SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A proposal could ban and clear homeless camps along the American River Parkway.
This week, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors will look at two ordinances surrounding the removal of homeless camps across areas in Sacramento.
Wildfires along the American River Parkway in the city of Sacramento and county have become a problem.
A county leader said that is one of the main reason’s why they are hoping to eliminate camping along the parkway. He also said if these ordinances are passed, they could only be enforced if something else is already in place.
Homelessness in Sacramento County is also getting worse. A recent report from the Sacramento Steps Forward shows that homelessness has increased more than 60% since 2019.
Currently, more than 9,700 people are without a home. Danielle Turner is one of them and so is David Whitworth.
“They promise you something and get nothing,” David Whitworth said. “That’s the bottom line.”
Many have been homeless for years, it is a problem with no quick solution, but Sacramento County is hoping to begin somewhere.
“Because of the wildfire risk, we have to be realistic about this problem and the impact it is having on the parkway,” Rich Desmond, Supervisor for Sacramento County District 3 said.
Desmond adds that the wildfires along the parkway have gotten so bad that it is considered an immediate hazard area.
The proposal will prohibit anyone from being in the parkway between the first hour after sunset and sunrise.
“They endanger the safety of the campers, first responder, users and some homes nearby,” Desmond said.
If passed the other ordinance will allow officers to remove camps near flood control, transportation infrastructure and public areas like libraries and schools.
“This is coming because we have not struck the right balance,” Desmond said. “That balance is between providing more capacity and assistance to the homeless and controlling area where people can camp.”
Homeless advocates have argued homeless camps should not be removed until there is enough housing.
Desmond agreed that there are not enough resources for the unhoused population.
“I don’t believe in just moving people around that doesn’t accomplish anything, I think that is inhumane,” Desmond said.
However, if these two rules are approved this week, the hope is that they will not go into effect right away.
“The authority that we are putting in place for these ordinance will only be used or maximized when and if we get more capacity,” Desmond said. “I will take that message to the community.”
The board will vote on those two ordinances Wednesday beginning at 2 p.m.