Auburn homeless shelter at Placer County Government Center result of settlement agreement
Officials avoid legal battles and seek practical solutions in the homeless crisis
AUBURN, CA – Placer County is creating a mobile temporary shelter for people experiencing homelessness in the Auburn area. This shelter will soon be located at 11517 F Avenue in the Placer County Government Center and will consist of approximately 50 tents with cribs and basic beds.
The shelter’s creation is part of a settlement agreement with the law firm of Mark E. Merrin, which filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of several unhoused individuals, alleging loss of property during the clearing of homeless camps on county property in the spring of 2022.
This settlement avoids a costly legal battle and instead invests public funds in our community. “We want to put resources into ending the cycle of homelessness rather than paying lawyers to go to court.”
District 3 Supervisor/Chairman, Jim Holmes
The goal of a low-barrier shelter is to provide unoccupied individuals with temporary shelter with the hope of obtaining permanent housing in the future. While drug testing is not required, alcohol and drugs will not be allowed on the premises and weapons will be banned. Those who do not adhere to the health and safety rules will be asked to leave.
“This pilot project is an opportunity for the county to address one aspect of homelessness and see what might work in the long term. We can make adjustments and changes as we seek an effective solution.”
District 1 Superintendent Bonnie Jour.
As part of the settlement agreement, the shelter will also provide showers, toilets, trash service, and access to drinking water. The shelter is adjacent to a county building, which will serve as a heating and cooling center during severe weather. Tents will be offered to the individuals represented in the settlement first, and any remaining tents will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis to the unoccupied members of the community. If all goes as planned, the sanctuary will open in February.
“This is a solution that I hope our residents get left behind because it allows us to help chronically homeless populations while ensuring the health and safety of our communities,” said District 5 Supervisor Cindy Gustafson. “There are no easy answers to this complex social issue, but I believe we’ve found the best way forward for now and will correct if necessary.”
Regardless of the settlement, the Board of Supervisors will vote Tuesday on whether to authorize a rough $1.1 million contract with First Step Communities to run the shelter over six months. First step communities is a Sacramento-based nonprofit organization with extensive experience operating similar shelters. The contract will require 24/7 on-site shelter supervision and basic case management services.
Related: The Homeless Crisis