City adds 60 tents to Miller Park ‘safe ground’ to help people experiencing homelessness

The City of Sacramento this week is adding 60 tents to its temporary “safe ground” camping site in Miller Park to support unsheltered residents in the community.

The Miller Park safe ground site currently hosts 17 trailers to shelter people experiencing homelessness. The site previously offered tents, but they were removed for safety reasons when severe storms struck the Sacramento region in January.

The tents have been added back to the site at the request of Mayor Darrell Steinberg and with the support of Councilmember Katie Valenzuela, who represents the district. In addition to creating more emergency shelter space in Sacramento, the site will continue to provide safety, security, sanitary services and access to other resources for people who have been living unhoused in the area.

“Having these tent spaces available in Miller Park makes a tremendous difference in my district,” Valenzuela said. “These programs allow us to be significantly more effective in our approach to homelessness.

“Since launching the first safe site in District 4, we’ve been able to get hundreds of people off the street and connected to services, with a significant percentage of those guests exited from homelessness entirely,” she continued. “While these sites are not an optimal long-term solution to the crisis, they are a necessary triage step during the interim while we focus on increasing our affordable housing stock, and it’s exciting to see the conversation around citywide expansion of these programs returning to City Council.”

The Miller Park tent program previously operated between February 2022 and January 2023. During that time, 376 people accessed the safety and stability of the program. Of those participants, 142 individuals moved on to positive exit destinations, including congregate shelters or back with family. Of those 142, 25 moved directly into permanent housing.

When the region experienced severe wind and rain this past January, the City was forced to remove the tents due to flooding concerns. The City operates Miller Park in coordination with the Central Valley Flood Protection Board and is required to evacuate the site when certain water levels are reached. After the removal of the tents, 17 trailers were placed on the site to provide shelter to those in need.

The trailers and tents at Miller Park are intended to operate temporarily while the City and County of Sacramento work together implementing their new partnership agreement, which identifies longer-term sources of emergency shelter that will add hundreds of beds to the local inventory.

“Opening additional safe ground at Miller Park is an important step in creating appropriate places in the city for people to camp,” Steinberg said. “Temporary facilities like Miller Park will make it easier for the city and county to deliver services and help people find temporary and permanent housing. We will aggressively pursue more safe ground in the weeks ahead. By clearly identifying where people can camp, we can more effectively clean those city corridors where it is both unsafe and unhealthy for people to live.”

Since the City launched its safe ground program in April 2021, 953 individuals experiencing homelessness have been served, with 374 participants moving to positive exit destinations, including permanent housing.

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