Wednesday, April 15, 2009


For years, we—and many others—have been claiming that the concentration of homeless services in the North 12th Street/Richards Blvd area has served as a magnet to attract homeless from other regions and subsequently to set up illegal campsites in the American River Parkway to be close to the services, a position the illegal campers agree on, as this article notes.

It also explains how the service providers actually help them set up the illegal camps, something we had not known.

Scattering services throughout the community will be much more effective in helping the homeless, and reducing the corrosive impact that the concentration of services has on the residents of poor communities, struggling businesses, and the heavily impacted American River Parkway.

An excerpt.

“(Sacramento, CA) On Monday, police officers handed out flyers telling residents to leave within 48 hours. Construction crews began marking boundaries for a new fence to be built later this week. And homeless advocates brought trucks by to help some residents move.

“Robert Booker doesn’t want to, but he’s packing his tent. It’s Moving Day for Booker and some other tent city residents – but they’re not moving very far.

“Booker: “The two trees – the big ones – and then see that big radio tower?”

“He points to the east, maybe a couple football fields down the river – and just beyond the property line the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District plans to fence off later this week.

“Booker: “Between those two is a clearing right there, and that’s where we’re moving.”

“Ben: “You’re basically moving the minimum distance to get off the property.”

“Booker: “Exactly. Because the services are over here – Loaves and Fishes, Salvation Army. So the further you get away from it, the harder it is to use the services.”

“Booker walks over to a nearby pickup truck and starts loading it up. The truck belongs to Garren Bratcher, who works at the nearby Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen. He’s been driving back and forth from the old campsite to the new one all morning long.

“Bratcher: “I brought my pickup, and Loaves and Fishes paid for the gasoline, and just helping people move. If they need assistance, they can put their stuff in my truck and I’ll take them wherever they want to go.”