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Sacramento anti-camping ordinances take effect, residents unhappy with city actions

Concerned Sacramento parents and protestors say the city isn't doing enough to help unhoused people stay off the streets.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Multiple anti-camping ordinances that restrict where those experiencing homelessness can set up camp in the city and county of Sacramento took effect Friday.

The American River Parkway and outside government buildings are places now considered to be off limits. The city also bans tents that block sidewalk access and entry to businesses. 

City officials tell ABC10 enforcing the new rules will take time and they will begin with a month long community outreach campaign to educate the homeless about what the new law means.

“The Department of Community Response outreach teams will work with people experiencing homelessness, who are on the sidewalk, making sure they understand what the law requires and urging them to comply voluntarily,” said spokesperson Gregg Fishman. 

But some parents say they have waited long enough for the city to take action about growing encampments in their neighborhood.

“Safety is always number one and I’m shocked that our city leaders have turned a blind eye to it,” said Amy Gardner, mother of four.

Gardner volunteers her time picking up discarded trash, glass and even drug paraphernalia near city sidewalks. The same sidewalks that children use to walk to and from school.

“What’s been happening is kids have to sometimes, with their parents, step on to the street to get to school and we don’t think that’s really fair,” said Kristina, a concerned parent.

Critics of the newly passed anti-camping ordinances say before the city moves unhoused people from one place to another, it must provide enough affordable housing and social services for them.

“The only real solution is to build the housing, uplift and give the services,” said Mackenzie Wilson, with the Sacramento Tenants Union. “Right now the services that the city and the county offer are not up to the scale that's needed for the amount of people who are living outside on a daily basis.”

The city tells ABC10 that issuing citations is a last resort option. They don’t want to criminalize homelessness and they are hoping that through this education effort they won’t have to.

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