This editorial appeared in The Sacramento Bee.
President Barack Obama, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson all agree on one thing:
It is intolerable – even in this troubled economy – that destitute people are sleeping in tents, in doorways and parks and under freeways. As the president said this week, "It is not acceptable for children and families to be without a roof over their heads in a country as wealthy as ours."
Yet as all know, it's easy to say you want to end or reduce homelessness, but doing so is another matter. This community and this country have a long history of convening homeless commissions, writing reports and forming strategies. All the while, the homeless are rousted from encampments under the guise of doing what is in their best interests.
Johnson and Schwarzenegger have come up with a response to Sacramento's homeless encampment north of downtown. It is a humane and serious one, and they deserve credit for collaborating on it.
The mayor and the governor have arranged to expand and reform shelter operations at Cal Expo, create new and permanent housing and seek federal stimulus money for other shelter options. They have personally met with homeless tent campers to better understand what approaches might work.
Make no mistake about it: The city's response is largely an effort to end the embarrassing spectacle of Sacramento's tent city, which has garnered international media attention, most recently on the front page of the New York Times. It may take months to determine if this will evolve into a wide-ranging and sustained effort to end and prevent homelessness or just be another exercise in damage control.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Sacramento Bee.