Sacramento Bets Big on Homeless Tiny House Shelters

Sacramento is going all in on tiny houses for its homeless population.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg on Wednesday released the locations of 20 sites, where the city plans to build homeless shelters, most of them tiny houses. The city council will vote on whether to approve all of them, a radical shift from the slow process of approving a single site at a time.

Steinberg said the vote will be nothing short of historic, and an acknowledgement of the ‘state of emergency’ they find themselves in. “We can no longer approve one site at a time. We have got to act as a city that this is a true state of emergency.”

These 20 sites will serve 2,209 people at once, and are mostly located at publicly-owned properties. Among the locations are three Regional Transit parking lots and several parcels owned by Caltrans.

None of these sites are in East Sacramento, Land Park or North Natomas, something that did not sit particularly well with Bob Erlenbusch – executive director of the Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness. “It’s really disappointing that the wealthier neighborhoods did not step up in the same way to make the plan more equitable across on the board,” he said.

On top of the 20 sites, the master plan also lists 19 additional sites that could potentially be used for a similar purpose in future, subject to further study.

The new plan by the city will cut homelessness in Sacramento by almost half. In 2019, it was estimated that there were 5,570 homeless people in the city on any given night.