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Sac County - another housing department

Updated: Feb 23, 2023

On November 15th, 2022, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors (BOS) unanimously voted to create the Department of Homeless Services and Housing (item 47). The BOS also agreed to fund the creation of the Department by allocating new job positions.

Visit the new department's website - the guiding principles listed below are pulled from the website's home page

Why was this decision made?

Homelessness is an ongoing crisis in Sacramento that has only worsened in the past few years. Homelessness is up 67% since 2019 with 72% unsheltered.

In 2016, the BOS created the Office of Homeless Initiatives (OHI) to restructure the homeless shelter system. However, the Department of Human Assistance is the agency primarily responsible for directly administering the County homeless services programs.

Ultimately, the rising homelessness rates in Sac County have resulted in the decision to create the Department of Homeless Services and Housing in an attempt to better organize and enhance the response to homelessness.

How will this change impact us?

The new Department seeks to improve coordination between the County departments and community based organizations working in housing. In addition, the new department seeks to create a single point of contact for all County related homelessness initiatives. Moreover, the Department looks to enhance the tracking and evaluation of programs and investments.

Creating a single point of contact would be useful when it comes to properly addressing homelessness in the County. However, these types of departments have been made before!

It is crucial that the County dedicate their time, effort, and resources to helping the homeless population directly instead of wasting more funds on departments that lack transparency and will most likely be overwhelmed by the enormity of the problem

What are the costs?

$735 million will be allocated towards the creation of the Department's new positions and equipment. This money will come from the County's General Funds.

  • $1.2-1.5 million will be allocated towards facility costs and other business expenses

  • 26 FTE positions will shift to the DHSH - this includes 6 existing OHI positions, 4 new administrative positions, and 16 DHA positions.

The Board asked about the total amount of money that is currently being spent on homelessness, they believed it to be $180 million. It was then clarified that the $180 million mentioned is not an annual amount, but rather a point in time amount consisting of ARPA funds and other ongoing investments. However, there remains a lack of transparency regarding how exactly this $180 million is being used. A straight answer was not provided, and an exact number for current spending was not provided.

Moreover, there is a lack of transparency regarding the specific initiatives that the Department will utilize to directly aid the homeless population and reduce homelessness overall.

Although departments such as these are important for the provision of homeless services, similar departments already exist. When it comes to homelessness, million dollar figures must be accounted for and utilized to directly provide solutions for and services to the homeless.

We will continue to advocate for transparency and accountability from both the DHSH and the BOS.

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