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Sacramento Leaders Vote To Give Homeless Priority On Affordable Housing Wait Lists

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - A joint session of Sacramento's Board of Supervisors and City Council voted unanimously to make people who are homeless a priority on waiting lists for affordable housing.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg backed the proposal that could bump the elderly and veterans down on the preference list.

There are so few affordable homes available to rent in Sacramento, people are being pitted against people for the spots that come available.

Sacramento's Sandy Powell is one of tens of thousands of people on a waiting list for an affordable home to rent.

"You feel like a vagabond, you just, you don't know where you're going to be the next day," Powell said.

Right now she's staying in a "room and board."

"I have to pay almost my whole check, to rent a little room here," Powell said.

The affordable housing and homeless crisis in Sacramento brought out an overflow crowd to a joint City Council/Board of Supervisors session where elected leaders discussed changing who gets priority on affordable housing waiting lists.

"When we've got all the city council and all the board of supervisors coming together I think the message is strong," WellSpace Health's Dr. Jonathan Porteus said.

The new plan gives people who are homeless preference on the first 600 vouchers for affordable housing in Sacramento County. It also gives people who are homeless preference on the first 200 units of public housing in the city of Sacramento.

It bumps elderly, veterans and people who spend more than fifty percent of their income on housing down the preference list.

The new plan created would save 200 spots.

"There are times when you're making tough choices to serve the most vulnerable and it may not be fair or feel fair," President of the Sacramento Housing Alliance Cathy Creswell said.

The unanimous vote allows the new plan to be sent to the federal government for approval. It could take several months to put in place.

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