Wednesday, June 10, 2009

County Board of Supervisors meeting on shelter situation [and more] tomorrow

There will be a meeting of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors at 9:30, tomorrow, Thursday, to discuss matters relating to Human Assistance and Health And Human Services, in context of the 2009-2010 county budget gap of $180 million.

The meeting will be at 700 H Street Suite 1450; Sacramento, CA 95814 [map] [agenda].

Funding for General Assistance, Mather Community Campus, Homeless Shelters, and Primary Care are important topics of the meeting, which will allow members of the public to address the board for several minutes, each.

It is expected that many homeless-aid and -advocacy people will be at the meeting to give their points of view, pressing for restoration of funding (or to find funding in forthcoming stimulus monies) for programs that are scheduled to end or be significantly cut on July 1. It is expected that many homeless people will be at the meeting and that many will address the board, as well.

Of prime interest is the shelter situation beginning on July 1. Winter shelter is neither funded after June 30, nor funded for the winter of 2009-2010 [approx Nov 15, 2009 - Mar 31, 2010]. Funding ends for VOA's 'A' Street and Bannon Street shelters on July 1; they are set to close.

The following are SacHo's ideas on how to bridge the forthcoming shelter shortage in these dire economic times. [These ideas would help a lot, but there must also be provisions for winter.]:
  • Have Loaves and Fishes fund a 125-bed shelter at either A Street or Bannon St. that is no-frills, 8:30pm-to-6:30am, just "dinner, sleep and simple breakfast." This is the type shelter that upward-striving homeless people need and that will do for the needs of many who are snared in homelessness (until housing becomes available). L&F has been stockpiling funds the last two years and can easily afford to meet its mandate and fund this program (instead of immorally sitting on the money it has).
  • Create a small encampment of tents [for ~30 select people] where a building was raised in the L&F facility. Again, L&F has been stockpiling funds and can now, in hard times, fund this effort.
  • Allow Union Gospel Mission to expand their number of beds [from ~80 to 120]. [UGM had once requested an expansion to 200 beds that the county denied.] There are space constraints, but, perhaps, men could sleep in the dining room on mats the county could provide and homeless people's property could be kept in a locked shipping container that the county could provide in property adjacent to the mission, on property owed by the county.
  • The Board of Supervisors should designate areas in the county where homeless people may pitch tents without fear of being rousted by police.

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