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Sacramento homeless camp under "Downtown" sign. (Photo: Katy Grimes for California Globe)

Sacramento ‘Unhoused’ and ‘Unsober’ Need Treatment Before Housing

Homeless drug addicts thriving on the streets while city spends millions on housing

By Katy Grimes, February 4, 2021 9:07 am

Last week the Sacramento City Council voted unanimously in an emergency meeting to immediately open a warming center, a local pool house as needed, and two downtown city garages with bathrooms as safe places for homeless people, AFTER Tuesday’s massive storm with temperatures in the 30’s hit.

This Tweet summed up most reactions: “A great example of governmental crisis management. With Mayor Steinbergs stands on homelessness, did he really need to wait till winter to have his hissy fit?”

Sacramento homeless camp. (Photo: Katy Grimes for California Globe)

“Mayor Steinberg has raised millions of private dollars to help expand shelter capacity in Sacramento and secured $20 million in additional funds for the City and County as part of the 2018 state budget process,” the Mayor’s city blog said. “As the head of the California Big City Mayors group, he has played a key role in lobbying for more state resources to address the state’s most significant public health, safety and humanitarian crisis. Gov. Gavin Newsom included $1 billion to address homelessness in proposed 2019-20 budget, $650 million of which will go directly to local governments.”

Where are those “state resources” going?

The state’s “most significant public health, safety and humanitarian crisis,” is only growing, with every additional dollar ostensibly spent on curing homelessness. Calling the homeless “unhoused,” Mayor Steinberg stubbornly insists that the only problem is finding housing for them, ignoring that they are also “unsober.”

Commandeering hotel rooms, remodeling old hotels, providing tiny homes and apartments for the current crop of homeless drug addicts only makes them “housed” drug addicts. Their addiction and mental health needs to be addressed prior to housing.

Remember, the Mayor’s project to provide tiny apartments in a renovated old downtown Sacramento hotel cost more than $445,000 per unit for about 250 square feet of living space, as the Globe reported. This project only benefitted the union contractors.

Steinberg recently announced he would push to use $40 million of higher than expected sales tax revenue for affordable housing, and $6 million on youth… nothing about the thousands of homeless vagrants living on the streets who would not be able to pay the rent of affordable housing anyway.

The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing in Sacramento, and neither really cares. Steinberg instead focuses on expensive hotel renovations and building tiny homes for the drug-addicted homeless, who destroy these, and strip them of anything of value before being evicted.

In December, State Assembly Members Luz Rivas and David Chiu introduced AB 71, which would create a “statewide homelessness solutions program,” through tax increases, the Globe reported. AB 71 would create the Bring California Home Fund in the State Treasury for the purpose of providing at least $2.4 billion annually to fund a comprehensive, statewide homeless solutions program upon appropriation by the Legislature. The taxes to be raised include, “An increase in the personal income tax on incomes over one million dollars, an increase in the corporate income tax to historical rates, a more progressive corporate income tax, and conformity with the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, including the inclusion of Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income (GILTI), eliminating or limiting corporate tax loopholes, including the water’s edge election, marking to market unrealized capital gains and the repeal of stepped-up in basis of inherited assets.”

Does anyone really believe the anticipated $2.4 billion in new taxes would go to a “statewide homeless solutions program?”

The Globe spent Wednesday taking photos of illegal homeless camps around the city. Tents, old RVs, boxes, old furniture, old cars, used drug needles, stolen bicycles, and tons of garbage are standard fare under freeways, on freeway off-ramps, in parking lots, on sidewalks, in parks and along frontage streets, and they are only growing.

Sacramento homeless camp. (Photo: Katy Grimes for California Globe)

 

Sacramento homeless camp and RVs. (Photo: Katy Grimes for California Globe)

 

Sacramento homeless camp. (Photo: Katy Grimes for California Globe)
Sacramento homeless camp. (Photo: Katy Grimes for California Globe)

Rather than finding ways to get Sacramento’s large homeless population the emergency medical and mental health services they need, Mayor Darrell Steinberg threatened city residents with tent cities in their neighborhoods in December.

Calling Sacramento residents “NIMBYs,” Steinberg wants the city council to adopt a “master plan” – essentially a map marking potential properties across the city. If the council approves the map, city staff could open large shelters, tiny homes and “Safe Ground” lots for car and tent camping on the sites anytime, as funding becomes available, the Sacramento Bee reported.

“The announcement comes two years after Steinberg issued a challenge to every council member to find sites for at least 100 shelter beds in each of their districts. As a result of that call, a large shelter opened in the Capitol Park Hotel downtown, which closed in October; a womens’ shelter opened in Meadowview, and a shelter is set to open under the W-X freeway this summer.

Steinberg’s plan appears to be an attempt to approve projects without public input.

100 shelter beds in each district… for thousands of homeless drug addicts and mentally ill street vagrants – this is not a plan — it’s just a spending program.

 

Homeless vagabond walking in downtown Sacramento. (Photo: Katy Grimes for California Globe)
Sacramento homeless camp. (Photo: Katy Grimes for California Globe)

 

 

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16 thoughts on “Sacramento ‘Unhoused’ and ‘Unsober’ Need Treatment Before Housing

  1. Appreciate Katy Grimes for once again nailing this topic on every point, and for taking photos of the mess in Sacramento, too.

