SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — People residing at a homeless camp in downtown Sacramento were told to move out — or be forced out — as the Ironman California Race comes to town this weekend.
Those people told FOX40 they were approached by police officers at an encampment on F Street, near the Sacramento Valley Amtrak station, who said to clear their possessions from the 6th Street overpass.
Some thought they had until Friday to pack up their things but came back to the overpass to find the camp had already been dismantled.
A woman, who FOX40 will call Mary to protect her identity, said her and her boyfriend had been slowly moving their belongings to another location. They returned to find the space where they had been living empty.
“They told us we had until noon tomorrow,” Mary said. “Everything is gone.”
Many people in the camp said the city is doing this ahead of the Ironman California Race, which is this weekend.
“Paperwork, clothes, shoes, food — We have nothing. Nothing at all. Period,” Mary said. “They even said they would help us move it and I don’t understand this. I don’t. This is wrong. This is really wrong.”
Looking at the racecourse, the F Street section near the Sacramento Valley Station is part of the route for Sunday’s race.
Janeen Kemp didn’t want to show her face, but she told FOX40 police officers had been intimidating them this week.
“You are going to clean for the event, but you are not going to clean for the human beings that are living here on the streets because they have no place to go,” Kemp said. “All we have been hearing is there are no resources. Finally, I was able to get a voucher today, but I believe I was the only one out of 12 people.”
The city of Sacramento told FOX40 the Department of Community Response offered on two occasions shelter or safe ground spots to the people they spoke with, but their offer wasn’t accepted.
Many at the site said they have been forgotten and are being forced to move because of an event, which isn’t fixing the problem.
“Now, I’m back at the beginning, with nothing,” Mary said. “I have nothing at all. Period. I don’t even have a coat and it’s going to rain. Everything I own was in that tent.”
The city said they offer shelter spaces when available and they can encourage people to accept but cannot force anyone to accept the offer.
In response to the incident, Sacramento Homeless Union issued the following statement:
In The city of Sacramento is back to business as usual. Our economy took a major hit during the pandemic Sacramento has become the tourist town. Prior to Aftershock encampments that were visible to the public were removed. No resourcing was given and many were on public land which falls under Martin versus Boise. Also people who are unhoused were priced out of local hotels. Martin versus Boise states that they may not criminalize or move people when no available resources are available. The encampment on F and 7th Street contains people who have been victimized by the resources that were put in place. We have repeatedly contacted the mayor and Bridget Dean with the department of community response and were ignored about resourcing these high risk individuals as well as about sweeps. We contacted them yesterday to let them know that law enforcement was at the encampment and planning to sweep. We sent another email today with no response. The local nonprofit that DCR works with came out and let everybody know that there was no available space at safe ground or in the motels. They were also told they need to be gone by October 22nd at noon. DCR came out and told encampment members that that was the first that they had heard of any sweeps even though we let them know yesterday as well as many times prior about these individuals. The city of Sacramento continues to push a narrative that services are being provided to these people when in fact the people are continually being displaced by the city and the resources. They are telling people to call 211 who has no access to direct resources. They are silently moving people across the town into different neighborhoods with no accountability. The Sacramento homeless Union in 2021 a writ of mandate against the city due to it’s sweeping without resourcing people. We will be pushing forward to hold them legally accountable for violating or unhoused and communities rights.Crystal Sanchez – Sacramento Homeless Union