Friday, April 3, 2009

Tentative opening of new space at Overflow is set for Apr 13.

Photo from VOA webspace showing opening day of the Winter Shelter for 2008-09.

The tentative opening date for the expanded area of Overflow [aka, Winter Shelter] is set for April 13, according to a Volunteers of America [VOA] media release. VOA operates the shelter at Cal Expo under contract with Sacramento County. We are told that five modular units have now been erected behind the main building of the shelter, to create needed additional space.

This new space will provide an area to place "as many as 50 additional beds for men and women," increasing the shelter capacity which today stands at 104 bunk-bed spaces for men and 52 bunk-bed slots for women and children.

The cost of extending the period in which Overflow is open, three months beyond its normal Mar. 31 close, is being borne by the City of Sacramento. As part of the city's effort to provide places to sleep to the growing number of homeless people in the city and county, and in light of the determination that the city will close Tent City soon, heightened demand for shelter space is expected this month.

Moving tent residents out of Tent City is an ongoing effort by the Sacramento police. When the final push will come, rousting resistant tent residents from their abodes, is unknown, but it will not occur before the new beds at Overflow are available. New-bed availability and full closure of Tent City are near certain to occur before the end of this month, a time-frame that Mayor Johnson has given. After Tent City residents are gone, SMUD and Union Pacific property, where the encampment emerged, will be fenced off.

In its press release, VOA asked for donations of cash, items on a list of things needed for the new shelter space, and time from people interested in volunteering to help at the shelter or provide services. SacHo will provide more information about this when VOA posts its donation request and list of needs at its webspace.

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UPDATE: An earlier version of this post included some computations of costs/expenses that were faulty. My bad. My apologies to VOA for putting bad information "out there" without careful checking [or, even, causual checking] of elements that I didn't understand.

-- Tom Armstrong

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Blogger Peta-de-Aztlan said...

I guess something is better than nothing...we always need more resources!!

April 5, 2009 at 5:01 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

Yes. But Overflow needs to be Overhauled.

I understand, from my friends currently with beds at Overflow, that changes are taking place and are promised. I doubt that there will be enough changes to make the place much more than a slightly-deluxed day-prison.

Overflow, like all facilities run by our metropolis's homeless-aid agencies, needs A PHILOSOPHY. There needs to be a vision of what its purpose is, other than just to trap people for a spell while they stay purposelessly alive.

April 7, 2009 at 3:03 PM  
Blogger Peta-de-Aztlan said...

I agree completely with your Brother Tomas. My own basic philosophy is based upon a genetic humane rights agenda. In a way, we are looking at building a new society out of the wreckage of this present sick society. One that creates an infrastructure helping people from the womb to the tomb. Creative early childhood education is key and a whole matrix of social services that helps us reach our full potential or at least close to it. Why have so many fallen through the cracks of the shredded social safety net?!?! Many are raised in dysfunctional families out of what is a dysfunctional society, despite its technology, in relation to instilling humane values and establishing sound humane development in its set of priorities.from the governmental level on down to the local community. I know this is an awesome task but it must begin somewhere!

April 9, 2009 at 6:09 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

I know your question is a HUGE one, that has bollixed society for a good while, but allow me to, rather arrogantly, offer some additional elements.

Why have so many fallen through the cracks of the shredded social safety net?!?!

Two big reasons that I can think of (1) We leverage unemployment against inflation, meaning we keep unemployment up to keep prices from rising too fast. This is an elegant trade-off, but it assures and maintains an underclass. (2) We employ based on resumes rather than ability. We force education attainment on jobs that don't really need it. And, we freeze people who get into a spot of difficulty OUT of the employment market. We are no longer putting THE BEST person for a job into that job. Thus, all of society suffers some inefficiency. One of the reasons this happens is because companies fear being cited or sued for discrimination, so they TOTALLY objectify their hiring, ignoring instinct or intangibles or fit or myriad other elements that aren't baldy blatent. YES, we must overcome racism and all discrimination, but putting the right person in the right job is what's good for everybody.

April 9, 2009 at 10:03 AM  

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