SACRAMENTO — They may not have had much to say as city leaders gave the nod to the pursuit of new plans that could house hundreds of homeless Sacramentans in their neighborhood, but those who live in Old North Sacramento are finding their collective voice.
“I’m totally against these facilities for the homeless here because we have so many cultivation facilities,” said one woman.
“Really the proposal is a shameful thing, to come to the most troubled community plan area in the city and propose the first, and frankly as far as we can tell, the only facilities,” said former city councilman and community advocate Rob Kerth.
“They’re going to be going through the residential area and putting people at risk. You’re putting children at risk and people at risk,” said Rob Branch with PRB Commercial.
“This is too big of an impact on one community. It’s too large. It’ll cut us off. It’ll kill revitalization,” said another homeowner from the area.
In a standing-room-only meeting organized by the area’s business partnership, home and business owners railed against proposals that would turn one spot on Railroad Drive into the city’s new winter sanctuary with 300 beds.
“These projects do not facilitate or promote a thriving business culture or facilitate the happiness of the local residents,” said partnership board member Deneb Williams.
Additional steps in the city’s attempt to do more for its recorded 2,000 residents without shelter could include 150 low-income units on Arden Way and a 200-bed triage center and shelter on Evergreen.
George Karyszyn wants the city to do better by his homeless neighbors, but with extra police patrols and in-and-out access in question he doesn’t believe these ideas would control the problems he’s faced.
“I’ve seen them sleeping in my gangway, breaking my windows, climbing over the fence to get in just to do basic damage, urinating all over the front of my business,” he described.
“That’s not true!”
Zach Yates, an uninvited representative from Mayor Steinberg’s office, was shouted down as he tried to clarify the plans and detail benefits.
In the end, Old North Sacramento may be looking at its own options.
“Yeah, need to consider going on the offense and consider re-incorporating as North Sacramento,” said one man during the meeting to a loud round of applause.
The city’s new homeless plan is not on the city council agenda for Tuesday, but community members intend to make it an issue there by speaking out during public comment.
The area’s councilman, Allen Warren, was not at the community discussion and isn’t expected to attend the council meeting because he’s slated to be out of town.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the community as Del Paso Heights. It has since been corrected.