Skip to main content

A Safe Ground community, comin' soon?

Safe Ground logo
The group “Safe Ground, Sacramento” may finally get a plot of ground that is safe for the creation of a Safe Ground homeless camp or village of some sort. City Council members – several of them, at least – and the Sac Bee Editorial Board have given their winks and nods of encouragement to suggest that after eight years in the wilderness, formerly-unsheltered homeless people will have a community where they can exist without being hassled by the police.

The particulars about the community – what it will be like; how it will be run; where it will be; whether it will be temporary – are all matters to be worked out. Everything is in the air at this point, but the Safe Ground Board, in the person of Attorney Mark Merin, let it be known a couple weeks ago that SG would like to push things along such that many determinations – including choosing many of the homeless people who will be initial inhabitants of the community – will be made before the end of April.  Members of the Sacramento City Council’s homeless subcommittee suggested at a meeting on the evening of Leap Year Day that their timeline was less expedient.

For my part, if the City Council is wanting to “do this thing,” the quicker the better. I do think that it must be mandatory that housed citizens who reside proximate to where the first legal/authorized Safe Ground will be -- and nearby business owners, too -- must be given a chance to have their say about the matter.  I think that these housed citizens and business owners may have very valid concerns about the value of their property taking a dive or seeing a decline in customers. Everything should be done to prevent the Safe Ground camp/village from being a blight.  Likely the community/camp should be given a limited period of time in its initial location – say, two years – before it is moved elsewhere.

The Sacramento Bee Board Editorial on Friday suggested that Safe Ground exist just as a pilot program for the summer, limited to a few dozen adult campers in tents. The Board Ed said, as well, that “drugs and alcohol should be banned inside the camp, but pets should be allowed. Sex offenders and people who are prone to violence also should be banned.”

At any camp where there are no children, I don’t see the need to ban sex offenders. The Marcos Breton fantasy from about five years ago that at homeless camps pedophiles drag children into tents to commit rape and mayhem comes from Breton’s furtive imagination. [Better might be to keep pedophiles who are former basketball players from going to City Council meetings.]

It is my understanding [that is, perhaps, mistaken] that registered sex offenders get in trouble for actions that are minor violations of their parole or for having materials that they shouldn’t have or for briefly being where they shouldn’t be, and rarely for new activity abusing children.  Besides, the other residents of a Safe Ground village or camp will be quick to react to any circumstance when a child comes into the camp.

I asked a Right 2 Rest activist his opinion on the matter of pedophiles being residents of a homeless camp. He wrote me, “Having pedophiles in homeless camps is a bad idea. It would be an unsafe environment for them as many in the homeless community are very passionate on the topic and may try to harm the individual.”



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The devastating effects of schizophrenia in one man's life

A powerful story of the deteriorating life and death of once-respectable Sacramento citizen, Mike Lehmkuhl,  is told by  reporter Cynthia Hubert in Sunday’s [7/31/16] Bee.
Lehmkuhl is described as a very likable guy with a sometimes-goofy personality that went along with a formidable intelligence. He was a “standout wrestler” in high school and an “accomplished gymnast at Sacramento State” where he graduated and then got into the building trade before going on to run a contracting business and have a home proximate to Country Club Plaza.
Friends describe him as being “happy” and “sanguine” at that time in his life, when he was about age 50.
But, by 2011, when Lehmkuhl was 53, he was hearing voices in his head and his life began to fall apart. He tumbled into a homeless life, combatting demons in his head that spoke to him. The Hubert piece provides a comprehensive picture of a good man beset by a devastating condition: schizophrenia. Lehmkuhl had good friends and loyal family members…

Homelessness and Remembrance

This is a follow-up on the matter of remembering homeless people who have died and the Wall that Libby Fernandez wants to build in remembrance of the deceased. [See earlier blogpost "Tell Libby NOT to build her wall."]

This blogpost is prompted by a Philosophy Bites podcast released in the last couple days -- titled "Cécile Fabre on Remembrance." Fabre's take on why we honor or grieve for certain individuals or certain collections of individuals is not greatly helpful -- since his focus is mainly one of fallen war heroes and war casualties -- but it does open up the issue of why should there be a remembrance effort for deceased homeless people at all. Who is served by it? And has the effort been perverted by the avarice of charities in their insatiable drive for donations.

It is, for starters, a curious thing for "homeless people" to be a collective that is honored. I write that NOT because I don't want the best for homeless people. But, homelessn…

The first-person dimension of homeless Sacramentans suffering from Schizophrenia

"Disabilities and dysfunction process from having been shunned and denied access to needed opportunitites and networks of support."
~ the brothers Lysaker in Schizophrenia and the Fate of the SelfWhat is schizophrenia? How many are homeless Sacramentans?

Perhaps 15% of the Sacramento homeless population suffers from schizophrenia. The percentage is difficult to determine for many reasons that branch from both the fuzzy definition of the malady and that many people within the homeless community who have the illness (1) are in denial and are undiagnosed and (2) have the illness as a diagnosis only – the disability can be faked by people who are successful claimants of social security and other benefits.

What is schizophrenia? One webspace gives us this definition: The most chronic and disabling of the severe mental disorders. Typically develops in the late teens or early twenties. The overt symptoms are hallucinations (hearing voices, seeing visions), delusions (false beliefs ab…