Monday, December 15, 2008

Bee Backs Protected Homeless Encampments

Picture that appeared with Bee editorial.

In an editorial by its Board of Directors, the Sacramento Bee weighed in heavily behind so-called "high-tolerance encampments" for the homeless, yesterday, writing that "it makes sense to consider establishing a tent city or a series of such cities – tolerated by authorities, governed by the homeless themselves and presided over by charities that serve homeless people."

Calling for "a broad effort" to address the longstanding and growing problem of displaced, impoverished people within the county, the Bee piece said: "It's not enough to work with city and county authorities. Businesses and residents in and around potential encampments sites must be brought into the conversation."

The Bee called the current circumstance where homeless people are being rousted from their tents or sleeping bags "cruel, expensive and fruitless."

The editorial ended with this call to action: "Certainly the current system – an endless cycle of arrests, citations, prosecutions and incarcerations – isn't working. If we can't end homelessness, why not create safer places where homeless people can live in peace? Other cities have tried it. Sacramento should as well."

The lawsuit being pursued by SHOC, Loaves & Fishes and Francis House was referred to in the Bee piece several times. The editorial called for compromise by the city and county, but also seemed to fully support the homeless-advocates' positions.

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