Sacramento, CA

While elected officials were away, the boys went out to play

Robert J Hansen

Law enforcement has been harassing Unhoused residents of Sacramento while its leaders have been on summer break
Sacramento County Rangers there to remove unhoused residents at Ground Zero in Rio Linda on Friday, July 9, 2021.Robert J Hansen

Sacramento, Calif.-- By Robert J Hansen

Sacramento City Hall is on summer break until July 19 and the Sacramento County Supervisors return from on July 13, having been on break the last two weeks.

Sacramento law enforcement has not been on break to the dismay of Sacramento's Unhoused residents.

Cease and Desist order given to Sacramento elected officials

The City of Sacramento and Sacramento County have been given an immediate Cease and Desist order of all encampment sweeps and Immediately come in compliance with local, state , federal and International laws by the president of Sacramento Homeless Union on July 8.

Western Regional Director for the National Union of the Homeless, Crystal Sanchez, sent the order to every Councilmember, Supervisor and Mayor Darrell Steinberg via email.

“I am writing today on what appears to be a “green light” on removal of encampments in the County of Sacramento. We are getting multiple reports that encampments are being removed by the Sheriffs, Park maintenance and Park Rangers and that people's legal and human rights are being violated,” Sanchez said in the email.

According to the cease and desist order, Sacramento County currently lacks 63,000 units of affordable housing as required per the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and 60,000 people can no longer afford to live here since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
A woman outside the Safe Ground in Sacramento in 2019.Courtesy of Crystal Sanchez, President of Sacramento Homeless Union

“By continuing and even escalating the destruction of homeless encampments, Sacramento County is directly disregarding the most authoritative public health agency in the United States,” according to the order.

In 2020 the Sacramento homeless Union sent a cease and desist to the County of Sacramento, the City of Sacramento as well as the public health officer forewarning litigation if rights continued to be violated, including by way of sweeps and clearing of encampments in disregard of CDC guidelines according to the email.

“The City of Sacramento and Sacramento County must work together with local organizations to bring individually packaged water and infrastructure to the residents of the existing unsanctioned camps,” Sanchez said. “Currently, multiple volunteer groups are bringing water to encampments with no assistance from the city or county.”

We, the Sacramento Homeless Union which includes thousands of unhoused union members as well as our union-created community coalition which incorporates 425 mutual aid community members, will not stand by and watch as you continually traumatize and torture the 11,000 people living on our streets.
Allison Jones preparing to give food to Unhoused residents of Sacramento on Friday, July 9, 2021.Robert J Hansen

Women feeding Unhoused people given citation while feeding the homeless

Two women were given citations for driving in a prohibited area while giving food to Unhoused residents camped on the bike trail along the American River downtown Sacramento on June 29.

For nearly two years Allison Jones and Sheila Roberson have given food to homeless people camped along the bike trail behind Capitol Casino which is on 16th Street.

“He [police] came up and said IDs please,” Jones said. “I was parked and outside and was outside of the truck.”

The citations were issued by Sacramento County Regional Parks.

She asked the Ranger why she needed to show her ID and why she was getting a ticket.

She was told it was because someone died on the bike trail.

A woman was found dead near the bike trail in March of this year according to the Sacramento Bee.

“What does that have to do with me?” Jones said.

Allison said she isn’t going to let the citation bother her but her friend is upset over the incident.

Roberson said she plans on contesting the citation.

“We were down here feeding with a table up and everything,” Roberson said.

Roberson said that the officers told them to pack everything up and threatened to tow their cars if they didn’t.

According to Roberson, police officers told her that they crossed the bike trail and weren’t supposed to be there.

“We have been there plenty of times,” Roberson said. “They were mean and intimidating us for giving food to homeless people.”

“There's so many encampments back there,” Jones said. “I feel sorry for those people.”

