Friday, January 23, 2009

bitch, bitch, bitch

I don't want to just dwell on the negative, but I was walking around K street by the mall and down Capitol Mall last night, and I just wonder if the city leaders ever think about how there were three open businesses on K street (Joe Sun, Men's Wearhouse, Records) that they forced out before they had a deal in place that are just blank storefronts now. And don't blame it on Moe Mohanna.  Everyone knows that stupid fucking Z Gallery idea is stupid.  Plus, it sucks that 55 closed down.  I couldn't afford to eat there, but it was really pretty, and now it's just a dark area.

What do you guys think of this? I am not into it because I'm pretty sure these camps are going to be in recreation areas, such as along the bike trail.  I am not anti-homeless.  I would like money to be allocated to house the homeless, and I'm an advocate of programs that give the chronically homeless free apartment, such as the one that this guy advocates for.  I know people camp because they don't like shelters, but we should work to improve the shelters I think.

This is funny, cuz when I would drive out with my dad to my granparent's house in north highlands, and we'd pass Dyer Lane, my dad would always try to spook me.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

A lot of shelters have clean and sober requirements or make people participate in religious activities. Also shelters are temporary. Most homeless people have some kind of mental health issue and substance abuse issue, or both, and aren't connected to the services they need in many shelters. You're right --permanent, supportive housing with services for the chronically homeless is the right way to go, in terms of reducing long term costs and stablizing people's health and lives. Unfortunately, government usually does not make policy decisions based on long term outcomes. Allowing legal camping isn't going to solve the root of problem, but at the same time, it doesn't make sense for law enforcement to waste resources taking down encampments, especially when budgets are so tight.

BREW

Anonymous said...

The tent villages are going to exist regardless - I'd prefer they have some basic services & regulations as opposed to the chaotic state they exist in now. Not saying it's the best solution but I can't see a lot of people getting behind the free housing idea unfortunately. Something has to be done soon - that tent village on the bike trail near Blue Diamond is off the chain!

-miller

madewell said...

I think miller is right that tent villages are going to exist regardless. I think it's important to note that it is the chronic homeless that they're talking about. The chronic homeless is usually only 20% of the homeless population, yet use up most of our dollars (police, hospitals, etc). So, if they are all contained and "policing" themselves, it could save the city money. Most shelters do require you to be clean and sober, which is why most homeless are in-and-out or get kicked out. There's an interesting shelter/transitional housing in Seattle that doesn't require residents to be sober, with the idea that ambulances and police can just make one stop. It's an economical solution, and not a people solution, but it's similar to legal tent cities.

I wonder how legal tent cities fit into a 10 year plan to end chronic homelessness?

On a sidenote, once during a homeless count in Massachusetts, my friends saw a homeless couple having sex in a tent city. I missed it, as I was counting on the other side of town.

Anonymous said...

at least a tent-ative plan.

-Ed C.

darin said...

On the K street block in question, you left out Morelia's Taqueria & Big Brother Comics. That's five successful businesses, four locally owned, forced out by the city on the same side of the street on that one block. That block was the best on K street except for the Crest. Thanks, city.

Uneasy Rhetoric said...

What miller said. The area with the proposed tent city is already a major area for homeless camping -- I'd hardly refer to it as neighborhood open space as the article implies. Given some structure to the camping and providing some basic services could go a long way toward moving some of these folks out of the "chronic homeless" category and would, at a minimum, ease some of the strain on law enforcement.

But I'd support more robust solutions like you mention, as well.

talkaboutcharles said...

I've been to Dyer Lane at night once in High School and it was kind of creepy.

Charles

Jeff M. said...

Two quotes from the Bee article make me a little wary about this scheme.

1) "For years, area cops and park rangers have engaged in a kind of chess game with them [i.e., homeless campers]"

2) "Sacramento homeless who illicitly camp along the American River Parkway and on city sidewalks may soon be able to live in tent communities sanctioned by government and police."

Hardcore campers are probably not going to camp in places where the use of booze and drugs is prohibited.

That said, the recession is bringing social services in the county to its knees, and there may just not be money in the next two or three years to house the mentally ill and the chronically underemployed, so homelessness may skyrocket. It would be nice to have safe camping places for children and the vulnerable.

Sharper said...

From the SacBee's infographic, it looks at least one of the proposed sites is going to be separated from the Northern Bike Trail by the berm for that railroad line that passes down 19 1/2th Street.

brity said...

Mohanna did not kick the businesses out, but he did ensure that none would replace them. Yes the Z Gallery idea was stupid, yes the city screwed up, but Mohanna was always looking ahead to the big payoff.

Not sure why you couldn't afford 55 Degrees. It was no more expensive than Waterboy. In my opinion, it was the best restaurant in the Sacramento region. They also had a great bar and the best oysters. I miss the place.

