SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The City of Sacramento will open a warming center inside the lobby of Sacramento City Hall, as well as other warming centers through partnerships with Sacramento County and the City of Elk Grove, in response to consecutive days of below-freezing temperatures.

The respite centers are part of a Sacramento County weather specific response program that has weather-related triggers for activations, used for the first time in January 2021 in both extreme cold and extreme heat situations.

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As part of the county’s plan, about 100 motel rooms vouchers are available for weather activation. These voucher provides multiple days of continuous stay, at minimum of three days compared to six to twelve hours at a weather respite center.

From December 9, 2021 to January 4, 2022 the program served more than 400 people and nearly 270 households, according to the Sacramento County website.

Transportation to motels is provided through this program as well as the option for people to shelter with their pets.

To activate the weather-related response, for cold weather, there must be:
  • Nighttime lows of 37 degrees or lower for two or more days within a five-day span; or
  • Rain for two or more consecutive days (forecast 60% or more); or
  • One day or night of rain combined with nighttime lows of 32 degrees or lower.
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At the same time as this local cold snap, Sacramento Steps Forward oversees the Sacramento Continuum of Care, a coordinating organization for government agencies, will organize the Point in Time Count of people experiencing homelessness.

The count happens every two years and is required by the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The last time it happened was 2019, because of COVID in 2021 it was postponed. The last count found that 5,570 people experience homelessness in Sacramento County on any given night. That number up 19% from 2017.

Leaders who work with people experiencing homelessness said the number of unsheltered people in Sacramento has increased over the past three years and the pandemic likely played a role.

Gregg Fishman with the City of Sacramento Department of Community Response, said the colder temperatures may “complicate” the count because people may move to warming centers instead of their usual location, but that they will still be counted, it may just take more time.

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Warming Centers Open This Week 

  • Sacramento City Hall Lobby open Wednesday and Thursday from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.
  • DHA Annex Tuesday to Thursday , 6 p.m. to 8 a.m
  • Creekside Adult School Tuesday to Thursday, 6 p.m. to 8 a.m
  • Capitol City SDA Church, nightly from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m
  • Union Gospel Mission, nightly from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Wackford Center, Elk Grove Tuesday to Thursday, 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.
Two centers will also be open in Stockton. Both will be open through Thursday night. They are:
  • Arnold Rue Community Center at 5758 Lorraine Ave.
  • Stribley Community Center at 1760 E. Sonora St.