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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – JANUARY 26, 2017

City to Open Winter Refuge Center at City Owned Facility

Community partners step up to help with donations and medical services

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.

“I cannot thank our city staff and community partners enough for the incredible work they have done to get this new center opened tonight,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “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.”

The City-owned facility will be open temporarily until another longer-term facility has been established. City leaders are currently working on a plan to support longer-term efforts.

“This is us taking immediate action to help people most in need,” said Councilmember Steve Hansen whose district the new shelter is in. “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.”

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 6:00p.m. to 6:00a.m.

“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,” said Christie Holderegger, Vice President for Volunteers of America. We are happy to be called to help the City of Sacramento.”

A Sutter Health Navigator Nurse will also be on-hand to provide health assessments and service referrals. 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.

The City, its leaders, and regional partners have been actively pursuing ways to prevent and end homelessness by committing significant resources in a variety of investments. Councilmember Angelique Ashby has secured $28,000 from various individuals including those in the private and non-profit sector. The funds will be donated to Volunteers of America to cover all projected operation costs for facilitating the Winter Refuge Center.

“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.”
Contributors include:

  • MMS Strategies
  • AT&T
  • Comcast
  • 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. 

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