SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Homeless people living at the encampment dubbed "Camp Resolution" will become self-governing after Sacramento city officials struck a deal with a nonprofit organization Friday.
Officials said the Safe Ground Sacramento, Inc. nonprofit is getting a 120-day lease for the property at 2225 Colfax St. — at no cost.
The nonprofit overseen by attorney Mark Merin was established in 2009 to advocate against the city's camping ordinances and call for unhoused residents to be given secure housing.
“We are anxious to assist Camp Resolution residents to demonstrate that homeless people can self-govern and assist each other to obtain permanent housing,” said Merin.
According to the deal:
- Sacramento city officials agreed to provide the site with 33 trailers and privacy fencing.
- Outreach workers will work with unhoused residents at the encampment to connect them with services and more permanent housing.
- Safe Ground Sacramento will relieve the city of liability over the site.
- The site will be self-governed by a resident council and an operations plan approved by the city officials will be adopted within 30 days of the commencement of the lease.
Sleeping cabins are not eligible for the site because of soil contamination identified by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.
City officials addressed the situation but initially decided not to pursue the Colfax Street property because of operating costs.
It wasn't until unhoused residents began claiming the site as their own in fall 2022 that city officials re-engaged with the property to try and stop the growing encampment.
"Representatives from Safe Ground Sacramento, Inc. subsequently contacted the City and proposed the operation of a self-governing site there that would be compliant with the Water Board’s and City’s conditions and would require limited resources from the City," said city officials.
"We're gonna fight, fight, fight, so we did," said a Camp Resolution resident. "We were mostly women so we wanted a safe place where we could be at. We don't want to be out on the streets where we were all dying, because there's a lot of women out there that are dying, being raped, being killed for nothing."
According to the lease agreement, Safe Ground Sacramento Inc. demonstrated an "understanding of the needs of those experiencing unsheltered homelessness in the city and a dedication to the pursuit of safe communities in which unsheltered households can find safety and stability, while also addressing barriers to housing.”
Camp Resolution residents and homeless advocates celebrated the victory for the unhoused community Saturday morning.
"We want to see this replicated across Sacramento. Stop the sweeps," said Anthony Prince, legal counsel for the California Homeless Union.
The councilmember said he and the city attorney sat down with camp resolution residents and Safe Ground Sacramento to come up with the agreement.
"These are some great individuals. We spent time together. We sat down, we talked, and I realized they are very organized," said Sacramento City Councilmember Sean Loloee. "I'm very excited. I really think that we can turn this environment around and achieve multiple things. One, to create an environment that is safe and clean for the individuals that are going to be using it."
The city said the site will transition into a 'safe parking shelter.'
The 33 trailers supplied by the city will house about 50 people, according to Loloee. He says he is hoping to have the city start bringing in the trailers within the next two weeks.
According to the city, the lease is renewable in increments of 120 days.
Residents will create a council to come up with an operations plan and good neighbor policy laying out rules for the encampment.
"We want to see how the good neighbor policy is working. If everything is working good and the surrounding neighbors are fine, the very individuals that are on this side, they're okay, then we'll go ahead and renew their lease, but if we see that there is an issue or something's not right, then my office will talk to these individuals and see what the problems are," said Loloee.
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Sharon Jones, Camp resolution resident:
"I think this is awesome. I don't know, did you think it would get this big?"
Anthony Prince, legal counsel, california homeless union:
"we want to see this replicated across Sacramento stop the sweeps.