Greetings advocates on homeless issues: Attached is a Demand Letter to the City of Sacramento and Sacramento County Board of Supervisors — please let me know if your organization will sign on ASAP— this letter needs to go to the city and county. Sign on deadline is 6PM Monday, Dec 7 . Please reply to Faye at: SacPPC2019@gmail.com. Thank you for your consideration and your continued support!!
We, the undersigned community members, demand you, the City of Sacramento City Council, and the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, to provide immediate, appropriate shelter and supportive resources to the newly evicted unhoused community members from the Stockton Boulevard Encampment. We also demand that you provide immediate and appropriate shelter for all families with children currently living outside, unsheltered, or in vehicles at the site and across the county.
1. Since July 2020, the unhoused and their advocates have asked (via e-mails, Zoom calls and letters) you, our local elected officials, to demonstrate your leadership (and use your authority) to provide housing and related supportive resources to unhoused at the Stockton Boulevard Encampment.
2. A letter dated December 3, 2020, from the Auburn Manor Building Corporation, signed by a “Martin Aaron Harmon, Board of Directors,” was sent to the City of Sacramento demanding the removal of homeless persons presently camped at 5261 and 5101 Stockton Boulevard. The author of the letter states that his organization had approached the City in July and “provided advocates and public agencies enough time to start the process of finding those who are unhoused a place to relocate[.]”and that “[Auburn Manor Holding Corporation] feel[s] six months was plenty of time to do what was needed to properly rehouse individuals.”
3. Without endorsing the contents of this letter, we nevertheless agree that since July the City has failed to rehouse those still camped at the properties in question. We strongly oppose the letter’s “request” to “immediately remove individuals who are currently trespassing.” In fact, we reject the idea that this letter makes the threatened eviction necessary. It gives no particular date or reason for the sudden decision to force encampment residents to be “removed.”
4. On Thursday, November 25, and Wednesday, December 2, we requested the City of Sacramento to use its power to immediately cease, and desist from, the removal of 75+ unhoused people sheltering in place at the property 5085 Stockton Boulevard.
5. It is our understanding that the City intends to comply with the request of the property owner in complete disregard of CDC guidelines and public health orders prohibiting the clearing of encampments until individual rooms are provided in real time.
As COVID-19 surges across the City and County, with record numbers of hospitalizations and deaths, and in light of the just announced regional lockdown protocol, to clear the encampments in question is a violation of the law and human decency. Eviction will separate the homeless from the life-saving services they are currently receiving at these locations and, once dispersed, will add significantly to the community spread of the virus.
6. Accordingly, we insist that the City take no police action with regard to these encampments. It would be the height of irresponsibility and tantamount to a state-created danger should this happen. This is to notify you that the City will be held fully liable for any and all harms that befall any person removed from this location who is not provided alternative, indoor accommodations in real time.
7. There is important background information that you should take into account at this point. The Stockton Boulevard Encampment is home to over 75 unhoused people. including veterans, seniors, men, women, disabled, and children. The residents are mostly Black and Brown.
8. Black people are disproportionately suffering from the coronavirus. Early statewide health data shows that while Black people are infected with the virus at proportional levels to our population, our mortality rate is about double per capita. Our concern is that unless there is focused education, testing and treatment, many lives will be lost due to the eviction that could have been saved – the Stockton Boulevard zip code area has registered over a thousand cases.
9. The persistent overrepresentation of Black people and people of color (POC) among the populations experiencing homelessness is a troubling reality across the United States, and Sacramento is no exception. Specifically, Black people are more likely than white people to experience homelessness in the United States, including in Sacramento County.
10. Not only are Black Sacramentans and people of color experiencing homelessness at higher rates than other racial groups – they are dying more!! This fact is documented by reports by the Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness [SRCEH] and the 2019 Sacramento County Point-in-Time Homeless Count. Also, California Department of Public Health data shows Latinos and black people are dying at higher rates than any other race.
11. Across the City and County, the unhoused have not been offered adequate shelter. We are in a pandemic with 17000 + positive cases within our city limits. This property borders Sacramento County property, a county that has just posted five thousand COVID-19 positive cases. On November 24, 1000 more positive cases were added. Services have only been provided by grassroots efforts in order to keep the unhoused alive. Little or no aid has been provided by our city and county officials. In fact, we have had to dissuade, pressure, and sue the police to stop them from sweeps, and to enforce court order compliance.
12. On November 25, about 1:00 PM the Sacramento Police Department Impact Team members placed the attached citations at the Stockton Boulevard site. To remove residents on Thanksgiving Day, forcing them to leave, increases
community spread of the coronavirus just as COVID-19 is surging. These officials knew full well that, due to the holiday, residents at the site would have difficulty reaching advocates to assist and represent them.
13. We have also requested warming centers be open and accessible this winter (not 3 or 7 miles away); we earlier requested that cooling and clean air centers be open and accessible to the Stockton Boulevard Encampment residents and all unhoused community members. These requests have similarly been ignored, although to City did recently open some warming facilities.
14. We believe the City and County are making illegal end-runs around the Sacramento County Health Officer’s Orders and the Writ of Mandate that was issued in July by Superior Court Judge Laurie Earl.
15. To summarize our main points: You, the city and county, have done a lot of talking with little to no positive action. There are COVID-19 positives and deaths in the unhoused encampments. By removing the unhoused you are forcing them into potential exposure and danger. You are violating the prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment of these unhoused people. Also, you are forcing people to stay in front of businesses and scatter throughout the neighborhood, placing the entire community at risk. The city and county under the Public Health and Welfare statutes and orders have the responsibility to do everything in your power to curb this contagion. You are continuing to fail us.
The Sacramento Poor People’s Campaign and the Sacramento Homeless Union are on the ground at Stockton Boulevard Encampment working together collaboratively to engage and organize the unhoused and to bring resources and services to the Stockton Boulevard Encampment.
Organizations and groups such as South Sacramento HART, the Oak Park Homeless project, Well Space’s Street Nurses program, Feed Sacramento Homeless, Sacramento Services Not Sweeps, the Sacramento Area Black Caucus, UC Davis doctors and medical students, Sacramento SOUP, Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee, Southeast Village Neighborhood Association, SEIU 1000, Community Lead Advocacy Program, and local Sacramento community members have all stepped up and provided much needed resources to the unhoused at the Stockton Boulevard Encampment.
City of Sacramento and Sacramento County Board of Supervisors your rhetoric and inaction must end now!!
Partial list of supporters/endorsers:
Sacramento Homeless Union
Sacramento Poor People’s Campaign
Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness [SRCEH]
Sacramento Area Black Caucus (SABC)
Southeast Village Neighborhood Association
Oak Park Homeless Project