As temperatures drop below freezing Tuesday, the city of Sacramento will open a warming center downtown for unhoused people for one night.
The Tsakopoulos Library Galleria across from Cesar Chavez Plaza will open its doors at 9 p.m. and close at 6 a.m. on Wednesday. Admittance will be on a first-come, first-serve basis, and everyone will be required to wear masks while inside. Anybody without a mask will be provided one.
“This warming center will provide people with a safe, comfortable place where they can rest,” Daniel Bowers, the city’s director of emergency management, said in a statement.
It’s unclear how many people will be allowed into the center. Bowers said the occupancy may fluctuate based on how many people go to sleep versus how many people are just sitting. The city has previously said that the library galleria would hold up to 60 unhoused people with social distancing.
The library has multiple floors, which helps with social distancing. Resting spaces will be spread out 12 feet apart and separated by plastic barriers.
It’ll be the first time in several years that Sacramento opened up a warming center in the winter, despite pushback from advocates who say they should be opened regardless during the cold months.
In a tweet Tuesday morning, Mayor Darrell Steinberg thanked the city and county public health departments for working together and “finding a way in the pandemic” to open the centers safely.
The announcement comes weeks after the city amended its threshold for opening the facilities, making guidelines less strict.
Steinberg announced two weeks ago that the city was making it easier to open warming centers in the winter, changing the normal threshold to anytime temperatures drop below 33 degrees during a 24-hour period. The new guidance is less strict than the one the county uses, which calls for freezing temperature for three nights in a row.
The city’s new plan would also expand hotel vouchers and repurpose trailers, in order to bring people who are homeless indoors this winter.
The central library is the only warming center that the city announced would open Tuesday night. People looking to utilize the space need to use the patio entrance located on 9th Street between I and J streets.
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