Sacramento Continues Struggling with Homelessness

A reminder that the biggest problem facing the Parkway is the devastation caused by illegal camping by the homeless, as well as the related public safety issues Parkway adjacent neighborhoods have to contend with, so this article from the Sacramento Bee noting the ongoing struggle to resolve the larger problem remains relevant.

An excerpt.

For at least seven months, the city of Sacramento has searched without luck for locations to open new homeless shelters, scouring parcels of land it owns and private properties for suitable places to put more facilities before winter.

Late last week, with cold weather moving in, Mayor Darrell Steinberg said an existing triage shelter currently housing up to 200 people in North Sacramento will need to remain open in coming months while city leaders continue their debate about where and how to house the city’s unsheltered population.

Steinberg said that debate needs to include a plan to put shelters across the city rather than clumping them in low-income neighborhoods, and he has asked council members to commit to housing at least 100 homeless people in each of their districts next year, either in scattered small residential shelters or larger facilities.

“It must be a fair approach. It shouldn’t just be one area of the city,” Steinberg said in an interview with The Bee on Thursday night. He publicly announced the plan during a news conference outside City Hall on Monday, feet away from homeless people who were bundled up and lying down on the cement.

The city’s current triage shelter on Railroad Drive in North Sacramento opened last December and was originally slated to close at the end of May. Its operation has been extended multiple times, despite opposition from some neighbors.

Steinberg also said he would like three of the new facilities to be “Sprung” shelters, similar in size to Railroad Drive, and be open by the end of 2019. Sprung shelters are semi-permanent, tent-like buildings that can be erected in a matter of weeks.

The name refers to the manufacturer Sprung, which offers “tensioned fabric structures” for a variety of uses, from military bases to churches and homeless shelters. The Sprung structure model has been credited with helping to reduce the homeless population in San Diego.

Steinberg said in May he planned to open a Sprung structure on city-owned property by September that would have sheltered up to 200 homeless individuals, and eventually planned on opening three such sites to house up to 600 people. Previously, he said the tents were a key element of his promise to get 2,000 people off of the streets by 2020. Steinberg reiterated that goal Thursday.

“I refuse to continue to preside over modest success,” Steinberg said. “We’ve helped hundreds, and now it’s time to turn it into thousands.”

But the city so far has been unable to find any locations that meet both the technical requirements of the Sprung tents and has neighborhood support.

Retrieved December 4, 2018 from

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.
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