Midtown church shutters overnight shelter, leaving 16 Sacramentans outdoors

Sacramento civil rights attorney Mark Merin addresses activists and unsheltered Sacramentans in the wake of Midtown's St Francis of Assisi Parish shuttering its 16-bed overnight shelter on April 7, 2020.

Some 16 Sacramentans experiencing homelessness may have to sleep outside tonight after Midtown’s St Francis of Assisi Parish alerted them that they will be shutting down their overnight shelter.

Masked activists and shelter guests stood across from the parish in Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park on Tuesday afternoon, searching for options on where the newly unsheltered guests could go to seek shelter from the coronavirus pandemic. They say the church said it was closing the shelter due to funding concerns.

Among those present were civil rights attorney Mark Merin, Kristine Metzker of Mercy Pedalers, and Crystal Rose Sanchez of the Sacramento Homeless Union.

Metzker says she has been a volunteer at the shelter for 12 years, and that some of the shelter’s guests have been receiving services from St Francis for as long as she’s been there.

Activists say they have not heard from the city, county or state on options for the 16 guests, but members of the newly formed homeless advocacy nonprofit SAC Soup have asked city leaders to provide motel vouchers for the guests.

Meanwhile, advocates have started a GoFundMe, and are also asking Sacramentans for donations of sleeping bags and tents as a last resort.

Representatives from both the church and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg’s office were not immediately available for comment.

Note: This is an ongoing story that will be updated as new developments unfold.


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Dave Kempa
Editor at VOICES: River City
Dave Kempa is the founder and editor of VOICES: River City.