Purchase of Residence For Transitional Housing, Homelessness Services Approved by Elk Grove City Council

This house on Moon Creek Way will be operated by Elk Grove HART
to assist families to transition to permanent housing. | 


February 15, 2018 |

At their regular meeting last night, the Elk Grove City Council approved the purchase of a house in a north Laguna neighborhood to assist homeless families transition to permanent housing. 

By a 4-1 vote, the council approved the purchase of the property on Moon Creek Way for $453,000. The only dissenting vote was from Council Member Steve Detrick who represents District 3 where the dwelling lies.

Although the purchase of the house was on the consent calendar, it generated extensive and at times impassioned public comment. Some neighborhood opponents expressed concern about safety and compared it to Section 8 public housing assistance.

Typical of those opposing it was Elk Grove resident David Ng who said like Section 8 housing, the placement of homeless families will be detrimental to the neighborhood.

"Every time we get someone of that caliber that is a Section 8, it is nothing but trouble and a headache," he said. "I feel the same way that the hotel for the homeless is coming to place, it is going to change the flavor of the neighborhood, it's going to make the kids scared to go home, and the crime rate will go up."

Ng also said that he has an attorney scouring the covenants, conditions, and restriction on the deed. He added that if need be, he will seek an injunction stopping the sale of the property to the city.

"I pray to God, that there will not be any incidents between my children and 'these people,'" Ng said.

Speaking in favor of the proposal was Dennessa Atiles who said that as a youth her family was homeless and the aid provided to them was invaluable.

"I am that person who was in these transitional homes, I was homeless when I was a youth," she said. "I had a single mom for a three household family, we were in homeless shelter, we had an opportunity to move into Section 8 housing. I am a Section 8 housing person. We are regular people."

During their deliberation, the council asked the city's housing program manager Sarah Bontrager to address some of the concerns expressed during public comment. Bontrager noted this particular residence would be for families with minor children and its focus will be to help them transition to permanent housing.

This facility will house approximately 13 people including a live-in manager who will be provided training and supervision. The adult tenants will be subject to background checks and drug testing.

During council comment, Detrick said the $5 million state grant received last year that will in part be used to purchase the Moon Creek Way dwelling should have been combined with Sacramento County and other cities to take a more regional approach. Claiming this was a band-aid solution, Detrick said he would like to see a centralized location with a full array of social services available established similar to Haven For Hope in San Antonio, Texas.

"As much as I want to help the homeless, I think we need to way, way more than we are doing," he said citing Haven for Hope. "We need something like that regionally."

Detrick went on to say this is a fairer solution to the neighborhoods where the transitional housing unit could be located.

"I would not be putting it in peoples neighborhood that they bought in, and they said 'this isn't what we agreed too,'" he said. "I think the goal is to help these people not only to get into transition but to take them all the way through the process and get them back to fully self-sustained in our society."

Mayor Steve Ly noted during his deliberations that he was troubled by the tone some of the comments. Ly stated that until he attended college, he and his family lived in Section 8 housing and comments about "these people" was objectionable.

"I have to tell you, that for me and my family, I was one of 'those people,'" Ly said. "I think society and how we are measured is how we treat those less fortunate."

Ly also said had it not been for the help his family had received he could have ended up in prison or a drug addict.

"You can't throw a blanket over those people and assume they are all the same," Ly said. "We all need a break sometimes."

Once the sale of the property is complete, the city will deed it to Sacramento Self Help Housing who will be responsible for ongoing operations. 

UPDATED - It was originally reported that the property would be deeded to and operated by Elk Grove HART. Sacramento Self Help Housing is the correct entity. 

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Fred Bremerman said...

Note to Editor: The City of Elk Grove Staff Report states the house will be deeded to, and operated by, Sacramento Self Help Housing and not Elk Grove HART (Homeless Assistance Resource Team).

Elk Grove News said...

Thank you for the clarification.

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