The homeless has been a thorn in the side of Sacramento’s leaders. Two years ago Lisa Ling expose the plight of the Sacramento’s homeless on Oprah. This embarrassed the Mayor and other leaders.
After a local land owner, said the homeless could camp on his land north of American River the city reacted by enforcing then a little used ordinance against camping for longer than 24 hours in undesignated areas.
OUTTA SIGHT OUTTA MIND
Overnight, the police raided campgrounds seizing and destroying property and disposing of it. The homeless claimed the city did not give reasonable notice of the raids and did not allow them avenues of retrieving their property.
These raids continue today.
The city’s star witness, a police officer fondly known as “Batman” among homeless men and women, testified that he and his partners are obligated to enforce a city ordinance that bans camping in undesignated areas for more than 24 hours. They must regularly roust campers, he said, in response to complaints about trash, noise and other problems, and then clean up the messes left behind.
The officer, Mark Zoulas, said he did the best he could to notify campers about sweeps and to help them preserve their property during cleanups.
Zoulas said he went above and beyond his duties in talking to homeless people about their problems, transporting them to appointments and checking on their welfare.
The Future for the Homeless
The Federal Jury agreed with the homeless saying their constitution rights was violated. The lawsuit did not ask for specific damages, and it remains unclear exactly what remedy the plaintiffs will seek. Instead, attorneys from both sides, with the court’s help, will try to sort out how the plaintiffs should be compensated for constitutional violations cited by the jury.
The plight of the homeless is a challenge for cities. There has been a lot of meeting and task force’s in response to Sacramento’s homeless.
The shelters are full, the lines for food and other services have increased since 2009.
Will the city change its policies with regards to the raids and camping?
The jury is still out.