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Sacramento homeless community bracing for more bitter cold temperatures

Despite an agreement to address homelessness between the City and County of Sacramento, none of the solutions will be complete by this winter.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — More permanent, supportive housing solutions are on the horizon in Sacramento County – but nothing that will be complete by this winter.

The City and County of Sacramento have passed a first-of-its-kind agreement to partner on homelessness solutions, but that doesn’t solve the immediate needs of the 9,300 people experiencing homelessness throughout the county.

Between the City and County, there are only about 2,400 shelter beds – not including temporary cold-weather overnight shelters –  with some 1,100 provided by the City and 1,300 by the County.

“It’s hella cold outside,” one man told ABC10.

He said he’s known as just “KC” and lives outside, near Sacramento City Hall. He said he has been homeless since he was 11.

“The last little rain storm that they had…The water’s going all around me; it came up under my tent and started soaking everything from the bottom-up, so for the past four of five days, I’ve been soaked,” he said. “This s**’ts not cool. It sucks. I mean, it sucks. You get wet, you can’t get dry.”

ABC10 spoke with Debora Dickson near City Hall as well. She said she’s been unhoused for about five years.

“Now it’s really gotten cold, so I have to get inside,” she said.

She’s said she’s using one of the temporary overnight shelters on these cold nights.

The City has two of them: one at the Outreach and Engagement Center at 3615 Auburn Boulevard and the other at the North Fifth Street Shelter at 700 North Fifth Street. Both are accepting walk-ins, open for overnight guests 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. and currently set to close after people leave on Friday morning.

The County has one temporary overnight winter shelter for walk-ins, with the Department of Human Assistance Office opening its lobby at 1725 28th Street from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Dozens of people have sought nightly refuge at these three shelters on these recent cold nights. Sacramento County also has a motel voucher program and temporarily expanded its capacity by 30 beds at the North A shelter. Both of those temporary cold-weather responses are referral-only.

All these options, however, are just temporary.

A couple of the County’s tiny home projects—approved over the summer and originally slated to open around now—have been delayed. That means no additional permanent, supportive housing is expected to be available to house people this winter.

ABC10 asked KC what he’d like to say to City and County leaders.

“You’ve guys got hella open lots, so start putting those little tiny houses on them so we could be inside,” he said. “I think it’d cut back on seeing us in the public eye.”

Adding housing benefits not only those experiencing homelessness—but also anyone who sees these tent communities as a public eyesore and safety or health concern.

For KC, the cold weather is a threat to his health.

“I got hit by a car, like, six, seven months ago and my immune system is hella low, so I’m more susceptible to catch pneumonia,” he said.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect the correct number of beds available in the county. 


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