Despite Citations, Advocates Say Homeless Campers Not Moving

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Police showed up at a privately-owned property Wednesday morning and cited 11 homeless people for violating the city’s no-camping ordinance. Officers also seized more than 30 tents and sleeping bags as evidence. Police spokeswoman Laura Peck:
Peck: “The Sacramento Police Department is sort of stuck in the middle on this situation. We’re sensitive to needs of homeless, but we have a duty to address complaints from the surrounding community, from neighbors and residents.”
But homeless advocates expect the campers to return to the same site Wednesday night. Civil rights attorney Mark Merin is leasing a piece of his private property to the homeless group. He says the campers are still welcome to sleep there.
Merin: “It’s heartless, it’s a crazy policy, it spends money that’s wasted just moving off of a piece of private property that was made available for them to use. The city should be providing property for them.”
About 30 people have been camping on Merin’s property in Sacramento’s Alkali Flats neighborhood for the last couple of weeks. Meanwhile, police say they’ll continue to enforce the no-camping ordinance.