Friday, March 20, 2009

Tent City campers to be rousted; Overflow closing date to be extended three months

A Bee article by Cynthia Hubert, today, tells us,

Homeless campers who live inside Sacramento's tent city will be asked to move to shelters and other indoor structures, officials said Thursday. Responding to growing concern and criticism about the burgeoning homeless encampment north of downtown, Mayor Kevin Johnson announced a plan to move as many as 150 campers to "safer, more sanitary" grounds.

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District, which owns the bulk of the tent city property, plans to fence off the area within the next month ...

[Mayor Johnson's] plan, to be brought before the City Council on Tuesday, calls for relocating the campers to various types of temporary and permanent indoor housing, including existing shelters and modular buildings at Cal Expo.

Funding for the project will include local redevelopment money, Johnson said. He said the exact costs and funding mechanisms will be laid out Tuesday, and that he is confident the money will be available. ...
Here is the agenda for the City Council's special 2:15 meeting this Tuesday, Mar. 24, that is alluded to in the Bee article, quoted above. This public meeting follows a closed meeting of the council.

Men who stayed at Overflow last night tell me that the facility's manager, Mr. Neto, announced yesterday evening that Overflow would be extending its closing date three months from March 31 to June 30. Overflow, which has more-formally been known as Winter Shelter, is a facility at Cal Expo that has been shelter for 104 men and 52 women and children since it opened on November 24.

In fiscally normal times, Overflow has operated for the five months from Nov. 1 to Mar. 31. This year, Overflow opened late, due to funding limitations, and was going to close early, because of that same reason. It received a reprieve when Sierra Health Foundation awarded a grant to Volunteers of America, which operates the facility, allowing the facility to close at on its usual March 31 close date.

Apparently, now, due to the general increase in area homeless folk, and specifically due to the mayor's new effort to close Tent City, Overflow is to be kept open an additional three months.

UPDATE: According to a KCRA report, paraphrasing Mayor Johnson, The city has asked Cal Expo to add 50 more beds to Overflow, and to extend the time when the sheltered must leave the facility to 10am. Cal Expo has also been asked to consider providing a tented area. In a picture at the KCRA webpage, Libby Fernandez, executive director of Loaves & Fishes, is seen standing close to the mayor, who is standing at a podium.

What effect all this will have on the effort to create a permanent homeless tent village in Sacramento is not known.

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