Mayor Darrell Steinberg joined with representatives of city, county and state government Wednesday to announce that the first 175 tiny homes promised to the City by Gov. Gavin Newsom will be erected in the middle of a planned health and wellness campus on Stockton Boulevard in South Sacramento.
The tiny homes will be supplied by the State and operated by Sacramento County under the City-County partnership agreement signed late last year. The current agreement is to operate the tiny homes for three years, though Steinberg emphasized the lease with WellSpace Health, which owns the property, could be extended.
“We are turning a corner together, the City and County, through our partnership agreement,” Steinberg said. “People ask all the time, ‘Are you going to build a campus in the city and county of Sacramento that is going to do more than just shelter people?’ To all those who have been wondering where we are going to build our first campus, you’re standing on it.”
Councilmember Eric Guerra represents the area and said the City, County and WellSpace are committed to working with the community and the surrounding businesses to make sure the $100-million wellness campus benefits the area and helps reduce the impacts of unsheltered homelessness.
The 13-acre property was purchased by WellSpace Health earlier this year. It has sat vacant since 2003, when a developer built a retail center that never opened. The existing buildings will be quickly repurposed to include an outpatient clinic, a behavioral health crisis treatment facility, a dental clinic and the headquarters of the WellSpace-operated 988 crisis line.
WellSpace, a non-profit provider that serves more than 125,000 people annually in the Sacramento area, is also planning new buildings that will contain 200 substance abuse treatment beds and a step-down facility where people can prepare to reenter society after treatment or confinement. The final phase of the project will add a community health center and senior housing tailored for older Southeast Asian residents of South Sacramento.
Full build out is expected to take about eight years. In the meantime, the State is finalizing an agreement to place a Safe Stay Community on the Stockton Boulevard site that is similar to the one the County just opened at Florin and Power Inn roads. The County would operate Safe Stay Community as part of the fulfillment of its obligations under the partnership agreement with the City.
“This is not intended to be a place where people live for a long time,” said Jonathan Porteus, CEO of WellSpace Health. “It’s a place where people can come and transform their lives.”
They were joined at Wednesday’s announcement by Hafsa Kaka, the governor’s senior advisor on homelessness; and Emily Halcon, director of Sacramento County’s Department of Homeless Services and Housing.
Halcon said the Safe Stay communities are “inviting people in, no matter what issues they may be having, and offering all the services they need to meet their daily needs and help them find a path out of homelessness.”
Newsom announced earlier this year that the state would purchase 1,200 tiny homes on behalf of local jurisdictions around the state, including 350 for the City of Sacramento. Besides the Stockton Boulevard site, the administration has identified Cal Expo as another potential site for the remainder of the promised tiny homes in Sacramento.
Kaka said the state expects to finalize a contract to purchase the tiny homes later this month and expects to break ground on Stockton Boulevard by the end of the year.
She noted that Newsom has committed more than $30 billion to address homelessness and affordable housing since taking office. That includes a $17.7 million grant to Sacramento County that will help pay to operate the Safe Stay Community on Stockton Boulevard.
“All the initiatives from the beginning of the governor’s tenure until today have resulted in tens of thousands of people having shelter,” Steinberg said.