In anticipation of a new fire station opening in the River District, the City and County of Sacramento, along with partner organizations, have been conducting outreach to people experiencing homelessness in the immediate vicinity.
The new station – located between North A and North B streets at North 14th Street – is being built in an area where unsheltered residents are known to congregate on the surrounding streets and sidewalks.
This creates “safety issues for everyone involved” said Benjamin Worrall, director of outreach services for the City’s Department of Community Response.
“Emergency vehicles are usually in a hurry when they’re leaving the station, and they make runs at night in rain or fog,” Worrall said. “It’s unsafe for people experiencing homelessness to stay too close to a fire station, and it’s unsafe for the larger community if an emergency vehicle is delayed because of an unfortunate incident with someone experiencing homelessness.”
The Department of Community Response recently led a coordinated outreach effort for people living on the streets near the new station. The team included City contractor Hope Cooperative and a Sacramento County Homeless Encampment and Response Team.
Working together, the City, County and Hope Cooperative were able to contact more than 125 people over several days in late May.
Ninety of those people were entered into the Homeless Management Information System, and 25 people were placed in available shelter settings, officials said.
County social workers also identified 13 people who had existing mental health treatment programs. The County is working to reconnect those people with their treatment providers.
“This outreach effort and multi-disciplinary team approach was highly successful and yielded positive outcomes,” said Ivonne Ellis, acting program manager for the County’s Department of Human Assistance. “We look forward to continued efforts that will provide connections and resources to the unhoused people who need them most.”
When completed, the new fire station will replace the aging firehouse on North C Street, which has exceeded its useful life.
The original Station 14, built in 1939, had become too small to accommodate the equipment and the geographic area it is expected to cover. The new Station 14 will be large enough to house all needed vehicles, equipment and personnel.
The new Station 14 is expected to open by mid-summer. The Sacramento Fire Department will release updated information as soon as it becomes available.