Sacramento Homeless Community Insists City Allow Them to Remain at Site, Criticizes ‘Police and Forced Eviction’

PC: Justin Sullivan via marketplace.org

by The Vanguard Staff

SACRAMENTO, CA –– The Sacramento City Council meeting here Tuesday night saw hundreds of people, who were expected to demand “unhoused community members living at Camp Resolution be met with dialogue and solutions, not police and forced eviction.”

Supporters said Camp Resolution is a “self-governed lot on the corner of Colfax and Arden that has given those without shelter a place to live together with support systems, food and water supply, lights and power at night, and access to other survival, health and hygiene needs” since September.

The city-owned lot was originally slated to be a “Safe Ground” site for RV parking and tiny homes, according to the unhoused community, and reportedly, City of Sacramento officials “publicized this plan as part of its comprehensive siting plan, in the media and directly to unhoused people experiencing sweeps—initially towards the site and then off of it.”

But about 100 unhoused people were tossed from the area in April of this year—and were told by the city, according to those removed, to “come back” after construction. The City then spend $617,000 in “taxpayer monies” for fencing, said the unhoused community.

And then, said homeless community proponents, Sacramento City Police raided the area on Nov. 4, “tagging” every tent and RV to be removed last Friday, Veterans Day.

“No services were offered and officers could not confirm whether there was any available shelter or Safe Ground space for those being removed, a constitutional requirement under Martin v. Boise. Police returned on Nov.7 to re-tag all of the homes with an eviction date of Nov. 16 (Wednesday),” according to a statement from the homeless group.

“This was the land they promised to give us,” said Danyell, one camp resident, echoed by Kim at the Camp, who added, “Self-resolution is the only way we’re going to solve this, because they’re not doing what they’re supposed to do.”

“We did it your way and it didn’t work. Now we’re gonna do it our way,” insisted Tammy, another camp resident.

“We demand a different response to our existence from our officials,” said Sharon Jones, a resident of Camp Resolution, adding, “We have been moved around so much and lost everything more than once. What do you consider cruel and unusual punishment? The City and County need to work together instead of passing the buck and scapegoating homeless residents. This has to end for us to survive. We need resolution.”

“Winter, rain, and floods are coming. There is no housing, shelters are full, services are deeply inadequate, and the city’s answer continues to be unrelenting harassment and violent displacement through sweeps of the most vulnerable residents of this city,” said Shelly Williams, a local mutual aid organizer supporting the camp. “These people deserve the safety of a temporary community, and ultimately, housing.”

The unhoused statement notes, “The City of Sacramento has had a Land Use Covenant since 2017 with the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board for the Colfax Yard, and received approval earlier this year to use the site for Safe Parking. While the Sacramento City Manager is claiming the lot is unsafe, sampling and data analysis completed on behalf of the city in 2021 proved the site was not hazardous. 

“This project was passed over because of its price tag, nearly $4,000 per space per month, according to past Mayor and Council comments and press coverage—not because of a toxic danger to potential residents.”

More than 550 organizations and individuals have signed a formal letter supporting Camp Resolution, the group claims, advocating for Sacramento CC and the City Manager’s office to “order that City Code Enforcement and Sacramento Police Department notices of abatement, trespass, or eviction not be enforced on the 16th (Wednesday) and to instead invest resources and services, such as housing and health linkages, trash pick-up, restrooms, and more into the existing encampment.

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