City Council approves plans to build new shelters in Meadowview and under W/X Freeway
After hours of passionate debate, the Sacramento City Council Tuesday approved the siting of new homeless shelters in Meadowview and under the W/X Freeway near Broadway and Alhambra — moves that could soon boost the city’s inventory of service-rich shelter beds to more than 600.
“Over time, these 614 beds will allow us to translate the hundreds off the streets into thousands,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg.
A new Rehousing Shelter for women and children on Meadowview Road is expected to open in time for winter. A Sprung structure can be erected quickly because the parking lot is owned by the city and has connections to utilities and sewer.
The W-X Rehousing Shelter will serve a general adult population and could be open by this spring, said Councilmember Jay Schenirer.
The approximately $8.7 million needed to build the two shelters will come from a combination of state funds and Measure U revenues previously set aside by the City Council to address homelessness. Mayor Steinberg said he expects operating funds to come from a second round of state HEAP funding expected to total $14 million from the city. The mayor said he would also be seeking to raise millions of dollars in additional private funding.
Council members voted 6-3 in favor of building the 100-bed shelter for women and children on Meadowview Road. Researchers from Sacramento State University told the audience that the recent Point in Time Count for 2019 found 1,150 women and children living outside or in cars. Councilmembers Angelique Ashby, Larry Carr and Allen Warren voted no.
Carr, who represents Meadowview, opposed the shelter, saying he does not believe low-barrier Rehousing Shelters should be located in neighborhoods.
Council members voted 7-2 in support of building the shelter proposed by Councilmember Schenirer for a piece of Caltrans-owned land under the W/X Freeway at Broadway and Alhambra. The 100-bed shelter has broad support among business groups and non-profits in the vicinity, though it is opposed by St. Hope Public Schools. Councilmembers Larry Carr and Angelique Ashby cast the two no votes..
A sizable population of chronically homeless people already camp in and around the site.
“We were elected to make hard decisions,” said Councilmember Schenirer. “These are hard decisions….At the end of the day, if we’re not going to take care of our neighbors, who will?”
These new shelters will envelope residents with services, including mental health and substance abuse, to help them stabilize their lives and move them to permanent housing. They will come with an increased budget for law enforcement in the vicinity and cleanup by the non-profit Downtown Streets Team.
“These low-barrier, service intensive, 24-hour shelters change lives,” said City Councilmember Steve Hansen, whose downtown district will soon have a 180-bed shelter opening in September in the former Capitol Park Hotel.
In addition to approving the two large shelters, the City is also in the process of repurposing 184 traditional beds in two existing shelters owned by the county in the River District to accept people with their pets, partners and possessions and to offer the services and housing placement that are proven to work in getting people into permanent housing. It is also working with St. John’s Program for Real Change and City of Refuge to provide $1 million for 40 additional family shelter beds, and on plans for 40 units of scattered site housing.