As residents of North Sacramento continue to express concern over the city’s plan to open two homeless shelters in the area, Mayor Darrell Steinberg said this week that the city could open another shelter across town.
Steinberg said the city is in talks with the Sacramento City Unified School District to open a shelter in the former Florin Adult Education Center at 2401 Florin Road in south Sacramento. A city staff report earlier this year identified the site as one of seven around Sacramento that could be considered for a shelter and said the building could accommodate between 60 and 70 homeless individuals. The facility would include on-site services designed to quickly move homeless individuals into permanent housing.
Steinberg and other city officials pledged last week that North Sacramento would not be the only neighborhood asked to house new shelters as the city grapples with a growing homeless population. The mayor revealed the Florin Road site during a tense City Council meeting Tuesday night during which more than two dozen North Sacramento residents expressed anger with shelter plans in their area.
“The reason I mentioned the (Florin Road) site is because I was listening and respecting the views I was hearing from the North Sacramento community,” Steinberg said Wednesday. “It’s one thing to promise that there are going to be other sites. It becomes more credible when you specifically name another site.”
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The mayor added the Florin Road building “is not the only site that we’ll be looking at.” Steinberg said there is “no final agreement with the school district,” but he had an “extensive conversation” about the idea this week with city schools Superintendent Jorge Aguilar.
Last week, Steinberg and Councilman Allen Warren said the city was moving forward with a 24-hour winter shelter with 300 beds in a warehouse on Railroad Drive, a dead-end street off Del Paso Boulevard in North Sacramento. The city is also looking at opening a 200-bed shelter a mile away, next to the Woodlake neighborhood, in a space owned by Regional Transit. That shelter would include on-site services and operate 24 hours a day.
In an attempt to address fears from residents near any proposed homeless center, Steinberg said the city will increase its contributions to neighboring business districts or neighborhood groups that provide maintenance in those areas. He said the city will also beef up law enforcement presence in those areas and provide homeless people with transportation to and from shelters “to minimize foot traffic.”
The south Sacramento site is on a busy stretch of Florin Road, surrounded by businesses and close to Luther Burbank High School and a light rail station. Corey De Roo, executive director of the Florin Road Partnership business association, declined to comment on the proposal.
Councilman Jay Schenirer, who represents the area, said exploring the site is “the right thing to do and we will have to do a good job of outreach to the surrounding community.”
“We should be looking at spreading the responsibility for shelters throughout the city,” he said.