Homeless people in Sacramento, California, who share their lives with pets, now have a safe place to escape from the cold winter weather. On January 26, the Front Street Animal Shelter (for the City of Sacramento) issued a press release about the new program which is designed to provide a safe haven for people and pets who are in need.
The city press release introduced the public to the Winter Refuge Center which is located at the city owned facility:
Today, the City of Sacramento, in partnership with Volunteers of America, announced expansion of a Winter Refuge Center at a City owned facility. The temporary facility will be open nights starting tonight, Thursday, to serve those experiencing homelessness in the Central City.
Mayor Darrell Steinberg expressed gratitude for the community effort which made the facility possible:
I cannot thank our city staff and community partners enough for the incredible work they have done to get this new center opened tonight. This is the exact kind of compassionate action and urgency we need to get on top of this crisis as we work to develop long term solutions for permanent housing and services.”
Though the current city-owned facility is temporary, plans are in the works to create a long term effort to address the needs of the homeless people (and their pets) in the community.
Councilmember Steve Hansen stated:
This is us taking immediate action to help people most in need. As a City we need to exercise leadership on the tough issues. This is an example of that with our City team coming together to provide immediate relief for the most vulnerable in our community. I hope the people of our region see this as an opportunity to step up and help in the ways they can.”
Christie Holderegger, Vice President for Volunteers of America, stated:
No one is safe to sleep on the streets during the extreme weather Sacramento has been experiencing. If we can prevent one more individual from perishing, we will. We are happy to be called to help the City of Sacramento.”
According to the press release, the winter refuge center will be located at 904 11th Street and will be staffed by Volunteers of America. The City will provide a heated indoor space with blankets, water, and snacks. When in operation, the Winter Refuge Center will be open every night from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.
Individuals who utilize the refuge center will have access to a Sutter Health Navigator nurse who will be on hand to provide health assessments and service referrals. The Front Street Animal Shelter will provide dog kennels of varying sizes, bags of dog food and blankets for each kennel. Daily check-ins with homeless individuals around City Hall will also be conducted by a Street Nurse with WellSpace Health.
“WellSpace Health has offered a two-pronged approach to intervening with the escalating health crisis in our community’s indigent population,” said CEO Jonathan Porteus, PhD. “Firstly, our Street Nurse – whose full-time job is to engage persons who are medically compromised and homeless – will include daily visits to City hall starting today. Secondly, we are encouraging persons who have medical concerns but are not in need of urgent care to use our walk-in Immediate Care clinic which is open to all at Broadway and Alhambra from 6:00a.m. to 10:00p.m. seven days a week.”
The City’s Weather Refuge Center at Southside Park (2107 6th Street) remains available from 6:00p.m. to 6:00a.m. when temperatures are forecast below 40 degrees. The city has a page on its website with a link of all emergency services.
“I am thankful for the contributions made to support the City of Sacramento’s efforts to address homelessness,” said Councilmember Ashby. “My hope is that this innovative public-private investment will be one of many future collaborations to meaningfully partner on solutions for chronic homelessness in our region.”
• MMS Strategies
• Republic Services
• Ethan Conrad Properties
• K. Hovnanian Homes
• CFY Development
• Thomas P. Winn Foundation
In the coming week, City leaders will also be meeting to discuss additional options to address the immediate need of temporary shelters.
Front Street Animal Shelter on Facebook here.
(photo credit – Carlos Eliason and Pixabay free images)