The City of Sacramento has proposed using the former Science Center site adjacent to the Children's Receiving home on Auburn Blvd as a homeless shelter. The site, across the street from unincorporated Arden Arcade is about as far away from residents of the City of Sacramento as possible. Many, many moons ago the City of Sacramento claimed a small strip of land that projects eastward between Auburn Blvd and Highway 80. The land currently consists of the Children's Receiving Home, the now-vacant Science Center, a baseball field that the City of Sacramento barely maintains, and the lightly-used, difficult-to-access Del Paso Park. Because the land is within the City of Sacramento's boundary, the city gets to decide how the land is used. And, even though unincorporated Arden Arcade residents live across the street, the City of Sacramento did not notify our community about the project. Perhaps the City of Sacramento has moral/ethical obligations to do that, but there is no compelling, official reason to do so.
The project is not without controversy. Issues about impacts on the Children's Receiving Home have come up. The City of Sacramento Council Member who represents the area has expressed concern that his constituents have not weighed in. To his credit, our own District 3 Supervisor, Rich Desmond, plans to hold a "Town Hall" meeting, though there hasn't been much public notice about it. Supervisor Desmond's Town Hall will be held tomorrow morning at 9 am. You can register for it by going to his page and clicking on the event entitled "Town Hall: Sacramento City Proposed Auburn Blvd Respite Center."
We're not saying it is either good or bad to have a homeless shelter at the old Science Center. Homelessness is rampant throughout our region and it is abundantly clear that the current situation is not delivering solutions, despite the millions of dollars that have been thrown at it. People are fed up with the trash and litter visible around homeless camps and wonder about the obvious lack of sanitation in and around them. But people also want homeless people to be treated with compassion; cold, wet weather only makes the problem worse. So it is reasonable that new shelter space and services be established. Still, it seems really suspect that the City of Sacramento would place the proposed facility so far away from city residents and so close to the voiceless residents of good old unincorporated Arden Arcade. It's almost like, being unwilling to handle their own problem, they expect someone else to shoulder the burden for them.