Roseville/Placer News

Placer County supervisors approve homeless shelter extension

Placer County supervisors have agreed to extend for one year a permit allowing a temporary emergency homeless shelter at the Placer County Government Center in North Auburn.

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted 3-2 to continue its agreement with Right Hand Auburn to operate the shelter through May 31 of this year, or until a new contract is approved by the board. The supervisors also authorized continued funding of up to $90,080 to reimburse Right Hand Auburn for a portion of the cost of shelter services through the end of May.

Board members previously applauded the service provided by Right Hand Auburn and Volunteers of America but wanted to have an open competition to ensure the best operation and best use of taxpayer dollars, according to a county news release.

Extending the permit for use of the government center site through March 31, 2017, gives the county time to explore other shelter options, said Chris Gray-Garcia, county spokesman. The county’s homeless populations are clustered in three general areas: the Roseville-Rocklin area, the Auburn area and the Lake Tahoe region. In February, the board directed staff members to develop a plan that would provide consistent services in each area.

The board’s action Tuesday also calls for staff members to propose changes to county zoning ordinances that would allow more areas to be considered as possible permanent shelter sites. The board is expected to take up those and a potential new agreement for continued operation of the temporary shelter in coming months, officials said.

Supervisors Kirk Uhler and Jim Holmes cast votes against the actions approved Tuesday. Uhler argued that the current shelter has too great an effect on the north Auburn area.

Uhler noted that the county owns land in the Roseville area.

“We could easily set up temporary barracks in tent-style fashion there, that allow for 24/7 opportunities for people to stay and receive services,” he said in a written statement. “And we can do it in a different location, on property we already own.”

The board in February 2015 approved a temporary conditional use permit to allow the shelter to operate in old barracks at the government center. The temporary emergency shelter opened for public use on June 1. By the second week of operation, it was filled to its approved capacity of 49 people nightly, according to a county staff report. The shelter provides homeless people in the Auburn area with prepackaged meals, showers and referrals to local social services.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy