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Safe Ground is the Way Forward
Every day, many thousands of homeless men, women, children and families are surviving outdoors, struggling to make it on Sacramento County’s streets – no one knows the true number. But we do know that unhoused people camp under freeways, huddle in doorways, and gather on empty lots in every neighborhood.
Covid-19 means as crisis in homelessness: more evictions from secure housing, more jobs lost. Governmental agencies at every level – federal, state, local – have failed to step forward with sustained funding and supportive services.
At the same time, Sacramento police and Sheriff’s deputies are intensifying their aggressive action to sweep encampments, dispersing homeless into neighborhoods and confiscating their belongings. The constant threat of arrest and displacement, the lack of sleep and lack of basic sanitation, like water and toilets, brings on trauma and exposure to disease for an already vulnerable population.
“Safe Ground” are self governing communities where homeless people can live in peace, leave their belongings and receive supportive services – can and will stabilize this desperate and chaotic situation.
The Safe Ground nonprofit organization currently supports a demonstration site in downtown Sacramento, with electricity, water, showers, food storage, a porta potty and 15 capacious tents. We are working towards establishing more locations.
Being homeless and in need should not be a crime. And it can no longer be treated as an invisible, insoluble problem that we can turn away from. Together, we can tackle homelessness in a dignified, supportive, cost effective way.
This is why many of Sacramento’s largest and oldest homeless service organizations including Loaves & Fishes, Mercy Pedalers, Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee, Sacramento Homeless Union, and a growing number of supporters have banded together with businesses and individuals to join the campaign for Safe Ground.
Tough times demand creative solutions. With landowner permission, vacant lots throughout the city could be made available. Importantly, Sacramento has public land that no one is using – land that, through this unique approach, can offer homeless people an opportunity to build a safe, organized community where they can stay until permanent housing is possible. This is especially valuable for women and those with disabilities, but everyone needs a place to be!
We need your support — volunteers to help create and build; advocates to spread the word; sites on vacant land, and of course, donations in any amount. We welcome unsheltered individuals as leaders and participants in this historic and crucially necessary project.
This evening’s workshop has been rescheduled to 6pm
Resources for Assisting Migrant Workers
Those who come to this country to find work often have unmet needs, even though they are a vital part of our society. They contribute to the food supply, economy, and culture, but they don’t always know where to look when they need help. The following resources can help you point them towards individuals and organizations that can provide the assistance they need.
It’s not unusual for migrant workers to struggle with basic human needs. It’s important to cover their essentials first.
- Many migrant workers experience food insecurity. Let them know about free sources.
- A roof overhead is a must, and several options are available.
- When more traditional housing is problematic, portable options are another solution.
- Healthcare is often a concern. Charitable clinics can help.
- Parents who need child care can hire sitters via the web.
The legal system is a complex machine. Deportation, visa alterations, and so forth, can prove challenging, especially during a pandemic. Thankfully, there are people and organizations that can lend a helping hand with various scenarios.
- OSHA has legal safety standards all workplaces are supposed to meet.
- Some organizations are specifically oriented toward assisting the migrant population.
- Another option is to hire freelance legal professionals through online job boards.
- Migrant workers may need to learn how to pay taxes.
There’s an App for That
Mobile apps are available for nearly anything and everything these days. Look to smartphones for other forms of practical assistance.
- There are several handy translation apps.
- Work-related information is also available.
- There are several apps to help those who are undocumented.
Migrant workers are a vital part of the US economy, but they often fall through the cracks. Thankfully, there are resources available, and you can use this guide to help them.
[courtesy of Diane Harrison, email@example.com]
ACTION!!! – Join us for a Press Conference – Monday, September 21, 2020 at 11:30 am at 5085 Stockton Boulevard. (Residents of this encampment will be speaking), followed by a March down Stockton Boulevard to 5700 Stockton Boulevard (the site of a recent eviction of unhoused campers) for a rally.
Please wear a mask, bring a sign and join us Monday, September 21, 2020. Stand in Solidarity with our unhoused sisters and brothers. Stop the sweeps and evictions!!!
SACRAMENTO SERVICES NOT SWEEPS COALITION (SSNSC) also demands that Sacramento City and County take immediate action to:
1. Defund the County Sheriffs Hot Team and the Sacramento City Police Impact Team and repurpose these funds to develop teams of health, mental health, peer advocates and substance abuse service teams to become first responders to homeless encampments.
2. Safe Ground/Shelter/Services – The City and County has dragged its feet for years on siting and funding adequate transitions from camping to housing.
