Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Emergency Temporary Shelter and Enforcement Act of 2022?
The Emergency Temporary Shelter and Enforcement Act of 2022 is a proposed initiative measure in the City of Sacramento. It will appear on November 8, 2022, General Election Ballot unless the City Council enacts the measure as presented.
What does the Initiative Do?
The Initiative has three important parts:
First, the Initiative revises the city’s existing anti-camping ordinance to make its enforcement compliant with recent court decisions, including Martin v. City of Boise. It does this by requiring the City Manager to immediately (within 60 days following enactment) identify and establish emergency temporary shelter space, including temporary camping space, equal to 75% of the total number of homeless individuals in the City. Not every homeless individual is appropriate for, or may not accept, shelter or a space in a temporary campground. A reduction of 25% accounts for this difference.
Second, the Initiative provides that homeless “encampments” (places where four or more unrelated individuals camp together) are illegal without regard to the availability of shelter space. As stated in the Initiative, homeless encampments have created a public health and safety crisis for those living in such encampments and for all city residents and businesses.
Finally, the Initiative allows any resident or business harmed or damaged by a homeless encampment on city-owned property to demand the City to remove the public nuisance within 45 days. The making of a demand requires immediate city action, including the inspection of the encampment and a response to the person making the demand indicating what the City will do and when. If the City declines to eliminate the public nuisance on city-owned property, an administrative hearing is required to determine if the City must comply and remove the nuisance. If the City refuses, the hearing officer can take action to remove the nuisance. The Initiative borrows on the existing process that the City uses to abate a public nuisance on private property.
How will the Initiative be Implemented?
The Initiative imposes the duties on the City Manager and the city staff or contractors designated by the City Manager.
Where will the Emergency Shelters and Campsites be located?
The City Manager has discretion to identify locations on city-owned property for such temporary shelters. The City Manager may also contract with the state, county, or the owners of private property, including existing shelters operated by nonprofit organizations in the city. Such shelters may not be established near schools, playgrounds, daycares, K-12 schools, neighborhood parks and streams and rivers.
Any temporary shelter must comply with all state and city laws and must include security for those located within the shelter and the general public.
How does the Initiative Affect other City Homeless Programs?
The Initiative does NOT affect any other city program attempting to deal with homelessness. The City needs a long-term and permanent housing solution for those experiencing homelessness, including social services provided by the State and County. However, the City also needs to immediately address the public health and safety crisis caused by unchecked and illegal camping on our city streets and public property. The economic vitality of the City demands an immediate response and cannot wait for the permanent solutions to come online. This initiative allows the voters of Sacramento to demand our city leaders address the emergency with a sensible and compassionate response.
How will the city of Sacramento pay for this?
Measure U was passed by the voters in 2018 for this purpose. It is estimated to generate an additional $47 million annually. As a general tax, the revenues would be deposited into the City's general fund and could be used for any municipal government purpose. The voters of Sacramento have made it clear that dealing with homelessness is the most important issue for the City right now.
How will the City get Homeless Individuals off the Streets and out of Encampments and into the Temporary Shelters and Campsites?
The Initiative requires the City Manager and assigned social workers to first provide 14-day notice to homeless individuals that camping on city-owned property is illegal and will be enforced and offer them shelter or campsite if they choose to take it. If they don’t choose to take it, after 14 days, the anti-camping laws will be enforced in that area, and they will be required to leave or be arrested.
The City will assist the individual in moving to the temporary shelter/campground. The property of the individual can be moved by the City, discarded, or even purchased, if the homeless individual prefers. Thereafter the City can dispose of unwanted property, trash, and hazardous waste.
Large encampments will not be allowed, regardless of the preference of the individuals within the encampments and the use or availability of temporary shelter space.
What Role does Sacramento County have in Connection with the Initiative?
The Initiative amends the City Municipal Code. Legally it does not impose any obligation or duty on the County. It is anticipated that the Initiative will serve as a model for the County and that the County will partner with the City in assisting to locate and establish temporary shelter and camping space, and most importantly, assist in providing the necessary social services, including mental health treatment, drug rehabilitation, and public safety enforcement needed to bring about permanent solutions for the homeless.