Placer allows extension for temporary North Auburn homeless shelter

Published on March 07, 2017

Coming on the heels of a successful community meeting last week about the temporary homeless shelter in North Auburn, today the Placer County Board of Supervisors approved a 90-day extension for the shelter’s operation.

The shelter’s current contract was set to expire March 31. The extension will allow the shelter to stay open while the county processes an application for a conditional use permit that would allow for longer-term shelter operations.  

Efforts to identify a new, permanent site for a shelter in the Auburn area continue. County staff and representatives from the city of Auburn and the community are actively exploring potential alternative locations, but finding and establishing a permanent shelter location could take several years. The North Auburn Municipal Advisory Council and the Planning Commission will consider a new conditional use permit application for the temporary shelter before that issue is addressed by the board.

The shelter, at the Placer County Government Center, began serving the area’s homeless population in June 2015. Volunteers of America has operated the shelter since its inception.

Since opening, the shelter has assisted nearly 700 individuals. The shelter averages 88 residents each night and has served 70 homeless veterans and 281 disabled individuals. The program has successfully helped individuals get into treatment, including both in-patient and out-patient substance abuse treatment and mental health services. The program has also helped homeless individuals move into permanent housing.

Health and Human Services staff work to ensure the homeless individuals are connected with the  many programs administered by the department. In addition, the Probation Department has a dedicated officer who meets with homeless probationers to ensure they are meeting the terms of their release.

The Placer County Sheriff’s Office has established regular patrols in North Auburn, with a task force of four deputies dedicated to safety issues. Law enforcement contact with Auburn homeless individuals has shifted as a result. Around the time the shelter opened, three-quarters of law enforcement contact was at the request of residents and employees who worked in the county’s government center. Now three-quarters of the contacts are officer initiated, according to the sheriff’s office.

“Having these three county departments work so closely together has truly improved safety for both the homeless individuals and area residents and employees,” said Jeff Brown, director of Placer County Health and Human Services. “Additionally, establishing a rapport between county staff and the homeless individuals has made it a lot easier to ensure that the people who need services can get the help they seek.”