It is always a good idea but one much better handled by private enterprise on a small scale rather than large apartment buildings, such as this one reported by the Sacramento Bee, being forcibly inserted into neighborhoods already struggling with transiency.
“Directly adjacent to the downtown railyard that was a destination for generations of itinerants, Sacramento dignitaries this week dedicated an eight-story tower with 150 residential housing units for the homeless and working poor.
“The building at Seventh and H streets also contains a new WellSpace Health clinic on the ground floor to provide low-cost care for tenants.
“Nonprofit developer Mercy Housing California, which operates more than 100 low-income apartment buildings across the state, said it worked with WellSpace Health, Sutter Health, the city, bankers and the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency to get the 150-apartment tower and health clinic built.
“Half of the apartments are reserved for “previously homeless guests” said Sister Libby Fernandez of Loaves and Fishes, a major provider of homeless services nearby.
“”This is a beautiful space where guests can come and find community, health care services and behavioral health support for a clean and sober life,” Fernandez said.
“The other 75 apartments are designated as “workforce housing” for people whose wages are so low that they cannot afford rent at market rates.
“Becky Collins, property manager of the 7th and H Street Housing Community, said the mix of residents supports the “goal of providing a sense of commitment, friendship and holding each other accountable.”
“Homeless-service providers selected the first tenants with an eye toward those they thought would succeed in a residential living environment. Residents have to commit to not using alcohol or drugs.
“The federal government contributed half the money for 7th and H in the form of federal housing tax credits, said Doug Shoemaker of Mercy Housing California.
“Some of the remaining funding came from Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act approved by California voters in 2004, said Claudia Cappio, executive director of CalFHA. Proposition 63 is a 1 percent tax on Californians who make more than $1 million to fund mental health services….
“Sacramento City Councilmember Steve Hansen predicted the surrounding Alkali Flat neighborhood where he lives will come to embrace the 7th and H project as an asset, despite the neighborhood’s sometimes tense relationship with the homeless population that patronizes Loaves and Fishes.
“It’s not an easy sell,” Hansen said of adding permanent homeless housing to a community somewhat weary of transients in its midst. “But the people who will live here are proud, respectable people joining a neighborhood that prides itself on its identity and history.”