SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg is looking at ways to increase the number of people experiencing homelessness that are admitted into a homeless triage center.
On Monday, Steinberg announced the possibility of more shelters in the form of “sprung structures” to be installed throughout the city.
Hot meals, mental and physical health services, and housing opportunities are made available at the Railroad Drive triage shelter, which has been operational since December. The once-controversial shelter will remain open for at least three more months after an announcement by the mayor.
“Homelessness does not have to be hopelessness,” said Steinberg.
The mayor’s office is scouting potential vacant lots for two locations in the city where “sprung structures” or large pop-up tents housing 200 beds each, similar to what’s used in San Diego and San Francisco, could be used to house homeless.
“We want to be a part of the solution and not part of the problem here,” said Sacramento City Councilman Jay Schenirer.
Other council members are on board with the plan. The startup money coming from a $1.3 million donation from Sutter Health.
“Every neighborhood sees the impact of homelessness,” said Sacramento City Councilman Eric Guerra.
Thanks to another $1 million donation from Sutter Health, Steinberg says the railroad shelter will stay open until at least September.
“We will continue to refuse anything, but real progress,” said Steinberg, “until this problem is much better.”
According to city data, over the last six months, more than 309 people have been enrolled at the shelter, with 79 of them being placed in a housing situation.
“I think that a lot of the biggest fears that people had did not come true. I think a lot of the greatest hopes that people had also did not come true,” said Larry Glover-Meade, the Woodlake Neighborhood association president.
He says they’ve embraced the shelter, but have experienced some struggles with an increased transient population.
“Business owners were faced with people asking how do I get in the shelter? How do I get in the shelter?” said Glover-Meade.
He warns that any proposed temporary shelter may remain for a while.
“The city doesn’t have a firm plan to close a shelter,” said Glover-Meade, “I think they’re hoping for a lot of money to come into play.”