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How a Fall Ballot Proposal Will Affect the Homelessness Crisis

This fall, voters may be asked to voice their opinions regarding how the city of Sacramento and other county governments should respond to the homelessness crisis. Included in this discussion is a proposal to ban unhoused individuals from settling on public property. Here’s how this ballot proposal is affecting Sacramento:

Earlier this month, the Emergency Temporary Shelter and Enforcement Act of 2022 was filed as paperwork by Daniel Conway, who is leading the effort; the purpose of this being to decrease the shelter space that homeless individuals receive, along with condemning the actions of individuals who attempt to live in parks designated as public. Homeless individuals would also not be prohibited from living on sidewalks or any other public property. 

When this proposal came to light, many in the Sacramento community expressed their disgruntled disapproval over this filed act that would dramatically affect the future of the homelessness crisis. However, some staunch critics of the act circled back once it was revealed that the details of this act would only be exhibited when a shelter space was offered to the homeless. That way, the unhoused would still have a place to live and would not have to worry about never having housing. Still, many contend that this posits another issue, which is transportation to shelters. As of now, the community is split over the issue.

After this act was introduced, many executive and political figures in Sacramento began to consider their own involvement in the process, and how doing so would affect their own reputation, as well as the whole of Sacramento. Patrick Kennedy, who is the Sacramento County Supervisor, stated that he may install a Board of Supervisors for the November ballot. Additionally, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg has encouraged further developments in this act. 

To many, it is not unsurprising that Mayor Steinberg has endorsed this idea. Last fall, Mayor Steinberg had supported an idea similar to the one presented in the Emergency Temporary Shelter and Enforcement Act of 2022. Mayor Steinberg’s Right to Housing Plan created an obligation to accept housing if offered. Each person would be offered at least two forms of shelter and housing, and would then have an obligation to choose one out of the provided options. Despite the correlation, Mayor Steinberg and many others maintain that his plan differs from Daniel Conway’s plan in distinct ways. He hopes to combine his plan with Conway’s in a joint effort.

A student who wished to remain anonymous expressed their frustration, despite understanding the effort in the Sacramento community, stating “I personally do not like the current effort that is taking place in Sacramento. I think it can be cruel. I admit that I was very furious when I first heard that homeless people would have to move; it just sounded inhumane. Though, when I found out that they would be given options and the act would only be enforced when there is shelter, I calmed down. I still think the issue can be resolved in a better way, though.” 

The Sacramento community is actively facing the effects of the plan being put forth to address the homelessness crisis. With community executives integrating and working jointly, is it possible that this can help the Sacramento community? Or, will it be an oversight? Only time will tell as the Sacramento community interprets the new details being introduced.

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