SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — New data shows the number of homeless people in the Sacramento area is still increasing and Mayor Darrell Steinberg thinks adding more shelter space is key to solving the problem.

“Just in the last year and a half I’ve noticed a lot of people along the bike path,” said Thomas Bennett, a Land Park resident

Thomas Bennett lives off Land Park Drive, not far from a homeless encampment under the highway. He calls homelessness a complex issue that requires people to be extra cautious in some areas.

“It can be hard to get through the overpass, I typically don’t walk there at night,” Bennett said.

READ ALSO: 2019 Point In Time Count Finds Number Of Homeless Grew By 19% In Sacramento

At a press conference Wednesday, Steinberg said he understands people are frustrated by the issue and want to see homeless camps cleared out.

“It is not allowing people to linger in the way they are lingering, but you can only do that if you have the beds,” Steinberg said.

New California laws provide greater protections for homeless encampments. Steinberg wants to spend millions on increasing the number of bed spaces for the homeless.

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“Yes this investment is not only worth it, it’s absolutely necessary and essential,” Steinberg said. ”Until you build the capacity around shelter beds you can’t tell people they can’t camp.”

According to a Sacramento Point in Time Survey, the number of homeless increased 19% since the last study in 2017. However, that’s less of an increase than in previous years.

“There’s no celebration here, it’s obviously a recognition we have a lot more work to do,” Steinberg said.

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