City Council approves using Capitol Park Hotel as temporary shelter
The conversion of a downtown single-room-occupancy hotel to a temporary homeless shelter will go forward after a unanimous vote Tuesday by the Sacramento City Council.
The city will partner with the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency and Mercy Housing to use the Capitol Park Hotel at Ninth and L streets as a temporary Rehousing Shelter for about 18 months starting this summer while Mercy nails down funding to convert the building into permanent supportive housing.
Capitol Park Hotel has 180 rooms, but only half of them are occupied. SHRA officials stressed that the existing residents would receive extensive relocation services, will be given a choice of where they live and won’t face a hard deadline for moving out.
“There’s not going to be some fell swoop where we say you have to leave,” said Councilmember Steve Hansen.
A $13.7-million loan from the City’s Innovation and Growth Fund would help Mercy buy the property, which it would then lease to the city. That loan would be paid back when the hotel is converted to permanent housing. The City would spend about $10 million to operate the shelter, which would offer wrap-around services like those currently offered at the Triage Shelter on Railroad Drive.
Mayor Steinberg said the hotel represents an unusual opportunity for the city to open a shelter quickly and recoup the cost of acquiring the real estate.
“Construction costs for the shelter will end up being virtually zero,” Mayor Steinberg said. “That’s really noteworthy.”
The Council also approved the use of $1 million developing scattered site shelters in leased homes around the city. Up to five people would live in each home, which would be staffed by a monitor around the clock.
Tuesday’s vote followed a Council vote in March to spend about $9.4 million to open a Rehousing Shelter on an underused parking lot on Ethan Way and create a 12-bed shelter in midtown for LGBTQ youth.
On Tuesday the Council also designated other potential shelter sites and programs that could potentially be funded if the city receives an additional $11.5 million expected to come from private donors and new state allocations.
These include a new Rehousing Shelter in the south area on an as-yet-identified site and a proposal by Councilman Jay Schenirer to erect a shelter on a piece of Caltrans land on under Business 80 near Broadway and the W/X Corridor.
Homeless Services Coordinator Emily Halcon also recommended the city open an interim shelter for short-term emergencies like bad weather, when beds in other shelters aren’t available. Unlike the city’s rehousing shelters, this one would not offer case management and health care services. It could serve as a referral site to help guests enter re-housing shelters as space becomes affordable.