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Central Valley | Health, Housing, and Public Services

4/21 Safe Ground Rally; Homeless Human Rights Violated in Sac
by Sac Loaves & Fishes, Other Homeless Allies
Thursday Apr 9th, 2009 4:32 PM
Recent decision by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and City Council is in favor of evicting the riverside "tent city" homeless encampment near downtown within a month, yet not offering people camped there any safe or reasonable alternative to the need based tent/tarp shelters along the river. Human rights are being violated by the city government's decision when homeless people are prevented from accessing safe places to sleep and rest, leading to exhaustion and illnesses from constant relocation and harrassment by police authorities. Protest demands include a legalized campground similar to Dignity Village in Portland, OR where houseless people can remain undisturbed in their personal shelters as a legitimate community..
Sacramento Loaves an Fishes, a homeless advocacy group is organizing a protest against the forced relocation of Sacramento's tent city residents;

"Homeless people deserve a safe place to stay.

We believe everyone deserves SAFE GROUND!

There are over 1200 people sleeping outside every night in Sacramento and the numbers are growing! Shelters are full, so for many the options are few: sleep in a car, if you have one, or break the law and sleep illegally on the streets.

This is unfair and unjust!

Everyone should have a safe place where they can go at night and sleep without fear. That’s why we need a safe ground. Sacramento needs a safe “legalized” campground where homeless folks can have clean water, bathrooms, and trash services until our City, County and State are willing and able to provide adequate shelters and affordable housing for the growing numbers of homeless folks.

We need you to join us on April 21, Tuesday at 2pm on the Capital Steps for the:

Safe Ground Rally
April 21, 2009, Tuesday, 2 pm
Sacramento State Capital
South Steps

more info visit;
http://www.sacloaves.org/SafeGround/

Other options to needless relocation runaround programs (as if the Sac City officials think that somehow the residents of tent city will vanish into thin air once they are evicted from their current site) include legalized homeless campgrounds as exists in Portland, OR. Dignity Village began in a similar way as Sac's tent city, and was able to remain and now provides safe shelter to many of the region's houseless residents..

Dignity Village serves as a model community for what houseless people can accomplish if they are not constantly relocated and hassled by police;

"We have had visitors from all over the world since we been here at the Sunderland yard from 2001 to 2008. We have been a model community for others who see the helping need that our village offers to the homeless people in the community. This has only happened because of all the wonderful support so many have given to us over the past 8 years. Many more community's across the country, have looked to us for answers to help the homeless population that is growing bigger each year. When People come out to visit us , they are amazed at what we have set up and how we help the 50 to 60 homeless people that live here at any given time, a stepping stone effect that gives each person living here a chance to help themselves regain a new start to gain main stream living again.

All of this comes from donations from viewers and visitors that help to support our goals. Once again Happy Holidays from all of us at Dignity Village. Please feel free to come out and visit us."

visit village @;
http://www.dignityvillage.org/content/

Whether or not Sac's legal homeless campsite is at a different location than the current tent city is open for discussion, though evicting residents from tent city without providing an alterntative site for a legal campground is a violation of human rights, resulting from lack of affordable housing in the region. When houseless people are forced to provide their own shelter with tents and tarps, this is difficult enough. The least the city officials can do is allow the housless people to remain there at current tent city location undisturbed until another appropriate site for a legal campground is found..

Other valley cities like Fresno would be wiser if they refrained from relocating their tent/tarp residents by eviction and instead took seriously that the lack of afordable housing will not be addressed anytime soon, and tent/tarp shelters are by far an improvement to exposre to elements and resulting hypothermia.

Just hom many more homeless people will need to shiver themselves into a state of hypothermia and die before the police authorities back off their forced relocation attempts??