Anonymous said...

Anything that stops (or limits) the practice of ticketing the homeless for camping would be great. If someone is homeless and clearly broke, ticketing them does nothing to help them. Usually they do not appear in court because they can't pay the fine, which then leads to a Failure to appear warrant, more fines, etc etc etc.
At least giving them another option would be a good step.

Portlands dignity village has always seemed interesting to me
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dignity_Village
-Natalie.

emjay said...

i ride my bike to work often from downtown to arden/howe and last summer I was witness to a disturbing raid on the camp outside of the blue diamond factory... I asked the police where they would be taking the little bum-family, and he said he didn't care where they went, as long as they didn't stay there.
hrumph. A lot would have to change, in terms of the cities attitude towards the homeless to get some type of more semi-permanent housing/encampment. At the VERY least, a medical/psych personal stationed nearby seems like a good idea, for the general public health and well being... I guess loaves and fishes might cover that arena...

Like I said, I ride that stretch often, and rarely does anyone talk to me; not once have I had a problem. I kinda like the idea that one can be totally broke and still 'live' in sacramento... heck, the river is a pretty sweet backyard, even if you are homeless...

J Lehr said...

St Francis houses about 16 homeless people a night, and I work one night a week. A lot of the times when we had to 86 people it's been due to mental health issues.. and if these folks don't want to be on meds then I say let em camp out. I don't think this is the best location though. We need to move Loaves and Fishes along with some social services designed to help the homeless and a camp somewhere out in Highlands or something. It's never the best 1st impression when you roll down 12th into Sac for the first time and are greeted by 100 homeless people.

Beth said...

The camp by the bridge is crazy right now ... I don't know if it is more or less scary to ride across the bridge alone with so many people out there. I have never had a real problem but I know of a couple of cyclists who've been challenged on the bridge so I am a little wary. You are kind of on your own out there if something happens.

On the one hand I don't begrudge those people their need to camp, but on the other I guess I do resent feeling cut off from the river myself because of how big and unmanaged that camp is getting. Easy access to the bike trail and the river is one of the best things about living in midtown, but I find it a little freaky to ride over the bridge alone or with my kid, especially since they put those barriers on the bridge.

Plus it seems to be on the verge of becoming a huge health and environmental hazard -- we were out there on Sunday and the stench of human shit was overwhelming. That can't be good for the people who live there OR for the river.

Anonymous said...

I had no idea that city existed until a few months ago when a new acquaintance from out of state unknowingly wandered down there and started talking to one of the men living there...an offer was struck to come back with some friends and have a BBQ with the residents...I accompanied a few people armed with hot dogs, hamburgers, some soda and beer...over the course of several hours...we chatted and ate...no judgments or charity...just people sharing some food and conversation...I learned a lot...the atmosphere presented an honest observation of life under the open sky with essentially complete freedom...yeah, it was cold and by no means easy...yes, a few were admitted drug users...others had recognizable signs of mental illness...but overall...the people were recently unemployed...victims of the economic "downturn"...or unable to cope with past difficulties in their life...and a downward spiral left them homeless, jobless...the most talkative of the group derived their income mostly from "flying signs"...with the women earning three times as much from people's sympathy...this bothered me...most don't stay in shelters due to being force fed religion and well, the monetary motivation behind those providing the service...Loaves and Fishes received much praise all around...the sincerity behind their cause appreciated and respected...all were kind and generous with their time and words...I don't know the answers on how to help these city dwellers or quite frankly if they even would want help...but I would suggest those trying to find the answers spend a night in their shoes...

Kristin Evans...a loyal voyeur joining in for the first time...

beckler said...

I think it's true, that there is more of a perception of it being unsafe than a reality. If there were a bunch of people camping and one messed with me, I would feel pretty confident that at least one would come to my aid. In the past, I've found the small groups of bros drinking, usually with pitbulls along, and with bikes partially sprawled across the path, to be more threatening than the homeless camped there.

Also, Natalie was telling me that the organized homeless encampment in Portland functions pretty well. It would obviously be better for people to have toilets and running water than to be just camped in an open field.

Beth said...

Oh, I was not really differentiating the guys with their pitbulls from the homeless who camp there, but I guess they could be unrelated. I do not encounter those guys elsewhere on the bike trail, though, except occasionally close to Discovery.

I'm not willing to say that the homeless camp is all benevolence and good will, though, since there have been occasional murders out there for as long as the camp have been around (which is to say, pretty much as long as there has been a Sacramento). I mean, nobody is preying on cyclists passing through as far as I know, but certainly there has been quite a lot of violence in and around those camps. I always worry about the women out there in particular, although the homicide victims have primarily been men.