Elk Grove Launches New Program To Clean Up Unsheltered Homeless Encampments
Recently, the City of Elk Grove started a program that pays unsheltered Elk Grove residents to clean up their encampment spaces. With unsheltered homelessness on the rise in Elk Grove, along with a large amount of trash increasing in the City, Elk Grove officials including Elk Grove Police discussed finding a solution that would benefit both the environment and the unsheltered population. Hoping to form a better relationship, the program intends to work hard to fit the needs of the community. The program is a new pilot or test to study its effectiveness before it’s introduced to a wider area.
How It Works
Every two weeks, City officials distribute trash bags to unsheltered homeless encampments in Elk Grove. When they drop off the bags, they pick up the trash collected by the unsheltered encampment residents. In exchange for this hard work, the City provides them with $20 gift cards to local grocery stores. These gift cards can be used for any product except alcohol and cigarettes, with food and hygiene items being the most popular purchase items.
More About Homelessness In Elk Grove
Elk Grove has the lowest rate of homelessness in Sacramento County, but homelessness is on the rise in the city, as it is in most communities in California. This circumstance is largely due to increasing housing prices and a serious housing shortage. The City continues to look at new options for addressing homelessness, including tiny homes and participating in regional efforts on housing and healthcareelkgrovecity.org
Although on the rise, the City of Elk Grove boasts the lowest rate of unsheltered homeless in Sacramento County. According to the City’s website, Elk Grove’s unsheltered homeless community are generally long time or former Elk Grove residents. City officials say rising home/rent prices, as well as a shortage of affordable housing, are to blame for the rise in unsheltered homelessness across the city. While the addition of new affordable housing in Elk Grove In recent years has been lacking, Elk Grove has added new resources to address unsheltered homelessness.
Early Results Are Positive
Although the program is still new, there have been multiple early benefits. First, the program appears to create stronger bonds between the unsheltered homeless community and the City of Elk Grove itself. Many of the unsheltered homeless are grateful to have the ability and freedom to purchase needed items on their own terms, rather than relying on shelters and donations. Some of the unsheltered homeless have even found housing. In addition, the City saves thousands of dollars by not using staff and equipment to clean the encampments, using less than originally budgeted. Overall, the new program is proving to be extremely successful.