Sacramento homeless try to copy Portland

from the March 2003 issue of street roots

Plans for a tent city in Sacramento have been stymied by the city's refusal to grant a permit for any kind of overnight camp on public property

Homeless advocates have not given up, however, especially when the alternative to a camp, living on the streets, has led to the deaths of at least three homeless people in the city last year, not to mention a handful of other suspected homicides that have not been confirmed by the Sacramento County Coroner's, office, according to the Sacramento Bee.

A letter from the city's Parks and Recreation Department denying the permit stated that allowing camping would interfere with parks meant for "occasional recreational visits" from all residents. Yet in cities like Portland, officials have learned to make exceptions for a camp that provides the best option currently available to a lot of homeless people.

"It's a practical alternative for many (who) would be sleeping in doorways and under bridges," Portland city staffer Marshall Runkle, who works with the Portland camp, told the Bee. "At the end of the day, it's a group of homeless people taking responsibility for their own lives and trying to help improve the lives of others."