The Sacramento City Council has approved participation in a new program to provide housing and jobs for homeless families in the Sacramento region. It is a long-term plan, which may frustrate people who are asking for short-term solutions.
Andrea Perpinan is the mother of two. She told the council her family will be forced to sleep outside when their last Sacramento County hotel voucher expires.
"It's too cold to be outside," she says. "It's not their fault. They didn't choose this. Neither did we for that matter, you know? I don't want to be out here. I've never been out here before. I don't wish to ever be out here again. In the meantime, we need some help to get off the streets. We've been on all the family shelter waiting lists since May 25th of this year."
She might be helped with short-term housing. But, Ryan Loufbourrow with the regional homeless services group, Sacramento Steps Forward says his priority is on long-term housing.
"I will admit to being torn at times on whether you invest that dollar in a temporary moment that does not solve homelessness for the population being served or you invest that money into housing that ultimately solves the issue of homelessness," he say. "So, given the option of investing in triage or investing dollars in housing stock, I'll take housing stock."
A Sacramento Steps Forward employee met with Perpinan after her plea to the council.
Loufbourrow says there is a need for about 1,150 housing units for the homeless every year, but turnover provides only about 450 a year. He says short-term housing stays typically last between three and nine months.
The Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency will add 345 housing units next year and it's unclear how many will be available for the homeless.
Money to house the homeless comes from the City of Sacramento at $500,000, Sacramento County with $1 million and from Sutter Health at $900,000.