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Homeless Voucher Program Gaining Ground In Sacramento

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CBS13) – A new plan to put roofs over the head of hundreds of homeless people in Sacramento is taking another step forward.

On Tuesday, Mayor Darrell Steinberg pledged his support to open more than 1,700 housing units for the homeless. It's a plan proposed by Sacramento Housing and redevelopment Agency (SHRA).

"I'm in favor of it," said Nokishii Smith, who has been homeless for three years. "I'm in favor of it because there are so many single parents who need Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency.  I could cry."

Smith's children, aged 17, 13 and 11, are scattered across the city, while she lives in her car.  Hearing a plan for more 1,700 housing vouchers gives her hope that her family may soon live under the same roof.

"If I can get a chance to rent with them, I will," she said.

In January, the city of Sacramento directed the agency to allocate all public housing turnover to the homeless.  This month, SHRA is recommending that Sacramento County allocates half of its turnover vouchers to the homeless.  Together, that would guarantee a total of 1,355 units for the homeless.  SHRA also wants to allocate 300 additional units and 100 additional vouchers to certain targeted populations.

"These housing resources are a critical component of our overall strategy to tackle this issue, and over the next three years, we are going to do more for the homeless than our city has ever done before," said Steinberg.

"SHRA has worked hard to find a workable solution that aligns our housing resources in the most effective and equitable way possible," said La Shelle Dozier, SHRA's Executive Director. "We are Sacramento's affordable housing provider and thanks to the strong collaborative input and engagement from many community members and stakeholders, Sacramento will move the needle forward toward ending homelessness in the next three years."

After three years of living in her car, Smith said one of those vouchers would be her golden ticket to heal her broken family.

"We'd have a place where mom and dad and children would be able to live and flourish," she said.

SHRA will present its recommendation to both the city and county on March 21.  If the plans are approved, the housing units would likely open up sometime between this fall and early 2018.

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