AUBURN, California – Placer County has opened a unique mobile shelter in Auburn to help local residents who are homeless. Located in the Placer County Government Center, the low-barrier shelter consists of approximately 50 sturdy tents with cribs and basic bedding. The shelter, which opened on Tuesday, also has shower and toilet facilities, a garbage service, access to drinking water and picnic tables.
In addition to emergency shelter at a county facility, which also doubles as a warming and cooling center during extreme weather, supportive services such as drug treatment referrals and housing options are available.
“This mobile shelter will provide structure, services and opportunities for our homeless population,” said Marshall Hopper, Placer County’s chief probation officer. “Our Probation Outreach Team will continue to work directly with this population, breaking down barriers, providing hope and second chances.”
The site is maintained 24/7 by First Step Communities, a nonprofit organization with experience managing tented accommodation in the City of Sacramento. While drug testing is not required, alcohol and drugs are not allowed on the premises, and weapons are prohibited. Those who do not comply with health and safety regulations must leave.
The Chairman of the Board, Jim Holmes, was regularly on site during the implementation and said: “This is an investment in our community. It will improve the health and safety of these homeless people, as well as our neighborhoods and businesses.”
The accessible shelter has a simple set of rules, including a 10pm curfew, a limit on how much property can be stored inside the tent and observing quiet times. In order to keep the shelter clean and safe for participants, no donations of household items are currently being accepted.
The establishment of the shelter was part of a settlement agreement with the law firm of Mark E. Merin to resolve claims on behalf of unaccommodated individuals who allegedly suffered property losses during the Spring 2022 eviction of homeless encampments on county property.
As of Wednesday afternoon, approximately 30 people had completed the shelter’s admissions process. Although there are no residency criteria for acceptance into a shelter, the shelter is intended to serve those without a shelter in the communities of Auburn and North Auburn.
“Although this is the first of its kind in Placer County, we hope it will serve as a model for our community partners and cities across the county,” said District 5 Supervisor Cindy Gustafson. “Tackling the complex problem of homelessness requires a committed, collaborative approach.”