Saturday, August 22, 2009

Mark Merin property leased for use by homeless campers

Campers setting up on the Merin property.
Mark Merin, the leading Sacramento attorney for the homeless-help industry, is allowing homeless people to put up their tents on property of his on C Street, between 12th and 14th.

According to the article in the Bee which is the source of this news, Merin is leasing the property to "three advocacy organizations [that] are leading the 'safe ground' effort." The organizations are unnamed in the article, but would be Loaves & Fishes, Francis House and SHOC. The "lease" is clearly a means to shield Merin from responsibility for the effort.

Merin, and the "advocacy organizations" are set to profit considerably from terms of agreement that will conclude litigation relating to Lehr v Sac'to, a suit that ostensibly exists to compensate homeless people for property that was destroyed by city and county police. In truth, Merin and Loaves & Fishes will be the great beneficiaries from the suit, when it is concluded.

The campers will still be subject to being ticketed by police for staying on the property, even as those leasing the property provide their permission to the campers to be there. As the article notes, "a city ordinance ... prohibits camping in non-designated areas for longer than 24 hours."

However, "a spokesman for the Sacramento Police Department, said officers would 'consider taking enforcement action' against campers only if the site was 'unsafe or unsanitary' or if neighbors or others complained."

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