ANTELOPE, Calif. (KTXL) — Some business owners in Sacramento County say they are fed up with the growing population of people experiencing homelessness in their community, and they’re hoping a letter to a Sacramento Superior Court judge will help.
“We’re right now standing at the corner of Watt Avenue and Roseville Avenue, in the 80-Watt District,” said Antelope Business Community District Executive Director Chris Evans.
Homeless camps like the ones on Watt Avenue and Roseville Road are what Evans says business owners are growing tired of.
“Within every district now, we have massive homeless encampments and they’re growing,” Evans explained.
In addition to his role at the Antelope Business Community District, Evans is also speaking on behalf of the 80-Watt District.
Evans, along with six other property business improvement districts, say they are tired of cleaning up after people.
“We have our pods of drug users that leave behind their drug paraphernalia, used syringes,” said Melinda Michael, with Fulton Avenue Business District.
That’s why they wrote a letter and sent it to a Sacramento Superior Court judge asking to implement the Chronic Nuisance Offender Program that allows misdemeanor repeat offenders treatment instead of jail time.
“The Chronic Nuisance Offender Program was the vehicle we had to do that. When the courts stopped the program, we’ve lost all ability to get people help,” Evans said.
Sacramento County Supervisor Rich Desmond says COVID-19 is the reason the court had to stop the program for the time being.
“As a result of the CDC public health guidance, they have temporarily halted that Chronic Nuisance Offender Program, which reduces the amount of people who may end up becoming incarcerated,” Desmond said.
Desmond says there are discussions on bringing back that program in some form, but he hasn’t seen those proposals yet.
In the meantime, people like Evans and Michaels hope this letter can be the answer to their problems.
“All of our financial resources that we have put in our programs, our clean and safe programs, have become for naught,” Michael said.
The Sacramento County Superior Court sent a statement to FOX40 on Monday:
“The Sacramento County criminal justice partners met last week to discuss issues regarding the status of bail in light of the recent decision of the California Supreme Court in In re Humphrey. These discussions included concerns raised by both the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office and the Sacramento County Property Business Improvement District about recidivist arrestees. The Court continues to evaluate the impact on bail from the In re Humphrey’s decision which restricts the use of bail to detain an individual pretrial unless certain criteria are met. Although the Court understands the concerns expressed, we are mandated to maintain a bail schedule and bail system that is consistent with the U.S. and California Constitutions.”