As the City of Sacramento works to launch new sites on its recently approved comprehensive plan to address homelessness, another part of the City’s sheltering strategy continues to achieve significant success in helping people get off the streets and into safer living conditions.
Taking advantage of federal and state funding, the City now has 370 motel rooms on contract, providing shelter and stability to 470 people experiencing homelessness.
Many of the people staying in these motels are families with children, and in some cases, people escaping from domestic violence.
“People become unhoused for a variety of reasons,” said Nick Golling, the City’s director of homeless services under the Department of Community Response. “The motel voucher program is a quick way to get people back into stable shelter and connected to the services that can get them back on their feet.”
For people who have been living on the street, a room with a bed, a private bathroom and in some cases, a small kitchen, offers safety, stability and dignity as well as a path toward a more sustainable living situation.
The stability a motel room offers can be especially important to school-age children, many of whom have been returning to in-person class this week.
“Imagine how hard it is to go to school and excel if you’re not waking up in the same place every morning,” Golling said.
As the City implements the comprehensive plan to address homelessness — which designates 20 priority sites across the city for transitional housing, congregate shelters, sleeping-cabin communities, organized campgrounds and safe parking — the motel voucher program likely will continue to grow, said Bridgette Dean, director of the Department of Community Response.
“We’re in negotiations now for another 30 hotel rooms,” Dean said. “And we’ve had interest from several more. Motel rooms may not be a permanent solution, but for a lot of people experiencing homelessness, they can lead to long-term housing.”
Contracts and development for the City’s motel-voucher program are overseen by Danielle Foster, the first person to hold the newly created position of housing policy director for the City of Sacramento.