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Neighbors Say Sacramento Homeless Shelter Plan Won't Solve Problem

NORTH SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — As the City of Sacramento tries to address its homeless problem, it's sparking opposition from one neighborhood that would be home to a new shelter.

The city is proposing to build a large shelter that would offer social and health services near the Woodlake neighborhood off Del Paso Boulevard in North Sacramento. It would be one of two shelters to get homeless people off the streets.

Neighbors are saying it would do just the opposite.

"It's going to allow the city to bring more homeless people to our area," said Andy Hernandez.

Hernandez lives in Woodlake and says the area has been on the decline after the homeless moved in several years ago. He also says he's sick of the constant battle to keep the homeless from camping out near his neighborhood.

"A lot of businesses have left," Hernandez said. "Keeping those places safe and making people want to come there has been difficult."

This is the latest plan Sacramento city leaders have put forth to combat homelessness. Other plans include a proposed 200-bed shelter near the Royal Oaks light rail station that would provide social and health services. They're also planning to open up a temporary winter shelter along Railroad Avenue and Del Paso Boulevard, which would house up to 300.

The problem, Hernandez says, is the shelters are right next to his neighborhood.

"We'll have the population we have today plus 200-300 new people," he said.

Emily Halcon, the city's homeless services coordinator, says North Sacramento isn't being targeted as a solution to the homeless problem; she says the city plans to look at other areas to open up additional shelters.

"We believe the site is ideal because it's got access to transit, it's big enough," Halcon added.

The city is negotiating a deal with Regional Transit to buy the property near the Royal Oaks light rail station.

The estimated yearly cost to run the shelter when it opens?

"Anywhere between $3 or $4 million," replied Halcon.

Halcon says the temporary winter shelter would cost the city about $1 million and would help get rid of the blight that's plagued North Sacramento for years and says it would greatly improve it.

But Hernandez says he doesn't believe that's the case. He says bringing more homeless to North Sacramento will just cause more damage.

"The city owes us and owes the homeless population a solution that could actually work; what they're proposing is not going to work," Hernandez concluded.

City officials say the temporary winter shelter is expected to open by this Thanksgiving, and the proposed shelter by the light rail station to open by Summer of 2018.

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