The City of Sacramento is opening a temporary “safe ground” camping site for people experiencing homelessness in the “peninsula” parking lot section of Miller Park.
The new safe ground site, at 2701 Marina View Drive, will be used on a temporary basis to provide safety, security, shelter, sanitary services and access to other resources for people who have been living unhoused in the area.
With space for 60 tents, the site can accommodate approximately 80 unhoused residents in the Southside Park and central downtown areas.
“I’m excited to work with the Department of Community Response to begin welcoming guests to this site,” said Councilmember Katie Valenzuela, who represents the area. “Miller Park is uniquely suited to this task. We’re taking lessons learned from our experiences at W/X and approaching this new site in a way that will function efficiently, safely and provide mutual benefits to our unhoused neighbors and the surrounding community.”
The City’s safe ground site currently in operation at W/X streets has been almost entirely phased out. To date, this site has helped nearly 200 people experiencing homelessness transition into more stable housing. The City continues to operate its safe parking site on Front Street.
The same portfolio of services that have been offered at the W/X site will be offered at Miller Park, officials said. It will be used as a transitional site for the 10 remaining guests at W/X, as well as a low-barrier site providing an entry into a support system for people in nearby unsanctioned encampments.
“We can’t effectively help our unhoused residents or provide relief to our neighborhoods unless we have safe places for people to sleep and to get connected with the services they need,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “The W/X safe ground proved to be an effective bridge for transitioning many into shelter or permanent housing. I’d like to thank Councilmember Valenzuela for standing up these crucial facilities in her district.”
“I appreciate Councilmember Valenzuela’s commitment in making this and other sites available to address the needs of our community members experiencing homelessness,” said Bridgette Dean, director for the Department of Community Response. “I want to thank her for that commitment, and I also appreciate our mayor and city council members ongoing efforts to secure additional sites for this critical purpose in their districts.”
The new safe ground site is projected to open in early February and will provide new tents, as well as access to restrooms, showers, garbage collection and 24/7 staffing to connect people to health services and programs to help them secure long-term housing.
In establishing the site, the City consulted with the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, which manages flood control plans for the area. As part of that process, the board determined that an encroachment permit was not required because of the temporary nature of the structures.
Safe ground is not intended as a long-term solution, officials said. Safe and stable sites such as the one at Miller Park are a step toward achieving long-term, sustainable housing.
Councilmember Valenzuela and the Department of Community Response will host a webinar for community stakeholders who would like to learn more about the site. Participants will have a chance to ask questions and provide feedback.
The webinar is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5. Please register here: https://cityofsacramento-org.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_4PN2j33wSAS-NPjzoq8Jcw
The Miller Park safe ground site is the third major advancement the City has announced in the past month in its ongoing effort to address unsheltered homelessness.
On Jan. 21, the City announced that it had purchased 102 acres of vacant land in south Sacramento for use as a car camping site and eventually for affordable housing and a community amenity for District 8, represented by Councilmember Mai Vang.
And on Jan. 18, the state announced it had awarded $23.9 million to the City of Sacramento to create 92 units of permanent supportive housing by converting the current Best Western Sutter Hotel in downtown Sacramento — also in Councilmember Valenzuela’s district