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Sacramento City Council Votes To Put Homeless Initiative That Would Create Thousands More Shelter Beds On November Ballot

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) -- Fewer than four days after the mass shooting that's rocked the city, the Sacramento City Council held a hastily-called special meeting as a group of fed-up neighbors pushed for a ballot initiative to get homeless people off the streets.

The ongoing homeless crisis is creating tension between Sacramento city leaders and a community group trying to get homeless campers off the streets.

"I don't think it's good process," Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said of Wednesday's meeting.

The city council held an emergency meeting to discuss the community group's November ballot proposal that would require the city to pay for more than 6,000 new shelter beds.

"It would double shelter capacity by next summer," said Daniel Conway with Sacramentans For Safe and Clean Parks.

Conway is leading the group's effort.

"The city would go encampment by encampment offering people space in shelters and access to services, but also letting them know that Sacramento no longer allows people to live outside," he said.

But the mayor says that the initiative could potentially bankrupt city finances.

So how much could it cost? Sacramento currently spends $33 million to fund nearly $1,100 shelter beds. If passed by voters, the price tag on this proposal would be $192 million.

So with just a day's notice, the city has introduced its own rival ballot proposal with reduced shelter requirements that are less expensive.

"It is not my decision to bring this measure to the city council tonight with 24 hours' notice," Steinberg said.

So why is the city council rushing to reach a decision?

"The proponents of the signature initiative are saying to us if we don't vote on this tonight, they're going to follow through on their more draconian initiative," Steinberg said.

The community group says it will withdraw its proposal if the city proceeds with the compromise plan, but some councilmembers say with all the city's been through this week, the timing is poor.

"Getting this language on Monday after what happened on Sunday with the horrific shooting and then trying to vote on this today is really not appropriate," Councilmember Katie Valenzuela said.

Late this evening, in a 7-to-2 vote, councilmembers approved putting the city's compromise homeless solution on the November ballot. They are also working to make sure the new shelters would be spread evenly throughout the city.

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