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Sacramento City Council Immediately Opens Shelter For Homeless After Two Die During Storm

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The City of Sacramento is taking immediate action, passing an emergency ordinance Wednesday to get the homeless off the streets after two people didn't make it through last night's storm.

"Two homeless people died last night, people with families, people who are loved, people who mattered, how many more," asked Mayor Darrell Steinberg during the emergency meeting.

One of those people was Herold Carter's girlfriend.

"I haven't even cried yet, it's just crazy," explained Carter. "I've been with her 28 years."

According to Carter, the mother of four had a heart condition and was just released from the hospital last week.

"She was the best woman in town, she was the best, I'll miss her," Carter said.

Carter's friend Mark Jordan found her body.

"When I came I saw all the tents had blown away. I went over to her tent to see if she was alright," he explained. "I saw she was stooped over."

Sacramento police say the homeless person was a woman in her 50s. She was found unresponsive in a tent near 26th and W streets around 6 a.m. Medics pronounced her dead at the scene. No foul play is suspected, but police say the woman's official cause of death will be investigated by the Sacramento County Coroner's office.

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Police say a second person, an adult male was found dead near Fair Oaks Boulevard and Howe Avenue around 8 a.m. Wednesday. Officers did not see any signs of foul play and say the coroner's office will take over the investigation.

During an emergency city council meeting Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Darrell Steinberg expressed his frustration after voicing his concerns Tuesday over the city not opening warming shelters because temperatures did not meet the county's minimum 32 degrees requirement.

"I got angry, I know I might have ruffled a few feathers but I will tell you what it led to today to the city council taking action unanimous action to declare our own emergency," he explained

The Sacramento City Council voted unanimously to immediately open Library Galleria at 9th and I streets as a warming center from 8 pm to 8 am. The vote also allows the city to open the Southside Park poolhouse as needed and two downtown city garages with bathrooms as safe places designated for those living in their cars.

Council members allocated $1 million to use the next week for warming shelters. The Council is expected to approve additional funding at Tuesday's Council meeting. Steinberg says FEMA will reimburse the funding.

"There is no reason why we cannot get large numbers of people indoors and get them indoors quickly when the federal government is paying for it," said Steinberg.

The city is also committing to forming its own standards when it comes to opening warming shelters.

"When it is cold and its winter, it cold, it doesn't matter if it's 32 degrees or 40 degrees, raining not raining, we need to bring people indoors," he said

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