Three new warming centers in Sacramento have been full every night they've been open, according to the City of Sacramento.
The city says 700 homeless people and families have stayed at the centers a total of 2,000 times.
Emily Halcon is the Homeless Services coordinator for the city and says two centers provide a place to sleep and eat.
"None of them were open in this capacity last year. In previous years, we have opened weather refuge centers when there have been extreme weather events in accordance with the Office of Emergency Services," Halcon says. "This year, the city went above and beyond those standards, which really were pretty strict, to open centers based on higher threshold of temperature as well as when there was rain."
Two centers are in the Wind Youth Services building in Oak Park and a city building on 11th and I streets.
A third center at the Southside Pool House is open only during periods of bad weather. Halcon says the city changed its policy as to who can stay in a shelter.
"We're testing the concept of low-barrier shelters where you can come with your pets, you can come in with your partner, you can come in with your possessions," Halcon says. "We found it to be quite successful. We didn't have any issues with the guests or their pets. People came as they are and, in general, no questions were asked about your situation."
The warming centers are scheduled to stay open until April. Halcon says the success of the centers is encouraging.
"Our goal here ultimately is to do much more than just have a warming center and to provide a true triage shelter where people can receive services and access to housing," Halcon says. "So, this is sort of an incremental step to get to there."
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