P3) Program.

The program has been described as an offshoot of Sacramento's Five Point Plan on Homelessness, which city council passed in October 2019.

"This is just a starting point for all of the Five Point Plan to be realized," said Councilmember Allen Warren, who represents the district where the sleeping cabin community will be located.

RELATED: For Sacramento's 5,500 homeless residents, only 1,420 shelter beds available

The city of Sacramento would work to transition those participating in the program with permanent housing within six to 12 months. The project would also include portable restrooms and showers, office space and meals brought onsite.

The Emergency Bridge Housing at Grove would also link individuals to educational opportunities, job skills and training, and financial literacy education.

The idea is to first provide shelter to transitioning youth, offer stability to those individuals, then transition them to permanent housing with the necessary job and education skills to stay off the streets. 

Other agencies in Sacramento are keen on helping further the cause. For example, SMUD has donated 50 portable AC units for the hot summer months.

In coordination with the local community, on-site security and monitored on-site video cameras will be active at the Grove Ave. site. The Housing Authority also plans to be in close communication with city police in the area. 

The estimated cost of the project is $5.6 million. City Council agreed to provide housing as soon as possible with an initial loan of $1.9 million from the General Fund.

These funds will be repaid when the city receives its allocation from the Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention Program (HHAP), a statewide program that allocates funds to local governments to address homelessness challenges.

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