The Elk Grove City Council will consider a partner to help address one of the community’s most fervent priorities expressed during Measure E community workshops, opening a temporary winter sanctuary to care for Elk Grove residents experiencing homelessness.
The City will consider an operator for its 2023-24 Enhanced Winter Sanctuary program during their September 27 City Council meeting. The Enhanced Winter Sanctuary is modeled after a program previously offered in Elk Grove by non-profit and faith-based organizations. It will offer consistent shelter for up to 30 of the city’s unhoused residents during the cold and rainy winter months, as well as opportunities to connect with social services, resources, and housing.
“Having available shelter options for seniors and other vulnerable people experiencing homelessness provides compassionate care to those who have an especially difficult time during the winter months, when weather conditions have led to deaths in other communities” explained Elk Grove Housing and Public Services Manager Sarah Bontrager.
The temporary facility will operate its first season from the city-owned property located at 9260 Elk Grove Boulevard, the former Rite Aid building. The start of construction on the new Elk Grove Library in mid-2024 means the Enhanced Winter Sanctuary would need to be located elsewhere in future years.
Guests of the Enhanced Winter Sanctuary will be selected through a referral system. Only adults who have been vetted by a social services agency and have a referral will be admitted to the program. Pets will be accommodated. Families with minor children will continue to be served by motel voucher programs.
“Caring for our residents is important,” said Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen. “The community clearly told us that they want to help Elk Grove’s unhoused population and establishing a Winter Sanctuary is an important first step toward accomplishing that goal.”
Priority will be given to Elk Grove residents or people with a connection to Elk Grove. The operator will enforce rules and restrictions on site that will prohibit registered sex offenders, people with serious behavioral health challenges, or those who wish to use drugs or alcohol on site. Elk Grove Police Department cameras and personnel will monitor the site for safety and security.
The Enhanced Winter Sanctuary will operate independently of any warming centers that may be activated elsewhere in the City. Overnight warming locations will continue to temporarily serve those who lack shelter or adequate home heating equipment during particularly cold conditions as dictated by criteria established by the Sacramento County Office of Emergency Services (OES).
The Enhanced Winter Sanctuary will operate from November 1, 2023 to March 31, 2024 and will be funded by Elk Grove’s Measure E. An open house for the Enhanced Winter Sanctuary will be scheduled in advance of its opening. Details will be released when they are available.
For more information about the Enhanced Winter Sanctuary, visit elkgrovecity.org/sanctuary.
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