Sac County Park Rangers displace residents of Ground Zero in Rio Linda
Kao Her pointing to the shelter he has built at Ground Zero in Rio Linda on Friday, July 9, 2021. Him and his wife have been there 5 years.Robert J Hansen

Residents at a homeless encampment in Rio Linda, Ground Zero, were given notice to vacate on June 22 but were given more time to relocate by Sacramento County Park Rangers.

County Rangers and cleanup crews were at Ground Zero this morning removing

Ground Zero spokesperson, Carol Dutcher is 56 years and disabled.

In a statement, Dutcher said she wants to correct misinformation given to the press regarding the notice to vacate our encampment.

“Notice was left on June 22 ordering all camps be removed by June 30. The public was told we were given 30 days notice, we were given 8 days,” Dutcher said in the statement.

According to Dutcher, some can easily relocate their tents. She lives in a rough-built hut.

Unhoused women are the victims of rape and other violent crimes at a disproportionately high rate according to Dutcher.

“My shelter has a door with a padlock. I'm safe here,” Dutcher said. “This order to vacate is the only life-threatening danger I have faced here.”

Another resident of the encampment, Orvela Myers, said that social service workers visited the encampment a few days ago offering bus passes and vouchers to get replacement IDs.

“They didn’t offer us anything except a way to get us to leave,” Myers said. “They said they didn’t have any motel vouchers or offer any medical services.”

The encampment needs to be cleared of trash and high brush according to the County.

Some of the residents have left but those who cannot still remain.

Kao Her says he is a shaman who has lived at the encampment with his wife for five years.

“I have a purpose to be here,” Her said. “I am a shaman and I have to be here, for the Earth.”

He said before he moved to the encampment there was broken glass and batteries leaking toxic waste.

“I cannot go until I’m finished,” Her said. “I need to make sure that people and the Earth are not sick.”

Some people have left the encampment and set up shelter across the street in an area much closer to the road.

The tents set up across the street were not there when County Rangers came on June 29.

DHA gives wheelchair bound homeless man useless motel voucher

A homeless man and a would-be caregiver were given motel vouchers to a motel with no vacancy yesterday according to the founder of Community Lead Advocacy Project (CLAP), Zuri Colbert

Robert “Bob” DeShieles was released by Kaiser Permanente on July 3 after being transported there by ambulance on July 2.

Colbert had been trying to get DeShieles into a motel before he fell unresponsive and was taken to Kaiser.

“I have spoken to three different people with DHA and it feels like they are giving me the run around,” Colbert said.

Colbert had been in communication through email and phone with employees of the Department of Human Assistance (DHA) throughout the past few days.

“We [CLAP] are being told that there are vouchers and support for him and then it's passed on to a different person at the County and DHA,” Colbert said. “This has happened multiple times just today and I am just wondering what the clear next steps are.”

Colbert acquired a motel voucher on Wednesday but the man and his caregiver did not have valid ID which guests are required to have.

Colbert said she spent hours on Thursday evening getting DeShieles ready to be transported to the motel again but then was told by the manager that the motel was full.

Instead, Deshieles was taken to another hospital where he was treated according to Colbert.

DeShiele left the hospital to go to the social security office.

Samantha Sween, a DHA employee, told Colbert via email they were trying to locate the man to connect him with resources.

“I have left him a couple of voicemails but his phone is going straight to voicemail,” Sween said.

DHA division manager Julie Field followed up with Colbert telling her shelter options for the man were being looked into.

Field said if there is a close companion with an ID that a voucher for a respite motel stay would be given to DeShieles.

According to Colbert, the County will reissue the motel voucher but the challenging part is transporting Bob to the motel.

“It took five staff to get him out of the car at the ER,” Colbert said.

DeShieles is still unsheltered. The temperature is well over 100 degrees today.

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Robert J Hansen is an investigative journalist and economist. Focused on holding elected officials, police and the courts accountable to the people throughout the greater Sacramento area.

Sacramento County, CA

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