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Why some advocates aren't on board with Sacramento's Right to Housing and Obligation to Accept proposal

If approved, folks experiencing homelessness would be given two options of shelter to choose from and they'd have the obligation to either accept it or be moved.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento City Council is discussing a so-called 'Right to Housing' ordinance being proposed by Mayor Darrell Steinberg on Tuesday night.

The ultimate goal is to alleviate the city's homeless crisis. This proposed ordinance would only come into play when the city has created enough capacity by January 2023, which is what they're working on now in their $100 million homeless plan.

"The law should be that people live indoors," Steinberg said. "We have to continue to drive to build the capacity to be able to offer people who are unsheltered a place to live and only when we have done that, does the second half come into play."

If approved, people experiencing homelessness would be given two options of shelter to choose from and they'd have the obligation to either accept it or be moved. However, not everyone is on board.  

The Sacramento Homeless Union called it a "con job that will feed the homeless industrial complex and not end homelessness."

Joseph Smith, advocacy director for Loaves and Fishes said the plan needs more housing and worries that it could cause more harm than good. 

"When you do that, you create trauma and harm to the people living on the streets. They've been moved over and over and over again," Smith said. 

64-year-old Robert Witt, who has been staying near Discovery Park next to Interstate 5 for the past two years, said if he was given two options for housing, he wouldn't take either because of the possibility of having to follow certain rules. 

"I prefer to live my life the way I want to live it and most people do," Witt said. "If they want to take me out of here and force me to live where I don't want to live, I'm not going to accept that; I'll just go on somewhere else." 

If approved, people experiencing homelessness would be given two options of shelter to choose from and they'd have the obligation to either accept it or be moved.

Tuesday is only the first discussion of the proposal. Next October, there is expected to be a full public hearing on it to see if the city has made progress toward meeting its housing goals. 

   

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