The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors will Tuesday consider spending about $23 million to buy a property for a new, large homeless shelter in North Highlands.
The project, located at 4837 Watt Ave., would place unhoused people in cabins inside a 130,000-square-foot warehouse, and also provide outdoor spaces for people living in vehicles, according to a county staff report.
The rest of the details, including the number of people who could be served and estimated operational costs, are expected to be disclosed ahead of a follow-up board vote Nov. 15, said county spokeswoman Janna Haynes.
The 13-acre site is located near Roseville Road, which has one of Sacramento’s largest vehicle encampments. The people camping in that area would get first priority to move into the new site, the staff report said.
The project would utilize about $18 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds, which the federal government granted municipalities amid the coronavirus pandemic. It also includes about $4 million in discretionary funds allotted to Supervisors Rich Desmond, Patrick Kennedy, Sue Frost, and Don Nottoli. The project is in Desmond’s district, and he plans to vote in favor of the purchase.
“I support the purchase of the site off Watt, but we need to do extensive community outreach and engagement determine the best use of the site to benefit both nearby homeless and the surrounding community,” Desmond said. “With the appropriate wraparound services, the site will allow us to get more people off the streets and open spaces and into a safe and secure environment where they can get connected to the treatment and housing they need. It will also allow us to provide relief to the surrounding businesses and neighborhoods that have been negatively impacted by homeless encampments.”
A community meeting is scheduled for Nov. 1, Haynes said.
The state Department of General Services is assisting the county in the purchase from a Delaware-based LLC. In May, an independent appraiser valued the site at $16.9 million. The higher price of about $23 million is “comparable to recent sales of similarly sized industrial properties,” the staff report said.
“As a large international real estate investment trust, the seller is bound to its stakeholders, and may not discontinue marketing their property as available for lease until the county as the buyer is able to execute the agreement via this recommendation for board approval,” the staff report said. “Board approval is required at this time in order to continue to pursue this purchase.”
The board earlier this year approved two large tiny home villages for homeless people in south Sacramento near Florin Road. They have not yet opened.
The proposal comes as the county is under increasing pressure to open more homeless shelters. County and city leaders have been negotiating the terms of an agreement that would outline their responsibilities to address homelessness. It is tied to the enactment of the city’s Measure O, a ballot measure that would empower officials to sweep more homeless camps and nudge the city to identify more shelter.
The board will consider the purchase during its 9:30 a.m. meeting Tuesday.
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