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‘Homeless’ Crisis: Rising Crime and Violence in Sacramento Ignored by Mayor, City Council

This is not a partisan issue; transients, vagrants and drug addicts affect everyone

By Katy Grimes, July 15, 2019 2:08 am

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.

Some the residents have reluctantly formed non-profit security associations to patrol our streets, and unofficial social media groups to communicate and message the Sacramento Police Department, and Mayor Darrell Steinberg and City Council members’s offices. Residents and neighbors have become a thorn in the side of the Mayor and are called out in his press conferences as whiners and NIMBYs.
Valero store burglary Land Park

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.  

Valero store burglary, Land Park

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.

Sacramento Steps Forward has an income of $14 million, $13 million of which is government grants, according to their 2017 IRS Form 990. Since 2013, Sacramento Steps Forward has received $53,438,945.

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.

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7 thoughts on “‘Homeless’ Crisis: Rising Crime and Violence in Sacramento Ignored by Mayor, City Council

  1. Wow! Unbelievable!

    I’ve always thought many of these community non-profits are “pass-through” organizations getting big money but not really making much of an impact. Local radio stations promote their 501c3 organizations as doing a great service in the community. I think it’s mostly a money grab where money is divvied out with full knowledge nothing will get done.

    Citrus Heights is beginning to see increases in public nuisance incidents committed mostly by homeless people on drugs.

  2. In L.A. the vagrant nightmare continues to spin further out of control and as far as I can see it has not been addressed AT ALL by city officials except for the usual platitudes by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti about housing. But never fear! – the mayor has been very busy reassuring illegal aliens — with Chief of Police Michel Moore at his side — that he and the chief of police and the city have their backs. No expense spared on resources to help you! Hot lines to handle questions! Free legal advice and lawyers!

    This is not exactly a news flash as by now we’ve all seen the Coalition of California Officials — from city mayors to Gov. Gavin Newsom himself — offer the same resources and encouragement to RESIST and KNOW YOUR RIGHTS for those who are in the state and country illegally. Good job, leaders! Thanks!
    “L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti Releases Video Directed at Trump’s ICE Raids”
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7247621/Los-Angeles-Mayor-Eric-Garcetti-releases-video-directed-Trumps-ICE-raids.html

    In response to recent Ridgecrest-area earthquakes, Mayor Garcetti, still burying his head in the sand about the homeless/vagrant catastrophe, pontificated about “neighborhood resilience” and encouraged block parties all over the city. O-kay….. that’s a new one….. Haven’t noticed any huge rush to take Garcetti’s advice, but took a look at the website for the Mayor’s Office of Resilience (not a joke) to see for myself what the reference was about. Not surprisingly I found an incomprehensible jumble of P.C. buzzwords and nonsense. I challenge anyone to make sense of it or to say in plain language what its purpose is. Seems like another slush fund to me:
    “Mayor’s Office of Resilience”
    https://www.lamayor.org/Resilience

  3. As a long time midtown Sacramento resident I am both disturbed and sometimes fearful of living in my neighborhood. I debate walking through midtown/downtown because every walk becomes a potential incident with homeless population that yells, throws things, or acts erratic, and when I do walk I limit my times and my routes to high-trafficked areas and daylight hours.
    On a recent walk through a highly populated area, I spotted three used needles (they are easy to spot with a bright orange component). People can regularly be seen slumped over on the sidewalk, sometimes with needles still in their arms. Feces can be found in building corners all over the neighborhood and multiple boarded up windows sit where businesses have been broken along main streets such as J and K. Garbage is spread throughout the city with trash cans are emptied out and left blowing in the wind. I travel out side of the area for gas and groceries so as not to be harassed in the parking lots. None of this is an exaggeration. In the City’s attempt to make the downtown core a walkable, vibrant neighborhood, where nightlife thrives, it comes at a time that when I now walk less and fear more, as it becomes dirtier and more dangerous.
    I understand the complexities and scale of the problem are much larger than our city, and it’s a problem that has not successfully been solved anywhere, but I agree with the author that services far beyond temporary housing are needed. The city has always had a homeless population- and those folks are still around, are drug free and keep to themselves. What we have now is an aggressive, drug addicted, angry and much larger population of homeless that is unpredictable and is causing a much larger public health issue. Something much more needs to be done. I urge the mayor and city council to get out and walk the streets for any hour and witness firsthand what we all must deal with every day.

  4. Oh yeah I forgot Darrell Steinberg is the state homeless czar — appointed by Gov Gruesome!
    Sounds like a bad joke but it’s real…

  5. Mayor Steinberg, as legislator, was a key driver in the killing of redevelopment which provided over a billion per year for affordable housing and leveraged many billions more in private a federal funds. He also was a driver of realignment which pushed many of the transients out of county jails onto city streets to make room for state prisoners. The man has been one of the key architects of the demise of California.

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