Shelter Beds Saved
By Joan Burke

The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors voted on June 17 to preserve funding for Sacramento County’s shelter system! They were considering cutting funding to the winter shelter and 160 additional shelter beds (totaling around 320 beds) due to the County’s budget deficit, but now the total number of beds will remain the same, although the type of shelters and the level of services they can offer will shift. The winter overflow shelter that closed on July 1st will now reopen as usual for the colder months in November.

The staff of the Department of Human Assistance, notably Director Bruce Wagstaff, Deputy Director Toni Moore, and Homeless Services Director Suzanne Hammer, also deserve our thanks. They worked long hours to maximize available funding and come up with a creative and workable plan. They care deeply about the homeless men; women and children helped by Sacramento’s homeless programs and truly deserve to be recognized as outstanding public servants. The Supervisors were faced with very tough choices and a slashed budget but voted to save the shelter safety net.

We will face additional challenges as the state government decides on where to cut to meet its own budget crisis. Sacramento’s cuts to its mental heath and primary care systems have been severe and are of great concern.