By Angela Musallam

SACRAMENTO COUNTY (CBS13) — Camping out in public is no longer illegal, according to a court ruling that passed just a few weeks ago.

The ruling came down from San Francisco’s Ninth Circuit of Appeals. It states law enforcement cannot cite or arrest a homeless person for sleeping on public property if the city or county doesn’t have enough shelter beds.

“Now I scout every inch of the grass before I sit down on it and even then I smell it,” said Seth Redlich.

Redlich recently moved to California from the East Coast and says the littering associated with homelessness is a new concept to him. Redlich is for homeless rights but says the pollution it’s causing makes him a little uncomfortable.

“I’ve never concerned myself with human waste until I came to California, not once in my life,” Redlich said.

A federal ruling passed on September 4th now states it’s “unconstitutional” for law enforcement to cite or arrest homeless people sleeping on public property.

RELATED: Court Ruling Has Sacramento County Backing Off No-Camping Ordinance

“Since the beginning of 2018, there have been more than 2,000 illegal camping citations issued by the park rangers,” said Sacramento County Spokeswoman Kim Nava.

Now rangers have stopped enforcing the “anti-camping ordinance,” under the new federal ruling.

“They are still citing for illegal campfires, dogs off-leash, possession of shopping carts, anything like that,” Nava added.

She said the new ruling hasn’t stopped the city from cleaning up parkways, especially around the American River, in addition to providing services to the homeless.

The ruling is a victory for homeless activist Jaymes “Faygo” Clark. He says the majority of homeless people he’s encountered want to be off the streets.
Clark added that constantly being kicked out of homeless camps makes it tough to connect with county resources.

RELATED: Federal Court: Cities Can’t Prosecute People For Sleeping On Streets

“I think we can see a major shift in the way not only people in the streets are acting, but how quickly we are getting them to transition back into housing,” Clark said.

The county’s mission to get public property and local parkways cleaned up is still a priority, even if it now means making a few tweaks.

District 1 Supervisor Phil Serna tells CBS13 “…despite the court’s ruling we will do everything we can to capitalize on the progress we’ve made.”

The county says it has been able to re-house more than 100 homeless people since last year. Supervisor Serna is now calling for a public hearing in October, to discuss new ways to get homeless people off the streets.

Comments (3)
  1. Let’s bus all of Sacramento’s homeless out to Orangevale so that the Republican County Supervisors will be motivated to actually help with this problem.

  2. Judith Giglio says:

    We still have loiterting and littering laws. They may have a rght to sleep on the streets but they do not have the rightto deficate or trash the neighborhoods. Enforce the laws for littering and loitering.

  3. Sacramento is spending millions on trying to redevelop downtown and it’s going to be a waste of money. City of Sac will go bankrupt because no one is going to invest in a downtown where no one wants to spend time there because the homelessn have taken over. I see it daily, I’ve worked downtown next door to the Arena for the last 8 years and the homeless population has increased every year. Go downtown after 6 pm on a weekday, or Sat or Sunday near the Arena. It’s creepy; it’s a ghosttown after 5; only folks hanging around downtown are the homeless. California needs to bring back mental health facilities. Most homeless people are addicts that have been on the streets so long and on drugs so long they are mentally unable to be rehabilated back to working class folks. I know, my ex brother in law got so deep into a crack addiction, he damaged his mind with the chronic drug use. He will never be rehabilitated. Drs said his mind is gone.
    We got him into very nice hospice homes, several times, he even had his own room, and he ran away every time. I don’t know what the solution is, but I do know you can’t make homeless people live or stay where they don’t want to be. Their not going to get a job again! Most of these folks need to be in mental institutions where they can’t leave, they have to be taken care of 24/7, that’s the only way you are going to get them off the streets. Most live like animals because most don’t even know where they are at! Chronic alcohol and drug use over time causes brain damage. These folks aren’t going to be getting any job ever again, most don’t even know where they are at most times.

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