Yesterday, the Sacramento Bee reported on the possibility of a legal campsite for Sacramento’s homeless. Police, city and county leaders, and homeless advocates are considering several potential locations for a site that would offer basic services such as running water and portable toilets. Even Mayor Kevin Johnson is open to the idea, noting the success of a tent city in Phoenix, AZ.
Potential tent city locations are said to be within walking distance of Loaves & Fishes on North C Street, specifically a longtime homeless campsite within the American River Parkway near the Blue Diamond facility. Such a sanctioned area would need to be approved by the City Council and Sacramento County Board of Supervisors.
This proposal will most likely face opposition. North Sacramento developer Robert Slobe told the Bee that tent communities would burden poor neighborhoods such as his with more problems. As for the homeless problem in general Slobe told the Bee,
“Homelessness will not go away any time soon, but we can no longer burden our working poor and their open spaces with the full weight of the problem. It is a burden to be shared by all.”
The proposal to provide land for a tent city is good. Aside from Loaves & Fishes, Sacramento does not have an abundance of homeless shelters. Still, Slobe’s concerns are legitimate. The potential sites are chosen based on their access to light-rail routes, which would run down Del Paso Blvd and into North Sacramento.
Sacramento established a Ten Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness in 2006. The next homeless count is scheduled to begin on January 27, 2009.