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.