Our City Services

What We’re Doing About Homelessness in Salinas

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Overview

We are working with our partners on a compassionate, real solution to homelessness. That solution requires both that we address immediate needs and that we respond systemically at the scale the problem requires. That’s what we’re doing.

The partnership we have formed includes the City of Salinas, the County of Monterey, homeless service providers and the Community Foundation of Monterey County.

In More Detail

The short term:

  • We must address the health and safety crisis posed by the encampments that block City streets and sidewalks: because of threats such as human waste, discarded needles, drug dealers, and the inability of emergency vehicles to get through the streets, people are in danger, and people may die.
  • Some people ask, “Why not leave the campers in place until there’s somewhere for them to go?” Our answer is that the current situation has gotten much worse than it has been before, to the point that people’s health and lives are in imminent danger, from human waste, discarded needles, drug dealers who are moving in to prey on the homeless, and more. All of us who are working together on this, including homeless service providers, agree that this cannot continue. Meanwhile, we are providing assistance, including access to shelter, while we work on the larger solutions that are needed.
  • After working with our partners in the homeless service community to give advance notice to the campers that they would not be able to set up semi-permanent encampments, we are conducting a cleanup of those encampments, as compassionately as we can, working with our contractor Smith & Enright.
  • We and our partners are working with the people affected, to help them move, to preserve their possessions, and to get them access to services.
  • We are expanding access to the homeless warming shelter.
  • The City of Salinas is applying for a $588,000 Emergency Shelter Grant from the State of California.

Next steps:

  • Within the next few months, a new health services center will open at 125 East Lake in Chinatown. This center will help to meet some of homeless people’s most pressing needs: for basic hygiene, health services and access to housing.
  • We and our partners are working with landlords and developers to make more housing available to low income and homeless people. This will include the proposed Mid-Pen project in Chinatown, which will provide 92 units.
  • We are pursuing the purchase of other properties in the area to provide additional housing and development opportunities.
  • We are addressing impediments like brownfields and lot consolidations to enhance development opportunities. We will revisit and revise the Chinatown Community Rebound Plan and review the Focused Growth overlay and improve land-use designations.
  • We will improve transportation, such as by reconnecting Chinatown to the downtown and the Intermodal Transportation Center to reduce its physical isolation.

The long term:

  • For too long, responses to homelessness have occurred separately and at a scale that can’t match the true scope of the problem. Neither the City, the County, nor any nonprofit can meet this challenge alone. But working together, we can.
  • Working with our partners at the County and in the nonprofit community, we are pursuing a strategic solution, at the scale that will address the underlying causes and the effects of homelessness.