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Safe Ground Advocates Go On Offensive

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, March 14, 2011

Buzz Hoover lives at Safeground Sacramento.  He says the American River homeless encampment has been moving every day, trying to stay ahead of the law. 

"So that's what we're doing every day,"  Hoover said.  "We're breaking down every day, setting up, breaking down, setting up about 2:45.  Today we started about noon."    

Hoover says Safeground leaders will be lobbying the city this week to use a state law to establish an emergency homeless campground. He says Safeground members are working with the city and county to find a permanent plot of land, but for the meantime, homeless people have nowhere to go. 
Patrick Treptow lives in a Portland Oregon homeless camp called Dignity village.  He says a group of homeless people successfully lobbied Portland's city council to establish an emergency shelter in 2000. 
"There's a little a known ordinance here in Oregon that allows every city to have two emergency campgrounds for homeless people," Treptow said.
Treptow says the city used the ordinance to establish an emergency shelter at a leaf composting yard.  That's what started the 60 person self-funded Dignity Village, which still exists today. Only now the residents live in wooden structures.    
Sacramento, special assistant to the mayor, R.E. Graswich says the decision to establish an emergency homeless camp is ultimately up to the city council.
"And if there were five of them or more who thought that was in the best interest of the city then that would become the law," Graswich said. 
Campers at Safeground say they are trying to get off the river, but don't have anywhere else to go.       


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