Shelter For The Homeless In Sacramento Shows Promise


An idea by officials of Sacramento that would see homeless people protected from winter weather while awaiting more stable shelter has yet to come to fruition. The “triage” shelter that is located in the northern part of the city is operational and some of the city’s homeless have benefitted but the program as a whole has been the source of disappointing results.

The shelter was opened on December 8th and has housed over 250 of the city’s homeless population. The homeless services coordinator for the city, Emily Halcon, said that 48 people have left the facility on their own while only eight individuals have been transitioned to housing units as originally planned.

Halcon explains that the biggest obstacle for the program has been the lack of affordable housing available to the homeless population of the city, many of which are afflicted with mental health and addiction problems.

Halcon cites the evidence of her assertion as the recent action on the part of over 7000 people in the city to sign up for a subsidized housing program. Halcon explains that individuals forced to live in the shelter provided by the city are at a disadvantage in regards to being accepted for these subsidized housing programs because often times other applicants have more resources such as steady employment and transportation.

Halcon still feels that facility has been a great asset to the homeless as it operates 24 hours a day and provides meals and bathroom facilities for a number of people who would not normally have access to such things.

Christie Holderegger of Volunteer America, the organization that is contracting with the city to run the shelter points to the case of three individuals living in the shelter with a combined 120 years of homelessness between them as evidence of the need for the shelter. Holderegger reports that between the three individuals there have been nearly 400 emergency room visits and 39 arrests.

Holderegger says that the facility has employed service providers to help guests of the facility deal with the many health and addiction problems that in many of their cases have been the source of their present situation.

Halcon says she is proud of the level of service provided at the facility but states that some of the guests need a higher level of support than what the facility is capable of offering and that more investment should be made to support individuals suffering from mental illness.