At the May 11 Board of Supervisors meeting, county staff presented to the Supervisors a list of County-owned parcels that have been reviewed for potential viability to site Safe Stay or Safe Parking programs
for persons experiencing homelessness. The presentation was for information only and at the request of supervisors at the Feb. 16 Board meeting to review County-owned land based on object criteria and bring the resulting list of appropriate sites back.
After receiving numerous calls from concerned constituents under the impression that these sites were already selected and moving forward, it is necessary to provide context around the presentation and the discussed sites. These misconceptions were further exacerbated by a story posted in the Sacramento Bee on Monday, May 16 entitled “Sacramento County names potential sites for homeless shelters, from downtown to suburbs
” – specifically the notion that the Carmichael location is somehow already in process – which it is not.
During the Feb. 16, 2022, Board meeting, multiple Supervisors requested a report back on staff efforts to identify appropriate sites to expand sheltering opportunities for those experiencing unsheltered homelessness, including an assessment of County-owned land. Using objective criteria that looked at size of the parcel(s), access to utilities, and proximity to existing encampments and/or services, staff divided the 1,673 County owned parcels into three categories: not viable, potentially viable and viable. Only 16 were deemed ‘viable’ based on initial review; during the workshop, staff and the Board discussed the need to further refine potential sites based on surrounding uses and with extensive community input. The Board also asked for staff to continue to explore non-County owned land, including the purchase or lease of privately owned sites.
Any recommended site will include enough characteristics that staff believe they could support a viable Safe Stay or Safe Parking community.
Staff will continue to refine potential sites, and bring any viable sites to the Board for review and direction prior to any commitments. Any site being considered will also include robust community engagement with the surrounding neighborhoods and business owners prior to a final Board decision. Outreach will include community forums to answer questions and hear concerns as well as present plans for any particular site.
The Board also directed staff to continue to engage land owners that have viable private properties that may also be used for Safe Stay Communities to increase the options the county can consider.
As a reminder, the goal of these Safe Stay Communities is to reduce crime, trash, blight and human suffering. As case studies have shown time and time again through the Pallet model
the county has extensively reviewed, when done right, these communities drastically improve the surrounding areas while also providing positive outcomes for homeless persons who reside there.