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New Winter Shelter Tests 'Triage' Strategy For Reducing Homelessness

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

A small encampment where several homeless people had been living for some time sits across the street from the location of a winter shelter.

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

Two hundred homeless people spent their first weekend in the city of Sacramento's new winter triage shelter.

The city said the triage component is key. The center is staffed with people to identify the problems that are keeping homeless people on the streets.

The shelter, which is in an industrial complex on Railroad Drive off of Del Paso Boulevard, is open 24 hours a day. Two hundred homeless people will call it home for the next four months.

Mary Buck was one of several homeless people who had been living in a camp right across the street from the new shelter. She said she's grateful the city included a place for her dog.

121117 Mary Buck BM P

Mary Buck has been living on Sacramento streets off and on for 20 years. She says the new winter shelter will allow her to regroup and move to Minnesota to start a new life. Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio
"They put 'em in the kennels and they do an overlook on 'em to make sure they have their shots, their rabies shots and the chip," Buck says.

Sacramento Councilman Jeff Harris said this shelter should provide a more permanent solution to homelessness.

"Our usual winter program that we have, Winter Sanctuary, only gives people shelter overnight," Harris said. "So, people are picked in the River District, bussed to faith-based communities and then dropped off back in the River District the next morning with no services attached. It helps keep people alive, but it doesn't help them solve their issues."

Harris said the shelter will cost about a million dollars to operate. Volunteers of America will run the shelter.

If the shelter is successful in reducing homelessness, the City will consider opening a year-round facility next year.

Bob Moffitt

Sacramento Region Reporter

Bob reports on all things northern California and Nevada. His coverage of police technology, local athletes, and the environment has won a regional Associated Press and several Edward R. Murrow awards.   Read Full Bio 

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