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Sacramento City Council Takes Step Toward Helping Homeless, But Long Road Remains

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The Sacramento City Council took a step Tuesday night to put a dent in the city's growing homeless population.

The council unanimously approved a series of resolutions that increase funding for homeless outreach services. The marquee item was a temporary 200-bed homeless shelter located at Railroad Avenue and Del Paso Boulevard.

The city will pay Volunteers of America nearly $1 million to operate the shelter for four months this winter. Another $875,000 will be used for mitigation of any negative impacts the shelter may have on the neighborhood.

"District 2 is prepared to play their role to help solve this very important issue," said City Councilman Allen Warren during a press event Tuesday afternoon.

The Sacramento City Council and Mayor Darrell Steinberg have since been working on an evolving two-part plan.

"What we're embarking on is a program to move people into a better solution in their lives and thereby lessen the impacts on the city," said City Councilman Jeff Harris.

But for weeks, there has been community pushback and concerns along the way.

"I'm worried that this shelter is going to concentrate too many of our unsheltered population in one area," said Kristen Perry, a North Sacramento resident.

A permanent homeless shelter and affordable housing development were put on hold Monday after the Regional Transit board bowed to public pressure and delayed the sale of the land to the city.

"We are going to continue the permanent triage discussion," said Mayor Darrell Steinberg.

The other step is a temporary 200-bed winter triage center. People experiencing homelessness would be bused in on a referral-only basis.

"To do an invite-only, it creates a barrier," said Sonny Iverson, a homeless advocate and volunteer.

People like Iverson who are already providing services for more than 500 people in the area are worried their work could be restricted.

"We are concerned about them shutting down our services and not allowing us to do our services here," said Amy Hustead.

Hustead who volunteers in the area says a 200-bed facility doesn't go far enough to address the problem.

"That would be a great deficit to the community if they weren't allowed to receive these services that they're getting on a weekly basis," said Hustead.

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