County Homeless Center Idea

The Sacramento Bee editorial comments on a good idea, but only serving 75 people hardly qualifies it as a serious move considering there are estimated between 2,000 to 3,000 homeless in the County, with only a few hundred or so beds available now.

The model we have found that has applicability to Sacramento is the Haven for Hope program in San Antonio Texas, which we wrote about and is posted on our website news page as Homeless Transformation Campus, September 28, 2015.

An excerpt from the Bee article.

Sacramento County will consider creating a shelter modeled after the Navigation Center in San Francisco.

Where a school once stood in the Mission District, there’s still a sense of waiting for the bell to ring. Pale yellow portables ring a courtyard with benches and tables, shade tents and potted trees. It’s impeccably clean and quiet in the middle of a Friday.

But instead of desks and whiteboards, the portables contain sturdy cots, freezers full of packaged meals, a dining room, meeting rooms, laundry facilities and showers. In one corner of the lot, a line of five shipping containers holds the possessions of 75 homeless men and women who used to live in one of the many encampments spread throughout the Bay Area.

The Navigation Center and a sister operation several blocks away gave city outreach workers enough space and credibility with homeless people to fully clear several tent cities so far, said Sam Dodge, deputy director of San Francisco’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. The model’s success led city leaders to approve more centers, three of which will open this year.

After removing a homeless encampment from a park along Islais Creek, “It’s a public place again,” Dodge said.

That idea appealed to Sacramento County Supervisors Phil Serna and Don Nottoli, who have struggled for years with the impact of homeless campers on the American River Parkway. The two supervisors on Friday toured the Navigation Center in San Francisco along with county staff, Director of Homeless Initiatives Cindy Cavanaugh and Ryan Loofbourrow, head of Sacramento Steps Forward, the county’s primary homeless services coordinator.

At Tuesday’s Sacramento County Board of Supervisors meeting, Cavanaugh will outline an ambitious plan to move Sacramento’s homeless population into housing that includes a facility modeled after the San Francisco program, dubbed the Full Service Rehousing Shelter.

The county “has looked at the San Francisco model for the Full Service Rehousing Shelter because of the success they have had in engaging people who have been homeless for a long time in services and housing,” Cavanaugh said. “The approach meets people where they are and offers respite and stability so people can take the next step.”

Three other proposals are part of the package – redesigning the family emergency shelter system, sustaining long-standing programs at risk of losing federal dollars and launching a Flexible Supportive Housing Program that pairs housing with mental health services and addiction treatment for those facing the biggest obstacles.

The county price tag for all four is slightly more than $3 million in new spending for 2017-18 and $5.4 million annually thereafter. Sacramento County is also counting on help from Sutter Health, the federal government and general funds dedicated for Sacramento Steps Forward.

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
This entry was posted in Government, Homelessness. Bookmark the permalink.