For decades, winter storms and dropping temperatures in West Sacramento have brought deep concern for the city’s homeless population. Numerous sheltering efforts have been begun and ultimately waylaid, abandoned, found to be too cost-prohibitive, or entangled in zoning or neighborhood opposition.
In 2018-19, the Mercy Coalition’s churches and partners are on the threshold of what they hope will be a breakthrough solution. Following models utilized in other cities throughout the region, the Coalition has a proposal before the City of West Sacramento that would utilize existing church facilities as overnight Winter Warming Centers in a one-year, joint city/county/coalition pilot program. After researching, planning and vetting for more than eight months, the Coalition expects to see the proposal go before city council on Nov. 7.
“This is the moment,” said Don Bosley, the Coalition’s board chair and also pastor of Lighthouse Covenant Church, one of five host church sites that have been identified for the pilot. “We’ve sat in our warm homes for years and wrung our hands about how to help our friends being battered by the elements outside. Now we’ve got this confluence of partnership, volunteerism and political will, and we’ve got a bunch of congregations willing to open their doors and figure out how to make it happen. No one wants to miss this chance.”