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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 22, 2016

Sacramento City and County Leaders Announce Collaborative Partnership to Open Pilot Expansion of Warming Centers

Creates additional capacity to keep people warm during Sacramento’s coldest nights

Sacramento, Calif - Today Sacramento City and County leaders announced a new pilot expansion program to open warming centers on the coldest of winter nights. The program will open warming centers on days when the Pilgrimage Rotating Shelter is not open and overnight temperatures are forecast to be at or below 40 degrees.

“Over the last week, Sacramento has experienced night-time temperatures that are absolutely unfit for people to endure without shelter,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “We must do more and we can do more. I’m pleased to be working with my fellow public servants and am thankful for all of us coming together to launch this pilot program. We must challenge ourselves to be creative and compassionate and to do more to ensure homelessness need not be hopelessness.”

Sacramento City Councilmember Steve Hansen, whose district the initial warming center pilot is in said: "Finding real solutions to help people experiencing homelessness is going to take many hands and many partners, but it's clear we must do more to confront this challenge. I am pleased that we have increased our capacity for assisting our most vulnerable citizens, and I hope we continue to explore new ways to tend to the needs of our community."

“This pilot expansion of warming centers is only the first of many changes that we will need to make,” said Sacramento City Councilmember Jeff Harris. “We have much more to do and the time to do it is now.”

The warming center will initially be located at South Side Park and will provide a heated indoor space with blankets, water, hot chocolate and snacks. Sacramento Steps Forward will assign a navigator to the warming center to connect visitors with housing, mental health care, and other services to help end the cycle of homelessness. Medical support will be provided by the Sacramento Medical Reserve Corps and Elica Health’s Wellness Without Walls program. Additionally, Front Street Animal Shelter will provide dog kennels of varying sizes, bags of dog food and blankets for each kennel and efforts are underway to help provide veterinary services.

“While we work on permanent solutions to alleviate homelessness in our community, this pilot represents a much-needed resource to protect people on our coldest nights,” said Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna. Sacramento County Supervisor Patrick Kennedy added, “this pilot will not only provide a place for people to keep warm but also demonstrates the continuing collaboration between the city and the county to address the growing humanitarian crisis.”

The program will be funded through reallocations of existing resources and will monitor how many individuals are being connected to services. “We are able to shift city resources that were designated for winter motel vouchers to this pilot program,” said City Manager Howard Chan. “This means we can expand from helping 15 households get out of the cold each month to helping 40 people get out of the cold a night.”

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