SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The Sacramento City Council is expected Tuesday to review a proposal that Mayor Darrell Steinberg says will provide shelter to people living on the streets.
This review is coming after the mayor proposed a first-in-the-nation plan to remove encampments and house the unhoused.
The 84-page ordinance is set to go before the council at 5 p.m.
The proposed plan says every unhoused person in the city has a right to housing and an obligation to accept shelter should the city have enough shelter beds.
If approved, the ordinance would require the city to create enough shelter and housing for the unhoused population.
Once that happens, the city will offer unhoused people two options for shelter, a city-sanctioned camping site known as a safe ground tent encampment or housing in places like homeless shelters, hotel rooms, tiny homes or trailers.
The proposal says the city of Sacramento must have its 20 new sites for shelters, tiny homes and safe ground tent encampments open by January 2023.
According to the ordinance, unhoused people will be obligated to accept the offer for shelter, clearing the way for the city to begin removing encampments.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said it’s past time to change the approach to the issue from the opportunity for permanent placement to enforcement with no arrests for those who refuse and choose not to go inside.
“If offered at least two housing options, the remedy is not criminal, it’s not civil, being homeless is not a crime. But we simply say you cannot camp where you’re camping. You have to move to either a designed campsite that the city helps to operate with one of our nonprofit providers, to shelter or to permanent housing,” Steinberg explained.
According to the proposal, police would not be involved in the process.
Instead, the Sacramento Department of Community Response will respond, and those who refuse shelter won’t face criminal or civil penalties.
The Sacramento Homeless Union is one of the groups that fully opposed this proposed ordinance and said that it will force people into internment-style camps through intimidation.
Loaves & Fishes told FOX40 that the group isn’t against the measure but according to its advocacy director, the plan needs much more development before it comes to a vote.
“Just to put a dent in the need, probably looking at 5,000 units of housing,” explained Loaves & Fishes’ Joe Smith. “And there’s nothing in the ordinance that indicates when housing will be built, what kind of housing will be built, where will it be built and when will it be completed.
So, without that piece, we just felt there’s some more work to do, there’s definitely a plan that needs to be drawn up.”
The proposal will give the city 10 days to find someone a housing solution once they say they want one. if that doesn’t happen an individual could secure a court order forcing the city to act.
Tuesday’s review is the beginning of what is expected to be a long process, as the council is only set to review the ordinance.
No official vote is expected at this time.
If approved, the proposal would not take effect until 2023.