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Sacramento’s Plans for Vacant Lots are Met with Mixed Reactions

SACRAMENTO -- The empty, green strip at 2950 57th St. is just one of at least 96 properties owned by the City of Sacramento that could become home to the homeless.

"I don't really know about the homeless issues. I know it's very complicated," said Chris Maloney, who lives across the street.

While Maloney doesn't know everything about the sheltering situation his city is struggling with, he has seen his neighborhood battle the issue.

"I've seen trash like out here in my front yard. Even, at one point, it looked like someone had definitely used this area as a restroom," Maloney said.

Those are some of the reasons why he would be concerned if the spot was chosen by Sacramento to house the kind of specialized tents that have been serving those without homes with success in San Diego since December.

City leaders have not yet created a list of preferred sites among what Sacramento owns, so all of them are up for consideration.

Jose Hernandez has many of the same concerns Maloney does. He doesn't want the vacant lot on the city's list at 3900 Broadway to house 200 people.

"I think the homeless sometimes get out of whack, you know?" Hernandez said.

By that Hernandez says he means possible crime and violence.

His South Oak Park neighbor, Chema Salinas, lives even closer to the Broadway lot but his feelings are completely different. He sees gentrification forcing more people onto the streets.

"I think that it would probably, ultimately be a good thing to help with some of that displacement," Salinas said.

Grandmother Esther Gutierrez wants others to find the happy life her family has in their neighborhood.

"Maybe this neighborhood has resources for them that other neighborhoods don't. You know, like the women's center, Wellspring Women's Center. That's a big help for homeless center," Gutierrez said. "Then the City of Refuge right here, they're starting to help out a lot more people in the neighborhood now. So why not this neighborhood?"