Stark Contrast – Which city is better served by its columnist?

I am so saddened by the lack of compassion in Marcos Breton’s Sunday column: The price downtown Sacramento is paying for Mayor Steinberg’s homeless crusade

Contrast it with Steve Lopez’s column in the Los Angeles Times a day later: A true L.A. hero: For people dying on L.A. streets, he offers help, and he won’t take no for an answer

Los Angeles has approved a $1.2 million dollar housing bond to help homeless people and is about to vote on a $.25 cent sales tax for homeless services. Businesses and developers strongly support the measure: Developers join the campaign for quarter-cent sales tax to fund homeless services

Here in Sacramento, Mayor Steinberg is fighting to win approval for an allocation of housing choice vouchers and crafting an ambitious mix of government (federal, state and local) and private (Sutter Health and others) funding to provide supportive services for homeless and at risk people.

Breton offers no constructive suggestions; Steve Lopez captures the humanity and suffering of the destitute on the streets and supports Los Angeles bond and sales tax. Which city is better served by its columnist?

Sacramento deserves better.

Joan Burke
Director of Advocacy
Loaves & Fishes

Hope for Homeless in Sacramento?

At 6:00 pm on January 31st, 2017, the Sacramento City Council and County Board of Supervisors met in a joint meeting in downtown Sacramento. This was the first time that these two groups had come together in over 20 years; the issue that finally brought them together: homelessness. Over 400 concerned citizens attended the meeting, approximately 100 of which hoping to speak directly to our representatives, hoping to suggest solutions to this massive problem.

This should come as a shock to no one. Homelessness has become (or does it simply continue to be?) a prominent issue in the Sacramento region. Individuals speaking on behalf of different interests– businesses, activists, landlords, nonprofits, builders, health professionals– implore our city and county officials to do something about it.

People are dying, children are sleeping outside. The time to do something is now.

After last week’s joint meeting–and for weeks, months, and years prior–The Sacramento Bee published many important articles on homelessness in Sacramento.

The following articles are taken from The Sacramento Bee throughout the last week, and highly worth reading. They are a snapshot, a point in time picture of what homelessness is right now, and how we are addressing the issue as a government and a people.

Hopefully we can look back on these articles in the future, and celebrate how far we’ve come and the solutions we have created. For now, here we are:

“Let Sacramento’s homeless sleep in Peace” Dave Kempa

“Is there hope again to find a way off Sacramento’s Streets?” Erika Smith

“Overcoming the dysfunction on homelessness” Erika Smith

“Sacramento city and county take first steps toward giving housing to homeless” Anita Chabria and Ellen Garrison

“Sacramento moves ahead on public housing for homeless, but county wants more time” Anita Chabria and Ellen Garrison

Children sleeping outside: we need shelter.

Call your supervisors today. Tell them that no child should sleep outside.

District 1: Phil Serna: (916) 874-5485

District 2: Patrick Kennedy: (916) 874-5481

District 3: Susan Peters: (916) 874-5471

District 4: Roberta MacGlashan: (916) 874-5491

District 5: Don Nottoli: (916) 874-5465

Mustard Seed School at Loaves & Fishes is an emergency school for homeless children ranging in age from preschool through eighth grade. Some of its students are lucky enough to be staying in emergency shelters but others have been turned away for lack of space. Last week 26 of the 60 children attending Mustard Seed were camping outside or staying in cars with their families. Maryhouse, Loaves & Fishes daytime resource center for homeless women and families, also reports mothers with infants and toddlers are unable to find safe shelter.  Homelessness is devastating to families, especially the children. Can Sacramento County not provide even the bare minimum of shelter for them?

Mustard Seed Director Casey Knittel states, “This is the first time I’ve seen so many children in cars. It’s heartbreaking to see them leave us at the end of the day not knowing if they’ll find a safe place to stay that night.”