Mayor Kevin Johnson thinks the region could meet his goal of providing 2,400 permanent shelter beds for the homeless in time for this winter's wet and cold weather.
Sacramento Steps Forward, the mayor's non-profit organization founded to address the region's homeless issue, has helped identify more than 2,000 beds so far, officials said today. Johnson's goal was to find 2,400 before next year.
While officials are ahead of schedule on finding permanent housing for the homeless, "there are still far too many people who are homeless" in Sacramento, the mayor said.
Also today, Johnson announced that Sacramento Steps Forward had hired an executive director.
Ben Burton was the executive director of the Miami Coalition for the Homeless the past nine years. Among the chief challenges facing Burton, he said, was linking homeless families with affordable housing without relying on constructing new units in a challenged economy.
As for the issue of developing a city-sanctioned "safe ground" for the homeless, Burton said it was a "complicated" issue and that he wanted time to study the landscape here before deciding whether it might work.
The mayor has been frustrated with what he has described as slow progress in putting together a sanctioned tent city for the homeless that would act as transitional housing for homeless individuals seeking permanent shelter.