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9/21/21

 

Update: Safe Ground at W/X, Data & Outcomes

 

The safe ground site at WX between 6th and 8th Streets near Southside Park will soon begin to phase down to allow the return of the farmer’s market once Caltrans has completed their construction in the area.  We are currently looking for assistance from our County and Caltrans partners to safely relocate unhoused residents along the WX corridor in the next few months. We are also in the process of studying the data we’ve collected since the site opened so that we can move forward with future sites in an informed and effective way.

 

The opening of this site last April, along with the safe parking location nearby at Miller Park, came together in just ten days. Since then, we have been able to serve 368 people, allowing them access to a safe, secure area with 24/7 staffing, restrooms, running water, and a path to more secure housing. Of these guests, 85 people have been able to transition into a more stable and permanent living situation thanks to the work of the safe ground staff.

 

This has been no easy task. The concept of this safe ground was intended specifically for people who are typically the hardest to reach with other programs and services. 66% of the guests at WX are considered “chronically homeless”, meaning that they’ve been unsheltered for more than a year or have experienced homelessness more than 3 times in the last four years, and have a medical or behavioral issue that contributes to their difficulty maintaining housing. 70% of these guests have never had any homeless services before. The safe site was designed to be staffed by professionals with experience working with unhoused people. The protocol for those staff is to manage most issues themselves, but to call 911 when there is an issue that requires assistance from the Police - either because a report needs to be filed, or to help de-escalate a situation that is beyond staff’s skill set or comfort level to manage.

 

In the interest of evaluating the full impact of the WX site, we asked the Sacramento Police Department to help us conduct a full analysis of calls for service in the area. The report they recently completed looks at a similar timeframe (March 23 to July 23) for the year 2019, 2020, and 2021. The report further breaks out all calls within a ½ mile radius from calls generated at the safe site and calls generated at the nearby Alder Grove and Marina Vista housing complexes.*

 

The link to that full report is below, but here are the highlights:


  • While general calls for service increased in the areas of the Safe Ground, Alder Grove, and Marina Vista, calls in the area surrounding the program remained consistent.


  • During the same reporting period, in the surrounding areas near the Safe Ground site, calls related to homelessness decreased.


  • While we saw increases in burglary reports, numbers for other report types are consistent with citywide trends.

Homelessness is a critical issue which impacts not only the lives of those who experience it, but also all who live, work, and play in the communities where the unhoused continue to suffer. This has presented challenges to the surrounding community, while at the same time providing opportunity for piloting what can be a program in the future set for more positive outcomes.

The experience from both City Staff as well as the Contractors have provided us with significant data sets, and a wealth of expertise; both of which will be used to guide improvements as we move forward with the Comprehensive Siting Plan to Address Homelessness.

The W/X Safe Ground Statistics from Sacramento Police Department can be found here.


If you have any questions or would like to chat with us about this report, please contact our office at 916-808-7004 or d4constituentservices@cityofsacramento.org.


* Note: Breaking out data from Alder Grove and Marina Vista is not in any way intended to minimize the activity in those communities. Those communities have had long-standing issues that have been noticeably exacerbated during the pandemic due to factors that do not appear to be connected to the safe ground on W/X. The City team wanted to be able to understand the data from those areas separate from the data from the rest of the community surrounding the safe site to provide clarity on the impacts of the safe ground project.