Mayor Johnson with "Safe Ground" advocates Monday
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson says he’s convinced a group of homeless people to spend the winter in motels instead of on the streets.
You might wonder why in the world would someone rather sleep outdoors in near-freezing temperatures when they could be inside. After all, local officials announced last month that they had come up with several hundred beds at shelters for the winter. But ask a homeless person like John Kraintz and he’ll tell you it’s all about personal freedom.
Kraintz: “Shelters generally kick everybody out by about seven or eight (o’clock) in the morning; won’t let anybody go there until probably four in the afternoon.”
That’s where the city-funded motel vouchers come in. Kraintz and dozens of others said yesterday that they’ll spend the winter in motels, instead of camping illegally. That would help Mayor Johnson make the case for a legal “Tent City” to a reluctant City Hall. Kraintz says it’s a step in the right direction.
Kraintz: “We’re gonna try not to be a distraction. We’re not really looking to make major encumbrances towards progress – so long as real progress is being made and it’s not just window-dressing.”
But both the mayor and the homeless know a legal camp site isn’t enough. Any overall solution must focus on long-term housing – and we’ll get more details on that plan from city and county officials later this week.