Stockton Boulevard Homeless Camp to be Cleared to Make Room for Retail Space, Affordable Housing

SACRAMENTO -- The empty lot where the old San Juan Motel once stood on Stockon Boulevard has since become a homeless encampment.

For many people living there, it's the only option left.

"We're pushing our families and low-income people out of the areas that are being gentrified, like Oak Park and further up Stockton," said social worker Jennifer Kretschman. "And they're coming down here because there's nowhere else to go."

Kretschman is advocating for the homeless being able to stay at the site of the old motel.

"So I think it's just a matter of sanitation, right? Keeping it clean and livable for them, and it could very easily be a regular camp," she said.

Some tend to agree, like a small group of retired Sacramento City firefighters, who met up at the shopping center Wednesday morning.

"The only thing that bothers me about it is all the garbage that they leave," said retired Sacramento City firefighter Duane Clayborne. "If they were cleaning up behind themselves and stuff, might not be that big of an issue."

"People have to have someplace to live," said retired firefighter Aaron Jennings. "What can you do? They're down, they're out."

"I feel really sorry for the people," said retired firefighter Tony Bermudez. "They need someplace to live. I think the city should do something."

Two county agencies, which own separate parcels of the old motel property, have plans in mind.

Sometime in January, the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency will place a 9-foot iron fence to close off the property.

With help from the sheriff's department, the area will be cleared out. Officials plan to build affordable housing in its place.

That's good news for some of the area businesses.

Zaki Nayedkhil owns Auto World of Sacramento, which is right next door to the encampment. He said the homeless have done a lot of damage to his business.

"They break into cars," he said. "They break the ignitions, the radios, the tires, the batteries. In the last three weeks, they almost damaged me around four or five thousand dollars."

Beck's Shoes at Fruitridge Shopping Center, which will undergo a rehaul, will be part of the new shopping center.

"I hope in the end game, this will be a nice looking shopping center. It's the oldest shopping center in the City of Sacramento," said James Musgrave with Beck's Shoes. "1948 it started, so it's the oldest. If they're gonna beautify the shopping center and update it, and yet across the street still looks like city dump."

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