The Sacramento Bee reported those living within the tent city near Blue Diamond Growers will be asked to move to shelters and other indoor structures. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District, primary owners of the land, plans to fence off the area within the area within the next month.
Not all is lost for the residents of tent city. The Sacramento City Council will hear a proposal this upcoming Tuesday to expand homeless program options. As detailed by the Sac Bee article, the residents of tent city could move to facilities on the Cal Expo fairgrounds.
The location of tent city is not without controversy. When legal campsites for the homeless were proposed earlier this year, North Sacramento developer Robert Slobe said such communities would burden the poorest neighborhoods in the region, saying the burden should be shared by everyone. These sentiments are reflected in an article by Marcos Breton, who says homeless are placed near poor people or those without political power. Regardless, it seems tent city residents will be moved to Cal Expo, which raises some interesting questions:
North Sacramento Redevelopment
Cal Expo is located relatively close to Del Paso Boulevard, which has been in the process of redevelopment for years. Would this redevelopment be slowed by the influx of potential panhandlers and street drifters?
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has proposed the homeless facility at Cal Expo remain open until June 30, 2009; however, the State Fair begins in mid-August. Will this provide enough time to clean and steralize the grounds?
What will the Councilmembers say?
A recent Sac Bee editorial claimed Councilmembers Sandy Sheedy and Steve Cohn (who both represent North Sacramento) have been very quiet on the issue. Even if that’s true, constituents such as Slobe and North Sacramento resident Chris Dunne have essentially spoken for them. It will be interesting to see what Sheedy and Cohn have to say on Tuesday.
The proposal will be presented this Tuesday at a special 2pm meeting.
Update (3/23/09): If moved, the homeless will stay at the winter shelter / old Paradise Island facility, not on the fairgrounds.