SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A massive plan to address homelessness in Sacramento was hotly debated Tuesday night before going up for a single vote to give the city manager authorization to self-execute the plan.
The plan was workshopped over the past seven months by city leaders, advocates and community members, and, in the end, City Council unanimously voted to move forward.
From the start, Mayor Darrell Steinberg said the city's master siting plan to address homeless wasn't meant as a cure to the problem. There's an estimated 10,000 people experiencing homelessness in Sacramento.
"There is no perfection here, but we wanted to do was address the volume! Try to address the numbers!," Mayor Steinberg said.
That massive plan was hotly debated.
It called for 20 temporary Safe Ground shelter sites, which include campsites, tiny homes, and emergency shelters in the city. A bulk in the W/X corridor, North Sacramento, or near and along Stockton Boulevard.
There are also comprehensive temporary housing programs like large campuses, motel conversions or vouchers, and built-in Good Neighbor policies to ensure safety and cleanliness.
For many homeless advocates and some who work near the proposed sites, it sounds like a leap in the right direction.
"Something for them to have like some kind of stable home in the area, to me, would be beneficial for everyone," said Josh Bryan an employee at Hayes Bros. Auto and Glass.
But other public commenters worry of unintended consequences, which included crime or environmental impacts and the unfair burden some neighborhoods will carry by hosting most of the sites.
"You are considering a plan that will lay the foundation for a skid row on the X corridor!" said Michael Malinowski, in a public comment during the meeting.
Some say the plan is bold, but they were also concerned that it was weak in details, oversight and long-term solutions and services for the unhoused. For people seeking motel vouchers, the plan didn't have housing models to serve high service need individuals and lacks case management for those requiring long-term assistance.
City Council members said this is just one step in many and continue to forge ahead in developing affordable housing and implementing the plan while refocusing efforts on racial and geographical equity.
Councilmember Mai Vang said there was a racial disparity in the plan, adding that no sites were located in affluent neighborhoods.
16 sites were previously identified for short-term solutions. The sites are as follows:
- 24th Street/48th Ave
- 29th Avenue Site
- 63rd St/21st Ave
- 3331 Fruitridge Road
- Roseville Road RT Parking Lot
- Colfax Yard
- Eleanor Yard
- Public Agency Owned Lot at Rosin Court
- Larchwood North
- North 5th street Shelter Expansion
- Through 4e - Under w/x Freeway
- Florin Road Station RT Parking Lot
- Franklin Blvd RT Parking Lot
- Meadowview Village
The plan calls for $100 million over two years. It would tap into new state and federal resources. The source of funding has not been finalized.