SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg is preparing to make several big announcements addressing the city's homelessness issue.
Some members of the homeless community have concerned over needing multiple trips to the emergency room and wonder what a better solution to care for them is.
An on camera assault of a firefighter by a man experiencing homelessness was recorded Thursday and drove the larger conversation around mental health.
The assault happened Jan. 17 at a gas station on Elverta Road. Sacramento Metro Fire is calling this incident a “random act of violence."
The fire captain returned to work after a trip to the emergency room, and the man experiencing homelessness was arrested by the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office.
Advocates, like Bob Erlenbusch with the Sacramento Regional Coalition, are saddened by this incident.
“What I hope that it does not do when people see it on the news is go 'ha, I told you so they are all crazy, we should put them in jail' all the stereotypes and stigma that go around not just homeless people but stigma around mental health issues,” said Erlenbusch.
Meanwhile, the deadline for the 60-day promises the city and county jointly made in their agreement are due next week.
Erlenbusch says it's all the more reason for the city and county to step up with their joint agreement and offer more mental health resources.
“We’d like to see treatment on demand rather than long waiting lists at the county,” said Erlenbusch.
Steinberg agrees with the bigger issue — more resources are needed for the homeless community.
“It certainly speaks to the need to have a comprehensive approach to this problem. In other words the partnership agreement is going to allow us to engage to people that want help and those who don’t help but absolutely need the help,” said Steinberg.
Where they start engaging people is part of a big upcoming announcement from the mayor’s office.
“That actually shows people a visible and tangible result and that means focusing on one major area of the city at a time,” said Steinberg.
The joint agreement calls for 10 teams in six months.
The mayor would not give specifics on where they would start, but ABC10 did receive a short list of locations that are under consideration: X Street, from 5th street to Alhambra and the highway corridor.
“Showing people that we can make it cleaner and safer while helping people as opposed to just moving them to another area of the city that requires more beds,” said Steinberg.
But while teams offering mental health resources and shelter are currently working along the freeway corridor on X street, Caltrans is conducting cleanups. They are also asking for $20 million over two years for more cleanups.
“It’s doing nothing to provided services to homeless people,” said Erlenbusch. “It’s like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. It does nothing to address the crisis of homelessness in our state.”
Steinberg says Caltrans is at the table with the joint agreement. The alternative would move encampments from one part to another every time Caltrans wanted to do work.
“I support the resources for Caltrans to be able to be a full partner in cleaning up the encampments, but doing so in a way that actually adds to our capacity, our beds, to be able to provide a place for people to go,” said Steinberg.
A reminder that the agreement prefers using voluntary tools, but they also have involuntary tools.
“But in the end, after all that outreach, if somebody has been offered an alternative, they will take it, they can't stay under the freeway,” said Erlenbusch.
with the city and county homeless agreement just shy of being in place for 60 days.
There is a clear picture the mayor is striving for.
“Until the public sees a visible and tangible difference in at least one major corridor at a time, over the next number of months, and know that we created that clean and safe environment in a humane way, by helping the people. that's, that's, that's the test for me,” said Steinberg.