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Like squeezing a balloon

Ever watch a guy make balloon animals at a county fair? The people who make balloon animals know that when you don't let the air out of a balloon, the air inside it just moves to a different part of the balloon when you squeeze the balloon. And that's sort of a metaphor for local policy towards homeless encampments. Sweeping a homeless encampment doesn't make homelessness go away, it just moves the campers to different places.

To be sure, the encampment at Fair Oaks and Howe has not been a crowd pleaser. Still, the unhoused individuals who were living there were on public property and thus "protected" by the Martin v. Boise court decision in that they could remain there unless offered a shelter bed - something local officials have largely failed to provide. And in the case of the Fair Oaks/Howe site, which is owned by the City of Sacramento, the responsible local officials are the leaders of the City of Sacramento. They are well known to us for dealing with their homeless problems at the remote edges of their city across the street from our unincorporated community (examples: here and here).

So when unnamed businesses in the vicinity of Fair Oaks and Howe complained about the encampment, the City of Sacramento leased them the land and kicked the homeless campers out - on a rainy day (of course). According to The Bee's article about the event (Theresa Clift, "City clears homeless encampment at Fair Oaks and Howe", Sacramento Bee, April 11, 2022), the site will be fenced off at a cost less than $250,000, an amount that avoids consideration by the City Council. Now that the homeless campers have been evicted, questions remain as to the legality of the eviction and the callous destruction of their possessions. But for Arden Arcade, the overriding question is, "Where will the people go?" We all know the answer to that, don't we? We will get to welcome new residents who used to live (camp) in the City of Sacramento. And those new residents won't have any better access to necessary housing, sanitation, welfare services, job opportunities, drug counseling or whatever else they need to improve their situation, will they? It's like squeezing a balloon.

May contain: person, human, grass, plant, and vegetation
Screen Grab from KCRA3's report about the eviction of the campers, which quite truthfully said some people "...just moved their tents and things across the street to set up camp."


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