Homeless people who choose to camp overnight at Sacramento City Hall will soon be allowed to do so legally, according to new rules approved by City Council on Tuesday.
Council members voted unanimously to allow people to remain on City Hall grounds between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., including if they want to sit or lay down.
Assistant City Manager Chris Conlin told Council on Tuesday that during the past two months the city had “temporarily” allowed people to seek shelter outside City Hall. But he added that this has caused challenges for people who work or visit the building.
“This has been to the detriment of those working at City Hall, and the public seeking City Hall resources,” he said.
Now, the amended ordinance will prohibit the many of the homeless people currently outside the building from camping or sitting on the grounds during normal business hours, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. The updated ordinance will go into effect in 30 days.
At Tuesday’s meeting, homeless advocate James “Faygo” Clark said the only reason people sleep outside of City Hall is because it’s one of the few places that is safe for unsheltered residents.
“While I love the fact that you are going to make an amendment that does allow for them to stay overnight, where are they going to be during the day?” Clark asked.
Members of the public had previously criticized the police department for removing campers from underneath City Hall’s awning during a rainstorm earlier this year. The mayor apologized during a Council meeting for that decision.
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