That is not news to Woodlake and other neighborhoods who have been bearing the brunt of illegal camping by the homeless in the Parkway for years and it is the clear conclusion of this article—watch the video interview—from KCRA 3 News; and one major reason public leadership has refused for decades to effectively deal with Parkway illegal camping.
For nearly two weeks, dozens of homeless people, their pets and belongings have occupied a levee at Interstate 5 and Garden Highway after flooding forced them out of Discovery Park.
The men and women, tents, tarps, bicycles, cooking utensils and dogs cram together beneath the interstate as cars and trucks drive overhead, dropping brake dust and other litter.
It’s not where the homeless want to be, but it’s where they have to be while Discovery Park is closed.
“We’re forced out of our normal bathroom facilities,” said David Toney, who now calls the levee home. “We don’t have access to clean water, you know, on a regular, daily basis. And we’ve been under here for a while.”
Safety, Toney said, is not an issue.
It’s the lack of privacy and lack of access that has him and other members of the community calling on the city and other official entities to come up with a solution.
“It would seem like the authorities could look at this as a sort of an emergency and make some kind of contingencies for relief on some of this stuff,” he said.
The city and county provide emergency shelters and beds, as do other private entities, but temporary solutions to many in Toney’s community aren’t enticing.
The homeless risk losing the few possessions they have, including their pets.
Then, Toney explained, there’s the issue of embracing a lifestyle many haven’t experienced in years.
“If you lived out here for 10 years, being inside of an apartment building is going to be a new experience to you,” he said. “It’s going to be anxiety. You’re not going to be around your friends.”
Sacramento City Council member Jeff Harris echoes that sentiment. He said pushing someone into housing doesn’t simply work because you want it to work.
“It really doesn’t work that well to take someone off the street, as you said, whose acclimated to a life outdoors, move them into a housing situation and expect it to work,” he explained.