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Homeless Shelter Going To Pot? Sacramento Winter Site Could Be Growing Green In Spring

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — From housing the homeless to growing pot. A temporary winter shelter in Sacramento opened Friday inside the building of a proposed marijuana cultivation site near Del Paso Boulevard.

City leaders gathered to celebrate the opening of the shelter and to invite its first round of guests inside. They say the location is good fit—a warehouse sitting empty as it waits to get permitted to become a grow site, that in the meantime, is offering shelter to those on the streets.

A first of its kind homeless shelter in North Sacramento officially opened it's doors to 50 people and their pets, getting them off the streets and out of the cold. Marty Leeman is one of them

"It's a big relief," said homeless resident Marty Leeman," it's just good to know that there's a safe space for everybody to sleep."

In the next couple of weeks, the warehouse will house up to 200 of the city's homeless, but on March 31, the beds will be cleared out, and the facility on Railroad Drive will continue to prepare for its long-proposed future as a marijuana cultivation site.

Sacramento City Councilman Jeff Harris said, "There's no connection whatsoever. Obviously, they're not gonna be growing marijuana while we're housing the homeless."

CBS13 pulled the still-pending permit, which the property owners applied for in April to cultivate pot. Harris, who secured the facility, says he was well aware of the plans to grow pot here.

"It just so happened there was an empty warehouse that I was happy enough and lucky enough to get a 'yes' after an awful lot of 'no's.' "

What is a concern to some is the cost. The city is paying about $1.4 million to operate the shelter for just four months. Harris says addressing homeless needs the right way, will save the city millions more down the line. And although the homeless housing will soon become a marijuana grow house, city leaders say they hope four months under one, steady roof will lead many off the streets for good.

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