Sacramento County to Launch First "Safe Stay" SiteJun 15, 2022 12:00AM ● By By Janna Haynes, Sacramento County
SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - The Board of Supervisors approved Sacramento County’s first proposed “Safe Stay Community” for persons experiencing homelessness. The new concept community will open at 8144 Florin Road, on the corner of Power Inn and Florin at the former site of a now razed grocery store. The site will house up to 100 Pallet sleeping cabins – both single and double occupancy, bathrooms, and communal gathering spaces. At any point in time, it can shelter up to 125 people.
The Board originally heard this item at its April 26 meeting but voted to delay the item six weeks to allow for more community outreach and engagement.
Safe stay communities are temporary shelter settings for unhoused community members. These communities are built as a safer and more sanitary environment and offer critical services oriented towards exiting to permanent housing. Each site will include 24/7 security, case management services, on-site power, sanitation and food services. The County will develop good neighbor policies for the operator and occupants.
“This is an important first step in implementing Safe Stay Communities throughout the County,” said District 2 Supervisor, Patrick Kennedy. “This project will ensure people experiencing homelessness in the area will be put in a stable environment and are connected to services to help get their lives in order. We are fully committed to making this and other Safe Stay Communities a success for our neighborhoods, business districts and our homeless neighbors.”
Guests for every Safe Stay Community will be brought in from the immediate neighborhood, not only providing direct relief to the community, but providing local and dignified shelter in an area the guest is familiar with.
The County is concurrently standing up Encampment Services Teams who will connect people living unsheltered into the communities and are already providing deeper connections to County behavioral health services, connection to benefits like CalFresh, CalWorks, Medi-Cal, etc., linkages to longer-term shelters, and flexible funding to help support individuals’ transition into permanent housing. Ultimately, all sites should be considered as a stepping stone to stabilize and support individuals on a pathway to permanent housing.
“It is vital that we get this right, both in terms of ensuring the surrounding community feels listened to, and to best serve our unsheltered constituents,” said First District Supervisor Phil Serna who represents the north side of Florin Road in the area where the Safe Stay campus is proposed. “It is absolutely incumbent that the ‘Safe Stay’ campus be a great neighbor to nearby residents, businesses, educational campuses, and places of worship. It’s why that as the third vote to approve the county’s first ‘Safe Stay’ site, I was insistent critical ‘good neighbor’ policy elements be adopted.” said Supervisor Serna.
While homelessness can be successfully addressed by providing stable, affordable housing, combined with appropriate support services, this approach can take many years. Safe Stay Communities provide immediate safe and hygienic locations for persons experiencing homelessness to live and access services. The communities also provide a consistent location for service providers and outreach workers to engage on a more regular basis with occupants.
Additionally, some of the broader community benefits anticipated by having this safe space community include a reduction in trash and debris, the mitigation of environmental and health hazards, and the ability to restore land previously occupied by unsanctioned encampments to its intended use.
Work will begin on the site in the near future, including the assembly of the cabins, followed by additional infrastructure, such as electricity and sewer, through the summer/fall - we anticipate moving guests sometime in November if there are no delays. For more information on Safe Stay Communities, read our “Safe Stay Community FAQs.”
For more information about Sacramento County’s response to homelessness, visit www.saccounty.gov/Homelessness/Pages/default.aspx .