Removing Illegal Camps & Helping Homeless

As reported by the Sacramento News & Review, that appears to be the dual mission undertaken by West Sacramento to remove an illegal campgrounds—which had been housing some homeless for years—and allowing the area, bought by a private company, to be developed.

We certainly wish them well, the homeless and the developers, and see it as the model for what may be done in the future in the North Sacramento area of the Parkway if our idea for constructing a links golf course there is ever adopted.

An excerpt from the SN&R article.

The riverbank near West Sacramento’s Broderick Boat Ramp is no stranger to drugs, vandalism and endless amounts of garbage. But it’s also evolved into a fairly stable homeless community, with many residents establishing veritable homesteads.

Steve Kruse, who functions as “mayor” of the campsite gathering, has lived there for more than 17 years. “Being off the grid is nicer than people think,” he says.

Last week, on November 12, his neighborhood came to an end.

Bright and early Wednesday, homeless individuals encamped along the Sacramento River’s North Levee area packed up tents, loaded belongings onto anything with wheels and rustled into line.

It was all part of the Bridge to Housing pilot project, a “housing first” solution to homelessness that focuses on getting people under roofs.

The goal: get homeless people indoors immediately—in this case, at a local motel—and then work to address their unique needs. After 120 days, officials will condemn the motel, and this qualifies the residents for housing vouchers.

“It’s very ambitious,” says Bob Erlenbusch, executive director of the Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness. He calls the project a “humanistic response” compared to previous homeless sweeps, which amounted to a few days’ notice before forcible removal by law enforcement.

The project hatched when Ethan Conrad Properties purchased a parcel near the boat ramp in August. Property manager Ryan McGinnis said it was his job to “get the people off the land, and try to do it as humanely as possible.”

Retrieved November 20, 2014 from

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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