SACRAMENTO (CBS 13) – Sacramento city leaders decided to postpone their vote on a controversial plan to create a tent city for the homeless.
The proposed complex would be built at Carl Johnston Community Park in Del Paso Heights. But Tuesday night, the mayor called the site a safety hazard.
“After consulting with Councilmember Warren, we are not going to take a vote tonight,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg.
It was a roadblock for Councilmember Allen Warren’s tent city plans likely making his goal to open in 30 days impossible. Steinberg wouldn’t give much detail.
“I believe that the council is committed to trying to find appropriate solutions,” said Councilmember Warren, who introduced his plan tonight, as scheduled, to open a city-sanctioned tent city.
It’s something the homeless community has demanded for years.
“There’s a hope for immediate relief coming for at least a small portion of the people living outside right now,” said James “Faygo” Clark, who has been homeless for 15 years.
The campsite will offer space for 150 people to live in tents and feature common areas, medical services and an area for pets. Additionally, it’ll be staffed 24/7 and set rules against drugs, violence and wandering around the neighborhood.
“There will be 150 not on the streets looking for a place to find the bathroom where there isn’t any because they’ll be in a tent city where there is a restroom,” Clark said.
“This is a way where we can bring people together and focus resources in a concentrated area,” Warren said.
He told CBS13 the priority would be given to people living in his jurisdiction: District 2. It will cost about $100,000 per month or $22.16 per day per person. The original proposal places the campsite on a 2-acre lot in Carl Johnston Park in Del Paso Heights.
“I think it’s good that they have somewhere to stay,” said Veronica Lerma, who lives nearby.
And even with a 4-year-old son, Veronica Lerma says the camp site’s proximity to the park wouldn’t keep her from taking him there to play.
“I mean they gotta do something,” she said. “They do have to help em!”
The campsite would be about 1,000 feet away from the Johnston Community Center. But some parents still think that’s too close.
Alena Aguilar is mother of 7 who is concerned about safety.
“I don’t think it would be safe for the children,” Aguilar said. She thinks the city should find a spot further away from schools and homes. “Like all of those abandoned fields that you see where their tent’s at, why don’t you make a space for them?” she asked.
Now, the location is up in the air while the city tries to determine whether or not Johnston Park is still an option. Meanwhile, Steinberg announced plans for micro-shelters throughout the city – where churches would provide shelter for small numbers of homeless people throughout the year.