By Marlee Ginter
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KOVR) — There are an estimated 10,000 homeless people in Sacramento County.
No neighborhood is immune to its impacts, but now one of the most high-profile places in the capital city may no longer have problems with people setting up camps.
Homelessness in Sacramento is the source of many complaints from neighbors.
“A lot of people who are obviously mentally challenged are wandering around and screaming,” said Sacramento resident Chris Pfost.
Much of the homeless community is concentrated downtown, but now there is a specific spot downtown where you may never see homelessness again.
Governor Gavin Newsom and California state lawmakers have approved spending $1 million to get rid of homeless people on the state Capitol grounds where those elected officials work.
“It’s disgusting to spend a million dollars on a small downtown area,” Pfsot said.
Pfost says the million could be better spent
“There are parts of the city and the county that are worse than this, where people really suffer,” he said.
The money was approved as part of last year’s state budget bill and was requested by Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.
“To work with the Capitol and see if we can provide help to people who have no shelter or home around the Capitol,” the mayor said then.
The funds will go towards providing shelter, rental assistance and other services for the homeless in and around California State Capitol Park.
“I had never heard of this specific type of funding to target a specific geographic area,” said Bob Erkenbusch of the Regional Coalition to End Homelessness.
Erlenbusch supports the idea and says there is a growing need to help the homeless.
“Drive around the perimeter of the State Capitol, you will see tents and people sleeping in the park because they have nowhere to go,” he said.
But Erlenbusch said the main motive behind this kind of focused effort is to mask a larger problem.
“This is just an effort to remove homeless people from the State Capitol so that when visitors visit the State Capitol, they don’t see homeless people,” he said.
The Sacramento City Council approved the outreach plan last week and it will be implemented by the city’s Community Response Department.
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