Around two dozen trailers designated for housing homeless people have arrived at Cal Expo, and officials say they expect to start moving those in need within the next few days, a priority given to high risk and elderly populations.
The trailers are the first delivery of what will eventually be about 60, which will be set up to help those experiencing homelessness self-quarantine during the COVID-19 crisis. They could house around 100 homeless people.
“They’re clean, they’re dignified and they beat being out on the streets any day of the week during a crisis or after a crisis,” Mayor Darrell Steinberg said.
The county’s homelessness outreach team will be helping to identify and move people from the streets to trailers beginning Friday.
Each trailer can hold up to two people, but they are not large enough for a family. Officials said they don’t see the trailers as a blanket solution, but they’re a start.
Two weeks ago, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state would be looking at ways to lease rooms in hotels and motels to help house homeless individuals quickly to mitigate spread of the virus.
On Friday, the governor held a press conference with Steinberg announcing that it had housed nearly 900 unsheltered people in the rooms.
Counties like Fresno and Santa Clara also have already begun moving parts of their homeless population off the streets and into motels.
“Time is of the essence, there’s no question about it, and yet to do this in the right way, it does require not only that you lease the motels, you figure out how to provide food and services to people,” Steinberg said.
He said he hoped to have an announcement regarding moving local people into motels by next week.
So far, none of Sacramento’s homeless population has tested positive for COVID-19, though testing in the region is still ramping up.
State Sen. Richard Pan emphasized that keeping the homeless population from becoming infected is crucial.
“It’s so important that we get our homeless housed for public health, and that we get them help so they can stay housed, so this is a very important step for us to do that,” Pan said.
The trailers were purchased through money designated by Newsom earlier in the year, though urgency for temporary housing has increased due to the coronavirus.
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