A homeless man named Doug who declined to give his last name, center, and others wait in a warehouse to be bused to a church where they will spend the night protected from the cold at Sac Steps Forward’s Winter Sanctuary Program, Sunday, November 29, 2015. Lezlie Sterling lsterling@sacbee.com
A homeless man named Doug who declined to give his last name, center, and others wait in a warehouse to be bused to a church where they will spend the night protected from the cold at Sac Steps Forward’s Winter Sanctuary Program, Sunday, November 29, 2015. Lezlie Sterling lsterling@sacbee.com

Local

More beds open for homeless near the American River as rain comes down

By Ellen Garrison

egarrison@sacbee.com

January 18, 2017 06:08 PM

As more rain came down in Sacramento, additional beds for homeless people opened up near the American River on Wednesday night, funded by a combination of private, county and city funds.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg addressed an interfaith service Monday, December 18, 2016 at Trinity Cathedral after a report showing deaths of homeless men and women in Sacramento County has been on the rise over the last few years. Anita ChabriaThe Sacramento Bee

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Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna said a building on the campus of social services organization Stanford Settlement in the Gardenland neighborhood near Garden Highway opened from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. to house and feed up to 25 homeless people. After last week’s string of storms, a number of homeless people were flooded out of areas near the river.

“It will function similar to what’s going on in Southside Park,” Serna said, referencing a warming center pilot program jointly run by the city of Sacramento and the county.

After an emergency Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday about declaring a local state of emergency, Serna said an 80-person tent city had formed on the levee near Garden Highway. When Serna and county staff inquired at shelters about beds for those sleeping outside, he said the “resounding answer was no room at the inn.”

The plan for the warming center at Stanford Settlement came together in the time since that meeting, Serna said.

Serna announced that the Sacramento Association of Realtors had donated $50,000 toward shelter for the homeless at the Tuesday supervisors’ meeting. United Public Employees, a county public-employee union, kicked in $10,000. The city and the county are each contributing $25,000.

The $110,000 will be used keep the center open through the middle of April on nights when temperatures fall below 40 degrees or when the forecast calls for measurable amounts of rain, Serna said.

In 2011, Serna and several other sponsors raised $100,000 in a similar effort to expand four homeless shelters in the Sacramento area.

Ellen Garrison: 916-321-1920, @EllenGarrison