Homelessness Has Become an Emergency for This Capital City
(NewsReady.com) – Homelessness has become an issue across the country, and urban areas tend to be more affected than less populated ones. Sacramento, the capital of California, has seen a dramatic surge in the number of people without housing, leading the issue to become an emergency in the city.
“During the pandemic, the unhoused population has soared all over California, but the increase in Sacramento has been particularly stunning.
The region has seen an almost 70% rise in homelessness since 2019.” https://t.co/Q3B0CzoeJy
— Jen Loving (@jenloving23) November 3, 2022
Data from Sacramento Steps Forward indicates that the number of homeless people has surged by nearly 70% since 2019. A total of 9,278 people are currently without homes in the city. Some 72% are living in cars, tents, or other unsheltered areas. While Sacramento has fewer homeless people per capita than San Francisco, the city still has a higher number of unhoused people.
Some people blame the pandemic for the surge, but it isn’t the only factor driving people to homelessness. According to Sacramento Steps Forward, a majority of these individuals were already unhoused prior to the pandemic. The organization noted how prices increased by 20% between March 2020 and November 2021, making it more difficult for these people to buy or rent a place to live.
The city of Sacramento understands the current crisis, but has yet to take meaningful action. Rather than help the unhoused, authorities are criminalizing them in spite of California spending nearly $14 billion to address the issue.
California did build 14,000 shelter beds between 2019 and 2021. But the number of people using emergency and extended stay shelters grew by around the same amount.
In an effort to force the city into reaching out to the homeless community and creating a minimum amount of shelter spaces, lawyers came up with Measure O, also referred to as the Emergency Shelter and Enforcement Act. It would ban encampments on both private and public property and dictate that any unhoused person who refused shelter would face a misdemeanor charge.
While community members might not like the homeless encampments, and clearly want the city to do something about them, that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have empathy for the downtrodden. They just want them not to be out on the streets.
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