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Sacramento Tackling Homeless Crisis With Two 100-Bed Shelters To Open Soon

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento is tackling the city's homeless crisis by promising to build two pop-up shelters.

The city council approved the plan Tuesday night for one in North Oak Park serving adult men and women, and the other in Meadowview, that will only serve women and children.

But Tuesday night's vote did not come without push back and concerns from some of the council members. And the community now wants to know who will run these shelters? And will safety be a priority?

"We're gonna bring hundreds of people indoors as quickly as possible," said Mayor Darrell Steinberg.

With cold winter months quickly approaching, Sacramento's homeless crisis was top of mind Tuesday night.

"1,000 women and children are unsheltered, living out on the streets of Sacramento," said Mayor Steinberg.

Rachelle Ditmore with the non-profit City of Refuge, that offers resources and housing for the homeless, says the time is now to act.

READ ALSO: Pop-Up Women And Children Shelter Proposed For Meadowview Neighborhood

"You have waiting lists....every single day we turn women with children away, no better options than often motels and going to the lifestyles that they've known," said Ditmore.

Ditmore says while these shelters are a good step, she wants to know how they'll be run.

"This is where we collectively come together and say now what is the plan for safety? What's the plan for sustainability?" said Ditmore.

One of the low barrier 100-bed shelters will go up in North Oak Park near Broadway under the W-X freeway, catering to homeless adults. This location is in Councilman Jay Schenerir's district. Schenerir says getting people to come may take time and trust-building with the community.

"People may not come day one, or day two, but they may come in day 20, day 50...  again it's about meeting people where they are, and getting them to trust you," said Councilman Schenerir.

But the shelter in Meadowview will be exclusively serving women and children, raising questions about safety, as many of these women may be escaping domestic violence situations.

ALSO: San Joaquin County Leaders and Residents Discuss Solutions to Homeless Problem

Schenirer says the shelters will have security.

"We certainly will have security... but we have to look at where we are now if we have more than 1,000 women on the street, that's not safe. And that's what we're trying to do, at least get them in the shelter, get them matched up to services, and we'll deal with security issues at that point," said Schenerir.

Sacramento hoping to make a dent in the homeless crisis saying will be working closely with community advisory committees for each location to make sure people get the resources they need.

"We're not gonna solve homelessness, but we'll mitigate it, and get people on a track to success," Schenerir said.

Each location has a community advisory committee that the city will be working closely with. They will soon be taking applications for operators to run the shelters. The total cost of these shelters will be more than $20 million.

The city hopes to have the Meadowview shelter open by winter and the Oak Park Shelter is set to open by next April or May.

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