Special trailers at Cal Expo, designated for homeless people with COVID-19, receive first patient

Special trailers at Cal Expo — designated for people experiencing homelessness who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or who are pending investigation due to known exposure — received their first patient Wednesday afternoon.

Known as the “medically supported isolation center,” these trailers offer a safe and sanitary place for people to isolate, receive care and recover from the illness.

“This site is a crucial part of our community-wide response to COVID-19 because we need place for folks who are positive to remain in isolation to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Andrew Geurkink, project manager for the City’s homeless services division. 

The City received 63 RV-style trailers from the State of California earlier this month. They are part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s$150 million funding plan to protect vulnerable populations, including people experiencing homelessness, during the pandemic. The state also is leasing motels, hotels and other facilities in partnership with counties and cities to provide immediate isolation placement and housing options for people in need.

The City is overseeing the management of the trailers and has hired Goodwill Industries as the site operator. Goodwill is coordinating with Sacramento County Department of Health Services to help meet the medical needs of patients. All trailers are equipped with their own bathrooms and showers, and all on-site employees will be trained on proper safety protocol and will be provided with personal protective equipment.

The trailers are located within a fenced portion of Cal Expo, and there is no walk-up access for the general public. Security is provided 24/7, and medical staff is on-site daily to provide care and treatment. Referrals for the trailers will be handled by shelter, outreach and health partners.

Sacramento is one of the first “big cities” in California to have its state-issued trailer site up and running. Los Angeles reportedly launched its trailer site Friday.

The state-issued trailers play a key role in a larger $15 million sheltering-and-housing action plan developed by the Sacramento Homelessness COVID-19 Response Team task force, which includes the City of Sacramento, County of Sacramento, Sacramento Steps Forward and the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency (SHRA).

The plan, approved by the Sacramento City Council and the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors last week, provides nearly 1,000 beds for homeless people either diagnosed with or at high-risk for contracting COVID-19. Largely funded by state and federal COVID-19 emergency response funds, it also includes $1.25 million to improve sanitation in existing homeless camps.

Elements of the plan include:

  • 850 motel rooms
  • 80 beds through expansion of existing shelters
  • 63 new travel trailers at Cal Expo
  • 500 meals delivered to encampments each day
  • 50 hygiene stations placed at encampments, including portable toilets and hand-washing facilities


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