Elk Grove has the lowest rate of homelessness in Sacramento County, but homelessness is on the rise in the city, as it is in most communities in California. This circumstance is largely due to increasing housing prices and a serious housing shortage. The City continues to look at new options for addressing homelessness and is participating in regional efforts focused on housing and healthcare.
Housing & Homelessness Virtual Town Hall Meeting
The City hosted two virtual town hall meetings in 2022 that provided an opportunity for staff from the City's Housing and Public Services Division, Code Enforcement Division, Elk Grove Police Department's Homeless Outreach Team, and Cosumnes CSD to present information to the public on how affordable housing and homeless strategies are implemented. Questions and feedback from the public is encouraged. Each meeting covered specific areas of the City byCity Council DistrictandCSD Board service area divisions.
These meetings were held via Zoom.
Tuesday, September 28 at 6:00 p.m. (Council Districts 1 & 4)
Tuesday, October 5 at 6:00 p.m. (Council Districts 2 & 3)
About Elk Grove's Homeless Population
While many people believe that the homeless are dropped off in the city from somewhere else, this is usually not true. Research and conversations with the homeless in our community indicate that most are here because they have some tie to Elk Grove-they lived here before they became homeless, they work here, or they have family or friends here. The reality is that more Elk Grove residents who become homeless leave Elk Grove due to limited services than there are homeless who enter the city from elsewhere.
In 2018, staff compiled data from the Elk Grove Homeless Assistance Resource Team (HART), Sacramento Self-Help Housing (SSHH), and the Elk Grove Police Department on the number of homeless individuals in Elk Grove. For the July-December 2017 timeframe, there were 331 unique individuals recorded as homeless. Those that were not overnight guests at the Winter Sanctuary operated by HART were typically sleeping in their cars or outside in tents or other temporary structures.
A Work in Progress
The City is working hard to address the impact of homelessness. In the last several years, the following local resources have been added:
- A homeless services navigator
- Performs outreach to homeless persons based on citizen and Police Department reports, with the goal of helping them obtain resources, such as identification and financial benefits that they need in order to secure housing. The navigator can be reached at (916) 623-5858 and members of the public are welcome to contact him to share where there might be people in need of assistance.
- A full-time problem-oriented policing (POP) officer
- Dedicated solely to homeless issues. The City recommends calling the Police non-emergency line if you want to report a homeless person who is not involved in a dangerous situation. The non-emergency line is (916) 714-5115. If you witness aggressive or violent behavior, please call 911.
- A Mobile Crisis Support Team
- Consists of an officer and a licensed mental health clinician who can respond to calls involving people with a mental health crisis. This team assists many homeless individuals, although it is available to respond to any mental health-related call.
- New transitional housing
- Resources for single adults and families. These homes provide a safe place for people to stay while they search for permanent housing.
- Partnership with Sacramento County on the Flexible Housing Program.
- Elk Grove received ten referrals into this program, which focuses on stabilizing people by providing individualized case management and housing support services, including financial help with deposits and rent for up to two years. The program targets frequent users of public services (e.g., law enforcement/medical calls, behavioral health services), and the Police Department and the navigator collaborated on referrals into this program in November 2019. Additional referral opportunities may be available pending State funding.
Homeless encampments can contain hazards that pose a threat to the local quality of life. The Police Department, Public Works Department, and Code Enforcement Division work together to clear camps located on city property. Encampments on private property must be cleared by the property manager. Property owners who do not properly clean encampments may be subject to Code Enforcement action. Union Pacific Railroad Police are responsible for clearing encampments on railroad property.
To report a homeless encampment, call the Police Department non-emergency number at (916) 714-5115 or report an issue through the City's website.
Clean-up of homeless encampments may take up to three weeks to complete. Trespass notices or similar notifications may require multiple trips to the site to connect with subjects staying there. Once contact has been made, resources for assistance are provided to these individuals who have at least 24 hours to pack up their belongings and leave the area.
Weekly clean-ups are coordinated for encampments on city property.