    ‘Does anyone really believe the anticipated $2.4 billion in new taxes would go to a “statewide homeless solutions program?”’
    NO. After all, we can see with our own eyes what’s going on and how the situation only worsens in spite of all the money that’s been thrown at it.

    Ask yourself why California’s big city mayors refuse to follow a model that has been shown to work. Is it because there is not enough cash in it to satisfy the politicians and bureaucrats and their cronies? Is this why they refuse to adopt a program that has the potential to solve the problem and truly help those who are suffering on our streets?

    Meanwhile, in other bad news, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced yesterday that City of L.A. will be ramping up Project Roomkey. All the costs will be covered by FEMA under the Biden administration. Getting their pots of federal money, that was the goal! We can be confident that it won’t help a bit and will only make things worse, but Garcetti and his cronies are probably dancing in the filth-covered L.A. streets over their windfall as we speak:
    https://mynewsla.com/government/2021/02/03/garcetti-city-will-scale-up-project-roomkey-with-fema-reimbursing-all-costs/

    1. We could use more conservative voices/opinions in more of these talks. Not only to get different perspectives but to educate each other. I don’t see any conservatives/republicans trying to come up with solutions and get them implemented. But I do hear a lot of complaining. Get involved please!!

      1. There are no local Conservatives allowed in the talks about the homeless crisis. The big city Mayors, the Governor, have been presented many options, as well as blueprints of successful programs in other states, but refuse to consider them. Because as long as there is a homeless crisis, “funding” will continue to flow to the state from the federal government, and to the cities from the state.

        1. Thanks for responding Katy!
          Have you done a report on this? I want to hear all ideas and perspectives. I also want any proof you have of this because I will present it all myself! I’m involved with advocacy groups and helping with tiny home policy in West Sacramento. If you have possible solutions I can get you or any other conservatives involved. We need more community taking action not just talking. I don’t care what side of politics someone is on if you have possible solutions I want to hear you.

  2. Here’s what’s actually going: there is in California a developer grab on older housing stock using what is called an “inverse daisy chain.” Theoretically, a county “General Assistance” grant should be just enough for a homeless person to live in an SRO or similar down-market housing (i.e. slumlord, etc.). What has happened – and Newsom pioneered this – is SRO rates have exceeded GA grants. Why? Kickbacks – the excess charged goes to fund Gavin Newsom and Cronies. The cost to society is homeless people can’t afford shelter even when we give GA grants. It has its roots in the 1991 realignment.

  3. To be perfectly honest, if I had to live in a tent I’d be drunk, too…all day, every day. At that point, what’s the use in trying? They’ve lost everything, and they’re done for. I don’t like it, but I sure understand it, 100% I do. Give them what they want — unlimited supply of the cheapest booze available. Popov, is it? Then you’ll have their attention. Sorry for the reality pill, but there you have it.

  4. Here’s another wake-up call for those who just don’t want to see the light: NO ONE WANTS TO FIX HOMELESSNESS! Count, if you can, all the industries that have sprouted up around “homelessness,” and you’ll see immediately that if homelessness were really to get solved, a whole lot of people would be out of a job. San Francisco is the most egregious, but not the only one.

      1. Lets face it, Sacramento has become the homeless capital in this dump of a state. With rising rent prices and lack of affordable housing no wonder the tweeks have taken to the streets. When the menial income for a working class Sacramento resident is $1800 a month, inflated rental market values, and less punishable drug laws, we wonder why we continue to have so many problems. Just like the dump San Fran has become the problems have migrated into the valley and have pushed the working middle class out. Big corporate and non profits have taken over hotels and complexes all over, opperating under the guise of “helping” while milking the finacial teet of the government. Simple solution, Lower rents, raise wages. End the Housing First model.

  5. You can build all the tiny homes you want, remodel the old motel 6, but they will all need remodeling, rebuilding, refurnishing in less than 6 months. Same thing we have been doing, throwing money at this “unhoused and unsober” crises for years and its only gotten worse. At the end of the day, you might have a nice tiny house for a very short period of time, but you still have a problematic, drug addict, alcoholic, depressed, individual who will sale everything possible in that tiny house for their next fix! It’s simple, the most important thing to a drug addict is their next fix, not a tiny home policy or where the nearest trash can is. Where are those social workers when you need them. oh wait, there out doing police work, educating people on masks and what 6 feet is.

  6. In the early 90’s my elderly parents lived close to the AR Parkway. One Friday evening someone was pounding on their front door screaming “they are after me let me in!.” He could not get threw the door so he came threw the door’s narrow side window with him bleeding all over from the glass brakage.. My Dad held him at gunpoint until the police arrived. The police knew theman by name. Said he was a “Druggy River Rat that lived in the AR Parkway. Nothing has changed since then (90’s)except the number of mentally ill homeless has skyrocketed ; and Steinberg’s solution is to put them in expensive housing but not in his gated Greenhaven community.Treatment first, not housing

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