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Sacramento to open warming centers, options for homeless as weather gets cooler

Mayor Darrell Steinberg announced multiple options for shelter as temperatures decrease, especially at night.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento will soon open warming centers and more housing options for the area's homeless population as nights get colder this winter.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg announced on Tuesday, Dec. 15, that unsheltered people will have options, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Every life matters,” Steinberg said in a press release. “We will do all we can even with all of the Covid restrictions to provide our homeless neighbors with a warm, safe place to come inside. I urge the rest of the region to do the same.”

While temperatures have not yet hit the threshold for Sacramento to open warming centers, the city and county are preparing the options as COVID-19 restrictions prevent places from hosting large groups of people. Among the shelter options, Sacramento will expand its hotel voucher program, using $35,000 of CARES Act stimulus funds to reserve up to 50 rooms per night through the end of December. Priority of these rooms will go to families and more vulnerable people.

Sacramento will also open the Main Library Galleria in downtown as a warming center with strict COVID-19 protocols. It will be open when temperatures fall below 33 degrees and will hold a maximum of 60 people, per recommendations by the Sacramento County Department of Public Health.

The final option for shelter is camper trailers. The city currently has 62 campers being used as COVID-19 medical isolation units. Cal Expo approved the city repurposing the trailers as cold weather options for women and children when they no longer need to be used for medical use. Right now, there is no date on when these will be available.

In order for Sacramento to open warming centers, there must be extreme cold or freeze warnings and night temperatures must hit 32 degrees or less for three days.

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