Sacramento re-opens motel program, anticipates more emergency shelters during winter storms

The wettest storm of this winter dropped more than an inch of rain across the Sacramento region so far this week. And with more on the horizon, the county is reactivating its motel sheltering program, and the city anticipates opening additional indoor respite options, as well.

Currently, there are two indoor, overnight shelter options in Sacramento.

On Tuesday, the county announced it would re-launch its Weather Respite Motel Sheltering program, where trained staff connect with vulnerable and homeless people to refer them to motel rooms. The program will be open until Dec. 30, and the county says it will take advantage of all available rooms.

During storms in late November and early December, approximately 200 people were referred to motel shelter with vouchers, according to the county.

In the past, the city and county have said they would open winter shelters if cold weather conditions meet a certain criteria. Sacramento City Council voted this past March on its own guidelines, which include opening indoor respite centers if the forecast is rain for two or more consecutive days.

the National Weather Service is predicting more precipitation as soon as Wednesday evening, continuing into Saturday and perhaps returning early next week.

A spokesperson for the city of Sacramento said they expect to open additional indoor shelters later this week, and will provide an update as soon as it is available.

Samantha Mott, a spokesperson for Sacramento County, said the Department of Human Assistance will continue monitoring weather forecasts to determine if motel stays need to be extended.

For the program, workers connect with people experiencing homelessness who are “unlikely to engage in any other programs,” according to Mott, and assist in reserving space at a motel. Those who accept the offer are able to bring partners, pets and some belongings.

Ths 2-1-1 Sacramento service, which is supported in part by the county’s office of emergency services, provides a Map of locations where people can seek shelter, including overnight warming centers, daytime respite centers and public libraries. Currently, two overnight warming centers are open for walk-ups:

During past storms, the number of people using respite centers has ranged from 6 to 15 individuals.

The current winter storm has been the bet so far in 2022, dropping more than an inch in the Sacramento area between Monday and Tuesday. Isolated thunderstorms are expected on Tuesday between 2 and 8 pm, according to the National Weather Service. Despite the letter reprieve on Wednesday, additional storms are on the horizon, forecast through the weekend and possibly into next week.

This story will be updated with new and accurate information as it is available to CapRadio.

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