The downtown Sacramento neighborhood of Land Park is under siege by drug addled homeless who live on the streets and in the park. They break into homes, cars, garages, sheds, defecate, urinate and vomit on the streets, shoot up in plain sight. These transients aggressively confront neighbors at homes, inside and outside of stores, gas stations, within the nearby city park, in restaurants – everywhere residents live, recreate and shop.
Yet, in just the last two weeks, in this neighborhood (not even all of downtown Sacramento), there have been more than nine burglaries and:
transients masturbating in public;
transients defecating on sidewalks;
A restaurant on Broadway nearly burned down confirmed by Sacramento Fire Department as caused by transients;
A new drive-thru Starbucks across from Sacramento City College was broken into;
Valero mini mart broken into several times;
July 4th as a neighbor and his wife and kids were leaving a fireworks show at Raley field, they were accosted by 20 ANTIFA thugs wearing black masks, wielding wooden batons and chains with ANTIFA flags surrounding them. When the group saw the man wearing an American Flag T-shirt, they immediately surrounded the family and began screaming “F*ck you Mother F*cker!” “F*ck America” along with various other vile insults. They were able to get away. No response from the Mayor or his councilman;
Daily, transients are found screaming loudly inside coffee houses and restaurants, agitated and demanding to use the bathrooms, and steal anything they can get their hands on;
Squatters in vacant homes for sale;
Beekeeping Supply Store was broken into and has a boarded up door from the recent burglary, was broken into again, and now has a second window smashed and boarded;
Drug house bust – it was first reported as a meth lab, but it turned out to be a designer LSD lab.
This is a partial list of incidences.
I have lived in this downtown urban neighborhood of Land Park in the same home for nearly 30 years, and my husband has lived in this neighborhood since he was a child. Never have we or our neighbors witnessed this level of lawlessness, theft, property crimes, vile and heinous behavior, and children threatened by homeless drug addicts, while the city does little and elected leaders call us NIMBYs.
Many of the residents have called and written to Mayor Darrell Steinberg and City Council members, and attended City Council meetings, warning that before innocent, law abiding residents are physically hurt or even killed by one of these homeless drug addicts, they may want to take a more serious look at the city’s policies, as well as the funding amassed for the homeless crisis, and start taking reasonable, serious actions.
Many have asked that the transient people be triaged and receive appropriate services – not tiny houses or expensively remodeled hotels. They need medical, mental and physical health assessments, and then to be provided the proper services, paid for with the millions amassed by the Mayor. Some should be incarcerated. We have suggested that if they need temporary housing to bring in trailers, Tough Sheds, tents, porta-potties, and the like for temporary housing. If our military can live in tents and temporary structures when deployed, so can transients. This is not a housing crisis – it is a drug crisis, and needs to be addressed as such, despite that the Mayor insists that these people are down-on-their-luck neighbors.
Residents have identified that the issue has been created by government, therefore it is incumbent upon the Mayor and Council to act upon it immediately, even on an emergency declaration, before someone in this city is murdered.
This is not a partisan issue; drug addicts, transients and vagrants affect everyone.
Does the City Have Programs For the Transient/Drug-Addicted/Homeless Crisis?
The City of Sacramento touts a program called Sacramento Steps Forward, “a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to ending homelessness in our region through collaboration, innovation, and connecting people to services,” the website says.
The Form 990 shows they grant $10,032,858 to other organizations, and $1,341,111 on salaries and $220,055 in benefits, $99,087 in office expenses, $86,279 in travel, $22,521 in conferences and $116,972 in occupancy.
They have one full time employee who is paid $150,000 annually.
On the Form 990, they say, “Sacramento Steps Forward is responsible for distributing and managing federal funds granted by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. During 2017, the Organization passed-through $10,032,858 in HUD grants to local nonprofit agencies…”
Sacramento Steps Forward is a passthrough, apparently shaving off about $4 million in the meantime. Salaries, benefits, travel, conferences and offices total nearly $2 million.
“Sacramento Steps Forward convenes a twenty-five member Continuum of Care Advisory Board, made up of local stakeholders committed to ending homelessness. The Advisory Board includes nonprofit providers, homeless advocates, people who have experienced homelessness, local government leaders, business leaders, law enforcement, and more.”
“Neighborhood Connect is a neighborhood-centered outreach effort tailored to the needs of groups of individuals experiencing homelessness in a specific area. The Organization works with neighbors, community groups, businesses, emergency services providers, law enforcement and other stakeholders to identify hotspots and develop a plan for matching people with services appropriate to their needs. Sacramento Steps Forward Navigators are a professional outreach team who meet clients where they congregate or reside and provide case management to help them end the cycle of homelessness by overcoming barriers and accessing and utilizing programs for which they are eligible.”
Many wonder what these groups are actually doing since drug-addicted transients and mentally ill vagrants are only increasing in number.
Sacramento Steps Forward says this about “Ending Homelessness Together:”
“Ending Homelessness Together is a new training program developed by Sacramento Steps Forward that activates the people power of volunteers and neighborhood organizations to end homelessness using well tested best practices and regional alignment of local initiatives.”
One of Mayor Steinberg’s responses:
In my role as head of California’s Big City Mayors group, I have lobbied hard and successfully for more state resources to address homelessness. Gov. Jerry Brown included $500 million for local governments in his last budget, $20 million of which came to the city and county of Sacramento. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget includes $1 billion to address homelessness. Of that, $650 million would go to local governments for short-term solutions to homelessness.
I hope you will take the time to learn more about our efforts and to support them. In my new role as chairman of the governor’s Statewide Commission on Homelessness and Supportive Housing, I will continue to scour the state and the country for the best solutions that we can apply here in Sacramento.
Please visit our blog at Engagesac.org to stay up to date on the latest developments.