The Sacramento City Council approved a multifaceted $62.3 million project on Tuesday that aims to expand housing opportunities for the homeless and to support low-income renters.
Through the project, the city plans to fund the construction of shelters across Sacramento and renew leases on rooms occupied by participants in Project Roomkey, a project that has temporarily housed approximately 1,100 homeless individuals in hotel and motel rooms across the state.
The plan also includes the establishment of a methamphetamine addiction treatment center, with a report released earlier this month highlighting methamphetamine overdose as the leading cause of death among the Sacramento County homeless population.
“The meth problem is a unique and very serious problem, and it deserves special attention,” Mayor Darrell Steinberg told ABC10.
Funding for the project is provided through city COVID-19 relief funds in addition to grants received through a larger state housing plan, known as Project Homekey.
Project Homekey is a $600 million state project aimed at providing local governments with funding to secure new housing for homeless individuals and providing rent money to low-income renters.
The project is the successor to Project Roomkey, with the change in name reflecting the new project’s goal of transitioning temporarily sheltered occupants from the rooms provided by the earlier incarnation of the project into more permanent housing.
Through Project Homekey, local governments will apply to receive grant money from the state for use in rehabilitation projects aimed at converting areas or existing infrastructure into permanent shelter for homeless individuals.
With the majority sum of $550 million, over 90% of the total project fund, coming directly from federal Coronavirus Relief Funds, the remaining $50 million will be obtained through the state’s general fund, according to the project webpage.
Housing California’s homeless population may prove increasingly difficult, however, with the arrival of a large wave of evictions following the expiration of the statewide eviction ban on September 1 coinciding with the due date for first-of-the-month rent payments.
“A crisis like this, where people are gonna lose income and really struggle,” said Legislative Advocate Chris Martin of Housing California in interview with the Sacramento Bee, “will result in people becoming homeless at a rate we haven’t seen before.”