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Proposed Homeless Shelter Near Elementary School Sparks Protests From Parents

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Outrage overflowed in North Sacramento Wednesday night over a proposed homeless shelter just yards from an elementary school.

Hundreds attended a community meeting at Rio Tierra Junior High to speak out against a proposed facility for women and children across from Garden Valley Elementary. Neighbors said it will bring nothing but problems.

(credit: City of Sacramento)

City leaders want to build dozens of small cabins on a five-acre lot off Northgate that is currently empty.

"I don't want that environment for my kids," said Rosa Romero, a mom with two kids at Garden Valley Elementary school.

Sacramento Vice Mayor Jeff Harris said the facility would include 50 cabins for approximately 100 women and children. The facility would also include a community center with a kitchen and even a dog park. Harris reminded neighbors that thousands of people are homeless in the city and need help.

"The city has to do something to address this crisis," Harris said

Despite promises of a fence and 24-hour security at the facility, neighbors said the site will attract violence and drug use.

"These are small kids that walk to school every day, a lot of them walk in the road to and from school," said Raul Huerta, who lives in the area.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg is asking all council members to explore plans like this. He called the proposed community at Northgate exactly what the homeless need.

READ: City Proposes Homeless Shelter On Abandoned South Sacramento Lot

"That it is quality and that we ensure that it is safe and clean and the exact opposite of what people worry about," he said.

Few people doubt the need for this kind of space. Sarah Curtis, who has been homeless for almost a decade, said her community just wants a safe place and that it's tough for women on the streets, especially if you're alone.

"I know a lot of females who have been trying to get housing with their kids for close to eight years," she said.

Those advocating for the shelter want to make clear this is just a proposal right now. There's still going to be several more public meetings and ultimately city council would have to vote on it.

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