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Jake Abbott/Appeal-Democrat file

Darlene Gilmore, left, Everette Wynn and their dog “Cautious” have lived at 14Forward in Marysville since February. Both credit the program for helping them get back to their feet after becoming homeless.  The Yuba County project is being replicated in Sutter County.

Sutter County and Yuba City officials made plans to establish an ad hoc committee that will be in charge of coming up with a number of solutions to addressing the issues of homelessness within the community. 

Officials first met in May to discuss the topic. Wednesday’s meeting provided an opportunity to give officials an update on a few different projects either in the works or proposed, including an emergency shelter planned for Live Oak Boulevard, a permanent housing project proposed for Garden Highway, and a possible tent city to increase the available bed space within the city and county. 

“The one thing I was hoping we would accomplish, and I think we did, was for the city and county to work together on multiple projects. I think the group we have now wants to work together and we’ve all been aiming toward some common goals, not just with housing the homeless but on other things too,” said Sutter County Supervisor Mat Conant. “I don’t think one thing can solve the issue of homelessness. I think you need a lot of plans to make a difference, so this is an experiment to see what we can do, but we have to do something.”

One topic discussed during the meeting was the need for more affordable housing in the county and city. Conant said some good ideas brought up during the meeting included establishing a facility with hook ups for motor homes or building more tiny homes to house the homeless.

Another idea was to establish a type of “tent city” that would provide temporary shelter for homeless individuals. The idea was also floated during the first joint meeting, but officials said selecting a location for such a facility that everyone can agree on will be the next hurdle. 

“We need to find a place where we can house something like that. We would need a place to put 200 people, at least,” said Yuba City Councilman Manny Cardoza.

Sutter County is spearheading a project right now to establish an emergency shelter behind the Sutter-Yuba Behavioral Health building in Yuba City where 20 tiny homes will house up to 40 homeless individuals while they work toward permanent or transitional housing. The plan is to open the facility next month. County Supervisor Mike Ziegenmeyer said while he is excited for the facility to be up and running, there is much more work to be done to find a complete solution to the issue. 

“We need affordable housing in this area,” Ziegenmeyer said. “…We saw some models they brought in about what they are doing in Woodland to address the issue, but no one really knows the right solution. We have to do what we think is best for the Yuba-Sutter area. There is a lot of available funding out there, and the Live Oak Boulevard facility was a good start.”

The plan now is to establish an ad hoc committee that will be tasked with identifying potential funding sources for future projects, as well as finding a potential location for the proposed tent city – much like the county’s former ad hoc committee that considered multiple sites for the emergency shelter before settling on the location at Live Oak Boulevard. 

“The county is going to appoint two members, we will appoint two members, and we are also going to invite at least two members of the public to help come up with some solutions as a community,” said Yuba City Mayor Shon Harris. “We have to decide what our parameters are and our guiding principles as to what we as a community want homelessness to look like in Sutter County and Yuba City.”

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