Sacramento Battles Over Homeless Shelters … Council majority runs roughshod over opponents of low barrier homeless shelters open to drug abusers

By Craig Powell

California Globe Published on Wednesday, 10 September 2019

If anyone wants to know why “low barrier” homeless shelters of the type being pushed by Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and his allies on the city council are a failed idea, I urge you to visit the Sacramento city clerk’s website and watch the August 26th council meeting video of Councilwoman Angelique Ashby’s comprehensive and devastating critique of the now closed city homeless shelter in North Sacramento, as well as her indictment of proposed low barrier shelters in Meadowview and in North Oak Park. It was a virtuoso display of passion, moral authority and basic common sense.

A “low barrier” shelter is one where no one is screened for criminal convictions, no one is excluded for being high on drugs or drunk, and no one is precluded from bringing in aggressive breeds of dogs. Ashby recounted the numerous phone calls she received from women staying at the North Sacramento shelter who told her that they’d been sexually assaulted inside the shelter. She recounted the broken city promises to keep the area around the North Sacramento shelter clean and safe – the same promises the city is now making about its proposed shelters in Meadowview and Oak Park. She noted that on the day she toured the North Sacramento shelter she counted 90 pit bulls (yes, you read that correctly) inside the shelter.

Her observations matched the anecdotal reports Eye on Sacramento received from several residents of the shelter. We had no chance to independently verify the reports because the city studiously barred the media from ever entering it. The exterior of the shelter, however, was a menagerie of social pathology: open drug dealing and drug use, open intoxication, surrounded by homeless encampments and the public health dangers they entail.

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