Our newsroom elves just got this email from Supervisor Rich Desmond about the Science Center on Auburn Blvd. being converted to a homeless shelter:
As many of you are aware, the City of Sacramento recently opened a weather respite center in the former Powerhouse Science Center located near the intersection of Auburn Blvd and Watt Ave. This site is part of a “peninsula” of the City of Sacramento that extends into the unincorporated County. The Science Center property is owned by the City of Sacramento and sits next to the Sacramento Children’s Receiving Home that serves at-risk youth. The peninsula area is represented by Sacramento City Councilmember Sean Loloee and Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna. I represent the unincorporated residents and businesses surrounding the peninsula.
As you may recall, Mayor Steinberg proposed a homeless shelter at the Science Center several months ago and was met with opposition from me, Supervisor Serna, Councilmember Loloee, the Children’s Receiving Home, and many community members who live nearby in the unincorporated County. We all agreed that a City of Sacramento homeless shelter at this location was a bad idea. After several meetings with community members, local businesses, and Children’s Receiving Home officials to hear their concerns, Supervisor Serna, Councilmember Loloee, and I worked out a compromise with City Manager Howard Chan to use the Science Center on a very limited basis as a respite center for the homeless during extreme weather events.
In late June, Mayor Steinberg unexpectedly announced that he wants to open the Science Center as a 24/7 shelter to serve 50 homeless individuals. I was not contacted by the City of Sacramento prior to this announcement. Although I am always looking for ways to create more capacity to help the homeless while providing relief to communities negatively impacted by homeless encampments, I am opposed to the Mayor’s plan because I believe the operation of a City shelter surrounded by unincorporated communities will not adequately address the concerns or needs of unincorporated residents and businesses in the area. I also believe it would threaten the well-being at the at-risk youth being served next door at the Children’s Receiving Home. It is especially troubling to me that this proposal would be announced before any discussion or outreach to those community members who will be most affected by it. Unfortunately, neither Supervisor Serna nor I have a say in what the City decides to do with the Science Center because it is in the City limits. The Science Center proposal will be discussed and decided at an upcoming Sacramento City Council meeting, possibly on June 26, 2022. In the meantime, I am contacting City Councilmembers to express my opposition to this proposal and will be formally sending a letter of opposition. I urge you to also express your concerns directly to the City Council and hope my colleagues in the City will listen and work with us.
Please feel free to contact my office for more information at (916) 874-5471 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Supervisor, District 3