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Mayor Darrell Steinberg’s remarks from 2017 Homeless PIT Count Report Press Conference

Reiterates need for regional collaboration and urgency of action

Sacramento, California -  Today Sacramento City Mayor Darrell Steinberg gave the following remarks regarding the release of the 2017 Homeless Point in Time Count Report:

Thank you very much Ryan [Loofbourrow, CEO of Sacramento Steps Forward]. I do want to congratulate and thank you, and your board, and the continuum of care board. I want to thank all of the providers, faith community, all of those who do heroic work throughout the entire year to help the many people that you do help.

So, I say that and then I say please do not take what I am about to say in the wrong way.

This is no time for celebration, this is no time for pats on the back. This is not just a sobering report—this is a damming report. We have unprecedented resources and capacity to make the next report dramatically better. The question is—are we going to have the political will and the community will to make it so?

I am frankly tired of attending the numerous ribbon cutting ceremonies celebrating marginal improvements. It is worth helping everybody and again I praise your heroic work because it is heroic—to save one life, it is as if you have saved the entire world.

But 2,052 people unsheltered? Our community can do so much better.

It is becoming increasingly clear to me that the urgency which this report represents is not just about the thousands of souls embodied by these cold numbers. It’s also about our broader community and the impacts there. The broader community is suffering too.

There is no contradiction between compassion, commitment, and action for the homeless, and a rightful community demand that law enforcement prohibits unlawful acts or behavior that are hostile or threatening to residents and businesses.

While there may not be a magic cure to one hundred percent ending homelessness, dramatically improving it is well within our grasp, and 61 percent of this problem as the report describes lies within the City of Sacramento.

We cannot stand by and hope that it just gets better. It begins with a cold water in our face acknowledgement that if 469 Veterans or 2,052 real people were lying on the streets bleeding because of broken appendages, broken arms, or legs that we would declare a health crisis—a public health crisis—and we would achieve getting those 469 Veterans and 2,052 real people off the streets. It wouldn’t take a year or two years. It would take days or weeks.

It is true that some of this is outside of our control. It is true rising housing costs are a statewide and national issue, but much of this is within our control, and I think we ought to admit our own faults.

We have no measurable goal in this region. Why is the point in time count only a backwards look at the number of homeless people? Why isn’t there a projected or promised point in time count for 2018, for 2019, and for 2020? I say we get 2,000 people off the streets over the next two to three years and make sure we have enough prevention resources to ensure that the next 2,000 aren’t on the streets.

We have no commitment—and let’s be honest about it—to consolidate our resources and our various programs. Now Sacramento County has done great work, they’re putting a lot of money into this. And the City of Sacramento just got 64-million-dollars for Whole Person Care.

We must consolidate our resources. We must have one system, one continuum of care working with Sacramento Steps Forward and everyone. It’s time we commit to that goal and achieve that goal—nothing short of that.

We know what works and it’s represented by Quinn Cottages; it’s represented by the great providers that have helped get hundreds of people off the streets; it is assertive outreach including street outreach; it is case management; it is supportive services—mental health and substance abuse services—which is especially why the City and County need to be working together. And it is housing, we set aside 1,755 units some months ago—let’s get going on that.

Simply put, this report is a call to action—no excuses, no boundaries—the only thing that matters is to dramatically reduce these numbers. Let’s get at it. Thank you. 


Listen to the remarks here.