Sacramento City Hall in California. The City is currently beset with homelessness encampments, lacking support from Sacramento County, and now quite possibly from its own citizens.
Sacramento, the State Capital of California, first appeared on our news radar in 2021. The city was promising a departure from standards of international tent encampment brutality towards the homeless. Today, that initiative seems to be a faded dream.
Some cities across North America created individual ‘official’ homeless tent encampments during COVID where councils provided temporary shelter of one variety or another. Some included sanitation, fire safety, security and other essential features. When not present, they are often used to justify ‘sweeping’ tent campsites away.
Sacramento’s initiative was initially much broader — a commitment to manage ALL homeless not otherwise in individual or congregate shelters by providing safe, clean, supervised city-maintained tent-encampments. There was a catch, however. The homeless would be REQUIRED to accept a place in such a city-run facility. There was to be no opting-out. Wlly-nilly outdoors living would no longer be acceptable for those who refused a place in a city facility.
The ‘must accept’ concept was controversial, but was arguably in line with a California legal requirement that outdoor living solutions chosen were not to be disturbed unless an alternative shelter method was offered. The Sacramento plan was that shelter would indeed be offered.
Pitfalls and setbacks have abounded in Sacramento as the threat of COVID has slowly mitigated and the numbers of homeless have gone up. Not the least of the city’s problems in implementing a comprehensive, managed encampment system have been squabbles in approach with regional Sacramento County.
Sadly, city council is now up against their own citizens, many of whom want Sacramento to practice a well-worn head-in-the-sand method, still adopted ineffectively almost everywhere. That approach is to raze campsites with little or no shelter options on offer. These sweeps heap misery on the evicted, their possessions destroyed, who are pretty much banished to nowhere and have little choice but to continue camping in some other city locality nearby. In California these actions, regardless of justifying excuses (often fire safety) means ignoring a judicial ruling that effectively forbids it.
Read more in at capradio: Sacramento homeless ballot measure can go to voters, judge rules