SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Businesses in midtown Sacramento tell CBS13 they’re concerned for their employees and customers as a homeless encampment continues to grow along 15th street between H and I streets.
Local homeless advocates say it’s an issue the city is refusing to deal with.READ MORE: Folsom Ice Skating Rink Reopens After Weeks Of Delays
CBS13 spoke to the midtown Mexican cantina Chando’s which has been on the same Sacramento corner for five years.
“We love this neighborhood because it’s kind of quiet,” said Chandos GM Mario Gonzales who claims the neighborhood has gotten louder.
“They started with one and now there’s seven or eight tents. My customers feel intimidated it’s kind of scary for them,” said Gonzales.
The growing tent city next to his restaurant is a concern for business.
“It’s kind of bad especially because this is a family restaurant. They feel scared crossing the tents. It’s not just us we have a bunch of restaurants across the street,” he said.
A block away, Lucas Davis works at Republic.READ MORE: 'AMEND Changed My Life': Program For African American Students Offers Path To Success
“Something does need to be done about it,” he said.
We reached out to Councilmember Katie Valenzuela, who tells CBS13 her office is aware of the 15th Street encampment but with city shelters and safe grounds completely full. Current encampment residents can’t be accommodated.
So, is there a solution? We’re getting answers
“Of course there are solutions,” said says Sacramento civil rights attorney Mark Merin, who claims there’s space in Sacramento for more shelters.
“We have so much vacant property we just won’t use it. The city, the county… they will not accept that homeless people are our responsibility,” he said.
The City of Sacramento has opened new safe grounds along the WX Freeway and in Miller Park and has leased 350 motel rooms to families experiencing homelessness.
We reached out to the city regarding additional resources and housing – they wrote, in part.
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“Mayor Steinberg wants our central city to be clean and safe, and doesn’t think people have a civil right to sleep outdoors… That’s why we are creating new beds, roofs and safe spaces as quickly as possible.”
Mary Lynne Vellinga,
City of Sacramento Spokesperson
In terms of an immediate solution for business owners, Councilmember Valenzuela tells CBS13 her office can only work with encampment residents to ensure there is enough sidewalk space for the public to walk by and to manage trash pileup.