Rush To Open Winter Homeless Shelter

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, November 9, 2007

It’s lunch time and about 80 homeless people are lining up outside the Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen in Downtown Sacramento. 

"Please have your ticket stamped and come on to lunch, thank you." 

Julie Seymour is here for a hot meal. She says she just became homeless. 

"Well I just got out of prison three days ago."

Neither she nor Xavier Battice, who’s also homeless, have heard that the county shelter is opening early. 

Seymour: "I didn’t know anything about it. I’ve been calling shelters for the last three days and they’re all full." 

Battice: "Oh yeah, there’s a waiting list."

Seymour: "Yeah, a four page waiting list." 

Seymour says she’ll try to get into the winter shelter when it opens Friday night. Meantime, work crews are rushing to get ready for an early opening. Christie Holderegger is with Volunteers of America.   

"We just found out on Wednesday that we were going to open up on Friday which is about ten days early but we’ll be ready." 

She says they’ve spruced the shelter up with a fresh coat of paint and new linens. But the showers won’t be ready for another week since they’re still laying tile down.

Holderegger says they don’t expect too many more people than last year. 

"Probably about the same. I know last year when we opened the shelter we had a lot more the first night then we’ve ever had before. I think the word got out this was a much nicer shelter." 

But Xavier Battice says he probably won’t be going to Cal Expo. He says he’s had a rough week after UP evicted the tent city. And a two night motel voucher he got from the city runs out Friday night. 

"I don’t know what I’m planning on doing after I get out of the hotel. I might just get out of Sacramento all together. I don’t think they do enough for the people around here." 

The winter shelter can hold 154 men, women and children. It will stay open through March.