According to the lawsuit filed by a group called Coalition for Compassion, shelters planned for the unhoused will be located too close to freeways and overpasses, presenting traffic dangers and potential health risks, from exposure to exhaust fumes.
The lawsuit highlights the proposed areas along 18th and 26th streets, which see upward of 246,000 vehicles per day.
One of the lawsuit’s petitioners spoke to FOX40 off-camera and said his architecture business on X Street is located right across from where one of the proposed encampments would be.
The business owner said he’s already filed at least 50 complaints with the city regarding used needles and people defecating near his business.
While unfamiliar with the Coalition for Compassion, Anthony Prince with the Sacramento Homeless Union said they are also reviewing the lawsuit, which echoes many doubts they have as well.
“We’re very concerned about forced, compulsory internment of the unhoused, placing of homeless people in a so-called sanctioned encampment right where they’re exposed to lead, airborne particulates, carbon monoxide,” Prince explained.
Steinberg told FOX40 he and others are joining the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s House America initiative and will dedicate $41 million of American Rescue Plan funds toward various strategies to help the unhoused community, including his Master Siting Plan.
“Now our work is to match the money with the sites and to begin actually creating the tiny home villages, the safe ground camping and parking, and the permanent support of housing,” Steinberg said.
When it comes to concerns with the Master Siting Plan, Steinberg believes attitudes will change once the building process begins.
“It’s incumbent upon us to make sure that what we build represents quality,” the mayor said. “Secondly, people are living in squalid circumstances that are harming the business environment and so we want to bring people inside.”
The lawsuit also says sites should not be placed in already-disadvantaged neighborhoods and claims city officials have failed to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act.
Steinberg said he hopes to get the sites up and running before winter starts.
See the lawsuit in full below.
See the letter from Coalition from Compassion below.