Tent City Draws National Focus; City Searches for Fixes

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, March 12, 2009

Talk about an Oprah effect.  The national focus started with her a couple of weeks ago.  But this week, the tent city went viral.  Mayor Kevin Johnson has been interviewed by everyone from the New York Times to Inside Edition – and yes, even NPR.
But while the mayor has publicly floated the idea of making the tent city permanent, the city manager’s office isn’t endorsing it just yet.
Jennings: “To this point, it’s not something that is sanctioned by the city.” 
Assistant city manager Cassandra Jennings:
Jennings: “The end goal, if we’re successful with our plan, is that people will choose other options that will provide them safe and healthy environments, and then they won’t be sleeping at those camps.” 
What the city is looking at, Jennings says, is using some housing and redevelopment funds to move people currently in shelters into permanent housing – by leasing available properties.  Then, the city could move some of the tent city residents into the shelter space vacated by the previous occupants.