‘This has become a moral obligation, so if that means breaking legal law, we must do what we need to.’
In what appears to be a staged stunt in Sacramento, a group of transients broke into a Land Park neighborhood home over the weekend, which was in the process of being renovated, and stayed there illegally until Sacramento Police Department officers arrived to remove them Sunday. While this was going on, an activist group, Sacramento Tenants Union, filmed them and then pushed it out on social media.
The Sacramento Tenants Union says, “Housing is a human right. Solidarity is key.”
The Sacramento transients and activists pulled a copycat stunt, similar to the recent Oakland squatters takeover of a vacant home however, the Sacramento home is coincidentally owned by the same investment group as the Oakland home.
Coming off a big Sacramento City Council election upset, Katie Valenzuela, who will take office in December, was asked about this on Twitter, admitted she was in full support of this “silent protest” comparing it to civil rights movements in the past. “This was a coordinated effort,” she said in a Tweet.
Valenzuela said the only circumstances where transients shouldn’t illegally take over someone’s home is if the homeowner is sick or on vacation.
“I think Oakland gave us a blueprint we could easily follow,” Valenzuela told the Sacramento Bee. Valenzuela is on the board of the Sacramento Community Land Trust. “Under the ‘land trust’ model, homeowners agree to sell homes to lower-income families at a pre-determined price, instead of listing them on the open market.”
The mission of Sacramento Community Land Trust: “SacCLT prevents displacement and builds historically discriminated neighborhood power to combat deterioration and market speculation by fostering equitable development for generations to come.”
“SacCLT is a vehicle fighting to sustain and strengthen historically discriminated neighborhoods using a transparent, accountable shared governance model to drive a sustainable, equitable, and empowered Sacramento metro area.”
“These people will probably be going right back there and this time it’s gonna be a community activity event and a political statement and not just an act of a few desperate people,” said civil rights attorney Mark Merin, the Bee reported. “I think what we’re gonna see here is an escalation of a move to take over abandoned dwellings, especially those that are corporate-owned as this one was.”
Activist Sacramento Attorney Mark Merin has repeatedly sued the City of Sacramento and Sacramento Police Department on behalf of homeless transients and Black Lives Matter. He was a big supporter of Valenzuela during her campaign for election to city council.
“Crystal Sanchez, an activist and president of the Sacramento Homeless Union, said she believes more homeless people will move into corporate or publicly-owned vacant houses in the city as the pandemic continues,” the Bee reported. “Yes, they will move into a safe unused space,” Sanchez said. “At a time when precaution, protection and safety is key, we must do what we have to to survive this pandemic. This has become a moral obligation, so if that means breaking legal law, we must do what we need to.”
Be sure to read the Sacramento Homeless Union list of demands in a letter sent to elected lawmakers throughout California.
Demand #1 is notable: “Single or family occupancy housing; immediately provide and a list of all city-owned, county-owned and tax-delinquent properties where vacant units exist into which the homeless may be
allowed to immediately occupy as a winter emergency; No mass shelter; No compelled
‘shelter.’ Full Constitutional rights for all those in the shelter system including speech, right to
organize, freedom of movement and association and the provision of adequate food, clothing
and humane treatment.”