Homeless Could Soon be Prohibited from Staying Outside Sacramento City Hall During Business Hours

SACRAMENTO -- Saturday night, there were close to 100 people outside Sacramento's City Hall in sleeping bags and tents.

Many said they were there to escape the cold and rain because there's no where else for them to go.

"They’ve given us no place to go, except for this and we’re kind of making a protest here," Bruce Young said.

Young is one of many that have been staying at City Hall for shelter off and on.

But now, Sacramento City Council is considering an ordinance to prohibit sitting or lying down at City Hall during business hours while allowing people to be present on the grounds during overnight hours.

"Over the past week or so I was surprised quite frankly because the police were clearing out people during the day, and allowing them to sleep there during the evening, and then the mayor apologized," Bob Erlenbusch said.

Erlenbusch, a member of the Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness, said there are limited options for the homeless during inclement weather.

"Look at the weather. It’s cold," Erlenbusch explained. "There are overhangs [at City Hall] to keep people out of the rain. They haven’t opened a cold weather shelter.”

City officials say the new ordinance will maintain a suitable environment for city employees.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg released the following statement:

"The proposed ordinance represents a humane approach that will allow people experiencing homelessness to rest during the night. We continue to focus our efforts on creating more shelter capacity so we can get thousands of people off the streets.”

For now, Young will be staying there at night.

He said more needs to be done to get people living on the streets into temporary shelters.

"People are losing their sanity and their will to live because they have no shelter," Young said.

The new amended ordinance will be discussed at a council meeting on Tuesday.

 

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