SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. — Sacramento County supervisors heard from neighbors and business owners about a proposed "Safe Stay Community" in North Highlands.
The board approved the money last week to buy the site, and are weighing thoughts from community members as they figure out the best ways to run the shelter.
Sharing their stories, struggles and their concerns, dozens of people showed up at the North Highlands Community Center, thrusting the homeless crisis into the spotlight.
Watt Avenue in North Highlands is the site of the county's third proposed "Safe Stay Community."
"I think it's a possible solution, one of many. There's no be all, end all solution to homelessness. It could be a good first step," said Shirley Marimee, of North Highlands.
Mark Lum, who lives near the proposed site, agrees, saying that it has benefits.
"I think when we're dealing with record numbers of homeless people, anything is beneficial," Lum said.
A "Safe Stay Community" is also known as a sanctioned encampment.
It's a temporary shelter setting that is intended to be an interim solution between living on the street and living in traditional shelters - without the risk of being arrested or cited.
The site will be fenced off and supervised. Pets are allowed, food is provided and people living there will be connected to other services as a stepping stone to more permanent housing.
Leaders said they've learned from pushback they got on the first two Safe Stay sites and are weighing those concerns as they move forward with the third site.
Now that the nearly $23 million for buying property is approved, the sale is currently being finalized. Meanwhile the Safe Stay site proposal will return to the Board of Supervisors in two weeks with more specific recommendations from staff on the design and operation of the site.
The two other Safe Stay sites in the works are at 7001 East Parkway and at Florin and Power Inn roads. Both are planned as tiny home communities—different from the Watt Avenue location.