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City Of Sacramento Stands By No-Camping Ordinance

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio News

Protesters and homeless people make signs outside Sacramento City Hall in their attempt to get the city to repeal a no-camping ordinance.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio News

The City of Sacramento says its no-camping ordinance is legal and part of its strategy to solve homelessness.

Steve Hansen is on the City Council's homeless task force.

"We want to solve this problem, but we can't allow people to camp in alleys, camp on the sides of houses, urinate and defecate wherever they want to," says Hansen. "We have to have a solution that protects our communities while solving the problem. These ordinances are very much a part of maintaining the public safety."

Protestors have been camped outside City Hall illegally for days.

Sacramento Deputy Police Chief Ken Bernard says the protest was legal when it began Dec. 9.

"Shortly after the holidays, folks  began camping," says Bernard. "Now, keep in mind, that, prior to them beginning camping, ourselves as well as Sacramento Steps Forward folks had  contacted them multiple times explained the ordinances and also provided assistance, we've offered to give them rides to shelters, etc., etc.,"

Since Jan. 2, police made nine arrests and issued three citations to five protestors.

Ryan Loofbourrow leads the city and county homeless services agency, Sacramento Steps Forward. He says the region is making progress helping the homeless. He says 3,200 people got off the streets last year.

"We now have the tool we've needed for so long to triage individuals, identify those of highest need, and make sure they get the housing they so richly deserve," Loofbourrow says. "Today we now start to work on the housing product, to make sure we have stock with housing to place those in need."

Sacramento Steps Forward and police contacted 61 homeless people at City Hall since the protest and camping began.

37 people accepted help. 12 said they would consider it. 12 refused any services.

Two YouTube posts threatened the city this week if the ordinance were not repealed. City staff say the ordinance is legal and they will not acquiesce to threats.

Bob Moffitt

Sacramento Region Reporter

Bob reports on all things northern California and Nevada. His coverage of police technology, local athletes, and the environment has won a regional Associated Press and several Edward R. Murrow awards.   Read Full Bio 

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