Wednesday, August 5, 2009

New, clandestine encampment, named Safe Ground, is established

A resourceful band of homeless people have identified a plot of ground in Sacramento for the establishment of a campground – a place to live and be in the absence of adequate shelter space or other ways and means to spend the night.

There is nothing unusual about this (there are many illicit homeless tent communities in the county), except that these campers have a written compact, regulations and self-governance. And they have named their encampment "Safe Ground," even though it is not sanctioned, as that name implies.

I am told that last evening two Sacramento Bee reporters came to the site and spoke with many of the inhabitants. A story in the paper is likely to appear tomorrow morning. [Update: As of the 8/7 issue, there has been no story re the camp in The Bee.]

The plot of ground was described to me as being as big as the cul-de-sac area at Loaves & Fishes, from Mercy Clinic to the end of the street, which is, perhaps, 25 yards by 70 yards. I was told the encampment is wooded and secluded.

I am told that campers there abide by rules that are much like those imposed on denizens of L&F's Friendship Park: Fights, drinking and use of mind-altering substances are disallowed. Several of the campers comprise a makeshift board of directors. At least one of the campers is tasked with the responsibility of enforcing abidance of the rules.

The group is hoping to establish a community of forty tents in their location. One idea is to have the tents belong to the encampment, itself, and not to the campers. It was implied that some homeless-aid-agency leaders and attorneys are very aware of the community, are encouraging it, and will aid in its development.

[Note that SacHo was given an OK to report on this matter from a couple residents of the encampment, so long as the campground location was not identified.]

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