Report on Elk Grove's winter homeless shelter to be presented to city council, mayor

According to the recently released point in time count, Elk Grove's homeless population grew 
between 2022 and 2024. |



Last November, the city of Elk Grove inaugurated its first semi-permanent homeless shelter, the Winter Sanctuary. The facility operated between November 1 and April 30.

In years before the homeless shelter opened, Elk Grove only provided emergency shelter services during winter freezing temperature events. With the initiation of this semi-permanent shelter, Elk Grove elected officials tacitly acknowledged what was an unsettling reality for them - even though the city is a new suburban municipality, after years of rampant growth and benign neglect, it could no longer ignore the city's growing homeless population. 

More recently, District 4 City Councilmember Sergio Robles encouraged enhanced services for Elk Grove's fast-growing underprivileged population. In conjunction with the city's federally-funded workforce development programs, Robles urged Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen and the city council to consider a universal basic income.

By Elk Grove standards, Robles' suggestion is a radical departure from its historic politically conservative orientation. It is, however, indicative of the problems that lie ahead for Elk Grove as its homeless population steadily increases and uncertain economic forecasts lie ahead coupled with the uncertainty of a possible Trump administration, which could slash federal funding that the city has come to rely on for various projects. 

It is in this environment that Singh-Allen and her four councilmen will hear a report from the city's housing manager, Sarah Bontrager. In her position, Ms. Bontrager has spearheaded the city's evolution to more humane homelessness practices. 

The staff report for the Wednesday, June 12, city council meeting includes an analysis of reports for service by the Elk Grove Police to the city-owned facility located at Waterman Road and Elk Grove Boulevard. The temporary shelter was located in the recently and feverishly promoted Old Town-Historic Downtown Elk Grove entertainment district, and many businesses and residents had strenuously objected before it opened last year.

The Wednesday meeting at Elk Grove City Hall starts at 6 p.m.  
     
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