Sacramento anti-camping ordinances take impact

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Concerned parents and protesters in Sacramento say the city isn’t doing enough to help homeless people stay off the streets.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Several anti-camping ordinances restricting where homeless people can camp in the city and county of Sacramento went into effect Friday.

The American River Parkway and outside of government buildings are now considered prohibited locations. The city also bans tents that block access to sidewalks and stores.

City officials tell ABC10 that enforcement of the new rules will take time, and they will begin a month-long community outreach campaign to educate the homeless about what the new law means.

“The Department of Community Response outreach teams will work with homeless people standing on the sidewalk to ensure they understand what the law requires and encourage them to comply voluntarily,” spokesman Gregg Fishman said.

However, some parents say they’ve waited long enough for the city to take action against camps being built in their neighborhoods.

“Safety always comes first and I’m shocked that our city guides turn a blind eye to it,” said Amy Gardner, mother of four.

Gardner volunteers her time picking up discarded trash, glass, and even drug paraphernalia near city sidewalks. The same sidewalks children use to go to and from school.

“What’s happened is that kids sometimes have to walk the streets with their parents to get to school and we don’t think that’s really fair,” said Kristina, a concerned parent.

Critics of the newly passed anti-camping ordinances say that before relocating homeless people from one place to another, the city must provide them with enough affordable housing and social services.

“The only real solution is to build the homes, upgrade them, and deliver the services,” said Mackenzie Wilson of the Sacramento Tenants Union. “Right now, the services that the city and county are providing are not on the scale needed for the amount of people living outside on a daily basis.”

The city tells ABC10 that issuing subpoenas is a last resort. They don’t want to criminalize homelessness and hope that through this educational work they don’t have to do it.

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