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Sacramento Approves Year-Round Bathroom For Homeless People

File / Rich Pedroncelli / AP

A homeless person sleeps on a sidewalk in Sacramento, Calif.,Tuesday, April 23, 2013.

File / Rich Pedroncelli / AP

The Sacramento City Council has approved a plan to open a restroom year-round specifically for homeless people.

Under the plan, the city and Sacramento County would open the site of the Winter Sanctuary Shelter on North A Street for 12 hours a day.

Interim Assistant City Manager Chris Conlin says the facility would be more than a restroom in that city employees would staff the site to provide access to services.

"It would be attended and also provide services like referrals to healthcare, referrals to housing, things like that. Some of the triage that we do in the Winter Triage Shelter (on Railroad Avenue) but without having the capability to have people reside there," Conlin said.

The council had seven options to choose from that ranged in cost from $5,000 a year to nearly a million dollars.The city chose a combination of the most expensive and least expensive options.

Once the city finds funding for the North A Street location, it could open it for a cost of $625,000. The county is being asked to pay a little more than $368,000 of the $993,000 cost.

The $5,000 option was also approved that would install signs directing people to the North A Street location.

A mobile shower facility was also considered by council, as was keeping the City Hall bathroom open 24 hours a day or putting a port-a-potty on City Hall grounds. Other options included a temporary toilet or a permanent brick building.

Councilman Steve Hansen asked city staff to return at a later date with ideas of how to install the mobile shower facility and stainless steel restrooms known as Portland Loos. Hansen and Councilman Jeff Harris voiced their support for restroom facilities at Cesar Chavez Park.

Homeless people and advocates have been calling for public restroom access during all hours. The city has countered by arguing damage to facilities has made it cost-prohibitive to do so.

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