The following information is a summary of information that has been shared at community meetings and from Councilmember Harris’ Office. You can also view the complete discussion from the November 20th, 2019 Natomas Community Association Meeting by clicking here.
Who will benefit from shelter’s being put on this site?
This site will be used for homeless woman and children. It will be a high-barrier shelter that will only serve women and children. The city can ensure this. To get into the shelter the individuals will need to go through an application process and city services. Individuals cannot just show up onsite and get housing.
The 2019 Point-in-Time (PIT) count accounted for 372 “families with children” experiencing homelessness in Sacramento County. These 372 households represent 20% of all persons experiencing homelessness in the county and is comprised of 451 adults and 688 children under the age of 18. An estimated half of the “family with children households” experiencing homelessness were unsheltered. The most common sleeping location for unsheltered families with children was outdoors, under highway underpasses, on the street, public parks, an encampment or in a vehicle.
Among the many negative effects homelessness can have on children and families some include parental depression, behavioral and mental health issues amongst children. Additionally, children who have experienced homelessness have greater mental health challenges, elevated lead levels and higher death rates compared to other children, including housed low-income children. Councilmember Harris understands that a stable environment is important for children during their developing years. This effort is to create a safe and stable housing environment for women and children to get access to shelter, food and services that will allow them to overcome homelessness.
What type of shelter is being proposed?
The current proposal includes:
– 49 sleeping cabins
– 1 clubhouse (kitchen facilities, community area, triage services,
study area and programs)
– 1 playground
– 3 Restroom Facilities
– Solid Waste and Recycling Receptacles throughout
– 28 Parking Stalls
– 31 On-site Street Parking
– A community dog park
What phase is this proposal in?
This proposal is just a concept. It has not been approved and the city has not allocated funding for this specific shelter. Nothing has been finalized.
Why is this being proposed so close to Garden Valley Elementary School?
The shelter site and its proximity to Garden Valley Elementary School will provide greater access to education for the school aged children experiencing homelessness. Councilmember Harris has met with the Principal and Twin Rivers Unified School District assistant superintendents to discuss this proposal. They seemed to be supportive of this effort noting that this may help with their enrollment issues. They did, however, indicate that we would have to work together to understand the impacts of children in transition on their educational model. Garden Valley Elementary School was listed as number 13 of the schools considered to close by the Student Housing Committee. A letter from the Deputy Superintendent can be found here.
Will this site be permanent?
No, the city will work with individuals to find permanent housing solutions. When the site is no longer needed the cabins will be removed and one of the current proposals is to turn the remaining structure and area into a community center.
Will there be bathrooms and plumbing in each of the cabins?
The current proposal uses movable cabins which will not be connected to plumbing. Residents will need to use communal bathrooms and kitchens. Putting plumbing into the site will increase the costs dramatically and would make the infrastructure more permanent than it is currently intended. Councilmember Harris is getting a bid on what it would cost to do this so the community has all of the information.
How is this land currently being used?
This plot of land is owned by the city and is currently vacant. There are a number of transient people currently living on this site and there are a number of street venders. Trash and drug paraphernalia are frequently found at this site and it is known for illegal dumping.
Why is Northgate being targeted for this shelter and not another part of District 3?
There are a number of homeless women and children living in Northgate. This site will only be built if it builds up the community and is added value, since the land currently is blighted and commonly used for illegal dumping. Councilmember Harris is trying to find as many available sites across his District as possible. District 3 as a whole houses more than half of the city’s total homeless population. Councilmember Harris is also proposing a site in Midtown where a Motel 6 will be converted into a housing shelter.
Will there be security?
Yes, there will be onsite security and the shelter will be ran by a shelter operator. In Councilmember Harris’ opinion the shelter operator is the most important component and he will only move ahead with this proposal if they can get an operator that has the ability to run the shelter well.
How much is the projected to cost?
The current cost estimate is $3.6 Million and $1 million/year to operate the site.
What are next steps with this proposal?
Councilmember Harris will be attending a number of meetings in January to further discuss this proposal with the community and gain community input. Information will be posted when these meetings are scheduled.