Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Camp Closed, Homeless Return to Parkway

Which is the bottom line of this story from the Sacramento Bee, that the ongoing preferred camping site for illegal camping by the homeless is the American River Parkway, and it has virtually ruined the lower third of the Parkway for safe use by adjacent communities.

We are certainly happy that the neighbors of the camp site on the vacant lot will now be able to sleep nights, but the Parkway continues to be degraded, and one hopes public leadership soon realizes that the Parkway is a resource too valuable to allow that degradation to continue.

An excerpt.

“Since then, a core group of about 30 homeless people have camped at various vacant lots in Sacramento, in violation of a city ordinance that prohibits camping out for more than 24 hours.

“Police have responded to complaints from neighbors about the campsite nearly every day, said Sgt. Norm Leong, spokesman for the Sacramento Police Department. Police have rousted campers and confiscated their tents on three occasions since they moved onto the C Street lot about four weeks ago.

"We've been breaking up camps for many years," Leong said, adding that having many people camped out in one spot created more problems.

“Advocates from Loaves & Fishes and other groups have argued that a campsite provides a safer, more hygienic alternative for homeless people who can't find a shelter bed or who prefer to sleep outside.

“The campers caught a glimpse of what a legal campsite might be like.

"People don't realize how much a toilet can improve the quality of life," Henry Harris said, pointing to the portable toilets advocates had installed on the property.

“Harris, 46, and most others said they planned to break into smaller groups, and many would head to spots along the city's river banks….

"Tonight I'll end up back at the river," Scott David, 46, said. "I think it's a bad thing, but to not get anyone in trouble, we'll go back where we came from."