By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento city leaders are calling a temporary winter homeless shelter a success after a midway report was released Tuesday.

“We have a chance, if we stick with what we know works, to make it much better,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg during Tuesday’s council meeting.

Two months in and Steinberg says there are a lot of positives coming from the temporary winter triage shelter located on Railroad Drive in North Sacramento.

“This is part of a comprehensive strategy and plan,” said Steinberg.

According to the city report, more than 260 people have entered the shelter. Most of them with some form of a disability. Of those who entered, 20 were placed in either permanent or temporary housing.

“You’ve allowed over 200 people to finally have some hope,” said Steinberg.

Police say the homeless shelter has resulted in a near 50 percent reduction of crime within a half-mile of the facility.

But members of an advisory committee say their numbers paint a different picture of the shelter’s community impact.

“We are seeing more waste and refuse on the street. We are seeing more vandalism,” Said Alicia Sebastian with the North Sacramento Advisory Committee On Homelessness.

Their group gathered data showing calls for service to private security since the shelter opened has increased by 19 percent compared to last year. Reports to 3-1-1 have increased by 88 percent since the same time period a year ago.

“There are a lot of homeowners and businesses that are feeling a greater impact and a greater presence of people experiencing homelessness,” said Sebastian.

While the shelter’s effectiveness can be debated, the self-imposed end date is nearing.

“I don’t think anybody on this city council is going to turn out 200 plus people back onto the streets,” said Steinberg.

The city was planning to purchase a parcel of land from Regional Transit, but that was put on hold. According to the mayor’s office, RT has until late March to entertain other potential buyers. After that time, they have 90 days to negotiate a sale to the city.

All options for keeping people off the streets are still “on the table” according to a mayors office spokesperson. One option includes keeping the temporary shelter open past the March deadline.

“We need to know that there is a plan that follows that. And that we have an understanding of what that wind down would look like,” said Sebastian.

The shelter costs roughly $400,000 a month to operate.

City Councilwoman Angelique Ashby said during Tuesday’s council meeting that the city doesn’t have money in the general fund to keep the shelter going much past April.

A community meeting about the shelter’s future will be held Thursday in Del Paso.


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