The Midtown Business Association met earlier this month to discuss problems some merchants are having with a recently relocated homeless youth provider.
According to a 15-page report, neighboring businesses like Buckhorn Grill, the Bread Store, City Bicycle Works, the Gifted Gardener and others noted an increase in trash and loitering around the area since Wind Youth Services opened up shop at 17th and J streets.
Also mentioned was drug use, physical altercations and camping in the back alley behind Wind’s new location, on the third floor above Big Brother Comics. Complaints were filed with the MBA, Sacramento Police Department and even the building’s management.
MBA executive director Emily Baime Michaels confirmed the April 10 meeting, but declined to go into detail. “Yes, we had a meeting to proactively explore solutions to benefit both Wind and Midtown,” Baime Michaels wrote in a brief email.
Development director Sarah Mullins said Wind is aware of the growing concerns and held an April 1 open house to educate those interested on the positive impact its services provides homeless youth. On a given day, the center provides 46 regular youth with showers, meals, clothes, mental health and case management services, and a space to rest their heads.
“Youth homelessness is not a new problem to downtown or midtown; we moved to this area to be more accessible to youth,” Mullins said via email. “We’re doing everything we can to provide solutions and a positive space. People have a right to be on city streets and sidewalks. We just want to continue to provide services and support to those that need it most, in a place that youth can access us.”
Wind relocated to the space in January after shutting its previous youth center location in North Sacramento last year. The new office operates Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on weekends from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with five administrative staff members on site between business hours.