Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sacramento County may close three VOA shelters with 346 beds

Facing a $180 million general fund shortfall for the county, Department of Human Assistance Director Bruce Wagstaff has proposed cutting off funding for three Volunteers of America-run shelters. The three shelters are Winter shelter at Cal Expo, and the two Aid in Kind shelters on A Street and Bannon Street, which in aggregate provide 346 beds to the homeless.

This news comes from a first-page article in today's Sacramento Bee, "Proposed Sacramento County cuts would close 3 homeless shelters".

Mayor Kevin Johnson Johnson said the decision "is penny-wise and pound-foolish" and "could set back the progress we are making" on the issue of homelessness. The mayor has made [quoting the article paraphrasing Johnson] "finding beds for the city's homeless one of his top priorities." Of course, the city's mayor has no authority over nor direct influence with county officials.

According to the article,
The cuts in shelter programs would save the county about $1.5 million. Wagstaff said he hopes that about $4.5 million in federal stimulus money targeted for homeless programs will help make up for the county cuts. Those programs will focus on "homeless prevention" and "rapid re-housing" and not shelters, he said.

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