Sacramento Proposes Budget to Close $66 Million Deficit, Plans to Close Homeless Camp

Sacramento City Manager proposes a $1.6 billion budget to address a $66 million deficit, including cuts and fee increases. The city plans to close Camp Resolution, a homeless encampment, but has delayed the closure after resident protests and promises of alternative housing.

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Emmanuel Abara Benson
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Sacramento Proposes Budget to Close $66 Million Deficit, Plans to Close Homeless Camp

Sacramento Proposes Budget to Close $66 Million Deficit, Plans to Close Homeless Camp

Sacramento City Manager Howard Chan has released a budget proposal to address the city's $66 million deficit.

TrimFeed gathered that the proposed $1.6 billion budget aims to close the deficit by increasing fees and cutting services. Key measures include increasing fees for community services, eliminating vacant jobs, and ending some programs.

Why this matters: The city's budget deficit and plans to close Camp Resolution have significant implications for the city's most vulnerable populations, including the homeless. The outcome of this situation will set a precedent for how cities balance their budgets with their social responsibilities.

The budget proposal also includes plans to close Camp Resolution, a city-sanctioned homeless encampment that has been in operation since 2022. The camp allows roughly 50 residents, camp to live in trailers on a city lot. Residents have been promised housing units, but the city now wants to transfer ownership of the site to build affordable housing.

However, the city has backed off its initial plan to close the camp on May 16 after passionate pleas from homeless residents. "We're not going nowhere," said Twana James, a Camp Resolution resident. "There's mostly women out there. They're dying out there and you don't have any heart for us? That's sad. Because we're somebody. We are somebody in this world ... we don't cost you guys nothing. We get our own food, people come in there and give us food."

Mayor Darrell Steinberg has promised the residents that the city will offer each of them an indoor shelter bed before clearing them off the site. "We will not displace you from Camp Resolution without some other alternatives that are safe, dignified and indoors," said Steinberg. The city has outlined conditions for the camp to remain open, although the specifics have not been disclosed.

The city is exploring alternative locations for the residents while they wait for affordable housing, which may be built on the site that Camp Resolution currently occupies. However, Anthony Prince, attorney for the Sacramento Homeless Union, has threatened legal action if the city does not provide permanent housing to all residents before closing the camp.

Since Camp Resolution opened, 16 people have been moved into permanent housing. Most residents are over 45 and have at least one chronic medical illness, with all but four having a documented disability. The camp has faced challenges, including environmental concerns stemming from tent camping, which is against the lease.

The city's budget shortfall is attributed to factors such as tax revenues not growing as much as expected, inflation, and increased labour, pension, and insurance costs. The city council is set to begin public hearings on the proposed budget next week and is scheduled to adopt a budget on June 11, before the new fiscal year begins on July 1.

The city is trying to avoid a similar scenario to the 2019 sweep of a camp on Stockton Boulevard public land, which was met with resistance from homeless residents and activists. The city's 100-bed shelter at X Street and Alhambra costs about $10 million a year to operate, highlighting the cost-effectiveness of Camp Resolution. The city faces significant challenges, including its budget deficit and homelessness crisis, with the fate of Camp Resolution and its residents remaining uncertain.

Key Takeaways

  • Sacramento, which currently faces a $66 million deficit, has proposed a $1.6 billion budget with fee increases and service cuts.
  • The city also plans to close Camp Resolution, a homeless encampment, have raised concerns among residents and activists, highlighting the city's struggle to balance budgetary constraints with social responsibilities.
  • Mayor Darrell Steinberg has promised alternative shelter options for Camp Resolution residents, but legal threats and ongoing negotiations complicate the situation.
  • The fate of Camp Resolution underscores broader issues of homelessness and budgetary constraints facing Sacramento, with the city grappling to find sustainable solutions amidst fiscal challenges.