Sacramento, Calif. To open two homeless warming centers for two nights

As nighttime temperatures are expected to drop into the 1930s and thousands of people sleep outside, the city of Sacramento is opening two warming centers for two nights.

The City Hall lobby, located at 915 I Street, will be open overnight Thursday and Friday from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., according to a press release. The Hagginwood Community Center, 3271 Marysville Blvd., will also be open during these hours.

Both facilities will provide a cozy place to stay with snacks, water and toilets, the city said. Both also have a covered and protected outdoor area that can accommodate pets in kennels or crates.

“We are working with our nonprofits and others to connect with people who are homeless to make sure they know these respite centers are an option for them,” said Bridgette Dean, Department Director. community intervention of the city. “The city has around 1,100 beds in various settings for people who are homeless, but they are currently full, and the respite centers provide an alternative for the most vulnerable during this cold weather event. “

Temperatures are expected to reach a low of 35 degrees Thursday and Friday night, with a frost advisory Thursday night, according to the National Weather Service. There is also a risk of rain from Saturday evening until at least Monday, when the centers are currently closed.

Sacramento County is offering an increased number of motel vouchers due to the weather, but the county is not opening any centers, county spokeswoman Janna Haynes said.

“In his day, we weren’t opening up our lobbies (from the Department of Human Assistance), instead we were devoting our resources to a more effective and focused approach,” Haynes said.

The city’s announcement comes after several people called the city council meeting on Tuesday to demand the opening of the warming centers.

Last winter four homeless people died of hypothermia. The council voted in March to open permanent weather respite centers all year round, regardless of the weather. So far, they have opened sporadically during recent episodes of heat and cold, but have not opened permanently.

City staff are still working to open a permanent respite center, said Mary Lynne Vellinga, spokesperson for Mayor Darrell Steinberg.

About 150 people spent time in a city hall warming center in October during a major rainstorm.

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Theresa Clift covers Sacramento City Hall. Prior to joining The Bee in 2018, she covered local government in newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. She grew up in Michigan and graduated from Central Michigan University.

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