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Sacramento City Council approves plan to open warming shelters year-round despite weather

Sacramento normally only opens warming shelters when temperatures are freezing. Tuesday, the City decided to now keep them open no matter the weather.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A $3 million plan to keep overnight shelters open year-round regardless of the temperature outside passed unanimously Tuesday by the Sacramento City Council. 

Previously, Sacramento County would allow emergency warming centers to open if there is a day of rain combined with nighttime lows of 32 degrees or colder.

Bob Erlenbusch, executive director of the Regional Coalition to End Homelessness, spoke in favor of the city council's plan to help get those off the street. "We as a coalition have always felt the current weather criteria are random and frankly inhumane," said Erlenbusch in a statement.

The Sacramento City Council resolution also directs staff to look into opening more warming centers in neighborhoods outside of downtown.

The Sacramento Homeless Union launched a recall campaign against Steinberg after it was reported that multiple people died during a storm at the end of January.

Anthony Prince, a lead organizer for California Homeless Union, told ABC10 he believes warming centers are not enough to address thousands of homeless, including an estimated 700 children unsheltered in Sacramento.

Sacramento's two overnight shelters currently are funded to operate from about 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. City officials estimate about 1,200 shelter beds are used within the county, which is about 20% of the number of homeless in the area.  

Sacramento officials estimated that the warming shelters were used over 1,200 times since January with about 80 people per day

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