3. No hospital dumping of homeless patients to the streets or to encampments.
4. No More Sweeps, which violate a Court Order and Public Health Order – “CDC guidance for those experiencing homelessness outside of shelters is to be strictly followed. To maintain public health and safety, allow people who are living unsheltered, in cars, RV’s, and trailers, or in encampments to remain where they are, unless the people living in those locations are provided with a real-time access to individual rooms or housing units…”
5. Safe Parking areas for unhoused families living in vehicles (City Councilman Eric Guerra agreed to siting a vehicle shelter in his district, but has not followed through.)
6. City officials meet with SSNS members and the unhoused community members ASAP.
7. Cooling centers, clean air centers are badly needed through climate emergencies.
8. Audit of spending on homeless services, including law enforcement/mitigation funding.
9.County must continue to provide hand washing, restrooms, water and Supportive Services to the encampments.
Betty Rios, Kevin Carter, Crystal Sanchez, Faye Wilson Kennedy and other SSNSC leaders have been voluntarily providing essential services (i.e. water, food, equipment and support) to the Stockton Blvd unhoused encampments for months. They have witnessed these fellow Sacramentans suffering through blazing hot days, dangerous air – dense with smoke particles, risks of COVID 19 to elderly and health compromised campers and constant threat of eviction. These leaders call out:
“Enough is enough! Though the City/County homeless system has provided port-potties and hand-washing stations and recently virus testing in recognition of these encampments as shelter-in-place areas for unhoused people; accessible cooling and breathing centers have not been provided. Real time -accessible housing has not been offered.
Now the City and in particular Councilman Eric Guerra refuse to stop this eviction, which will force hundreds of people to wander through the Stockton Boulevard and adjoining neighborhoods, putting themselves and hundreds of residents at risk during the pandemic. The Stockton Boulevard Business Improvement District should be ashamed of pushing for this illegal eviction during climate emergencies and a pandemic and campers and their advocates will be pushing back.”
Thank you and join us!!
Our Writing workshops have been rescheduled to first and third Thursdays at 5PM. Email Jackie Botts for invite. firstname.lastname@example.org
The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Stephon Clark, and countless others lies in the hands of the white supremacist policies, systems, organizations, and individuals that actively work to suppress Black and Brown people. Throughout the history of the United States, Black Americans have continued to be disenfranchised by the systems of oppression built for and by oppressors. Mr. Floyd’s death is no different.
It is by design that homelessness in the Sacramento Region disproportionately impacts our Black and Brown communities. As millions of Americans continue to exercise their first amendment right to protest amidst the looming pandemic, we will continue to advocate for the liberty of our unhoused community and work to dismantle the systems that allow homelessness to occur. written by Janae Giles
WE MUST ACT NOW! Our unhoused brothers and sisters are in danger due to City/County delay & neglect! Please join the Justice Car Caravan or help us get through to City Council and Board of Supervisors by calling, emailing, or using social media on Justice Day.
Phone script suggestion:
I support the Sacramento Services Not Sweeps call for justice for our unhoused neighbors. Our unhoused neighbors need you to make shelter available today for them during this pandemic. While we continue to wait for the hotels/motels and other housing that has been advertised for over a month, we must ensure they have adequate access to restrooms and hand washing stations and clear messaging to the homeless encampments. I am doing my part to shelter in place, but many unhoused cannot do so. Housing is healthcare and must be provided immediately.
Twitter hashtag #ServNotSweeps
Email script: Sample Scripts2
Contact information for Sacramento City Council and Board of Supervisors: Contact information for Justice Day
Sacramento City Council and Mayor
Mayor Steinberg 916-808-5300 email@example.com
Vice Mayor Jeff Harris (916) 808-7003 firstname.lastname@example.org
Angelique Ashby (916) 808-7001 email@example.com
Allen Warren 916-808-7002 firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Hansen 916-808-7004 email@example.com
Jay Schenirer 916-808-7004 firstname.lastname@example.org
Eric Guerra 916-808-7006 email@example.com
Rick Jennings, II 916-808-7007 firstname.lastname@example.org
Larry Carr 916-808-7008 email@example.com
Sacramento Board of Supervisors
Phil Serna (916) 874-5485 SupervisorSerna@Saccounty.net
Patrick Kennedy (916) 874-5481 SupervisorKennedy@saccounty.net
Susan Peters (916) 874-5471 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sue Frost (916) 874-5491 SupervisorFrost@saccounty.net
Don Nottoli (916) 874-5465 email@example.com