Sacramento Leaders Explain Why Homeless Are Allowed To Stay In RVs Despite Neighbors’ Outrage

By: Ryan Hill
July 22, 2020 —

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — An RV fire in North Sacramento off of Opportunity Street is a part of a burning issue for neighbors who live by the busy business area.

“We’re really just tired of this crap over here,” Dinesh Kumar, an upset neighbor, said.

Watch this video courtesy of CBS 13 News Sacramento

They said what started out as a handful of homeless people parking their RVs along Opportunity Street has exploded to more than a dozen at a time, and the city won’t do anything about it.

“We get little to no response from the city. I’ve also talked to code enforcement officers and they go ahead and message me but that’s about it.” Theresa Neal, an upset neighbor, said. “Now, we have something like this blowing up which could’ve got even worse. Something worse could’ve happened today where somebody could’ve lost their life.”

CBS13 called the city of Sacramento about the neighbors’ concerns.

A spokesperson for the city sent us the following statement, “The City of Sacramento continues to follow State and County Public Health Orders. The Sacramento County Public Health Order states, “To maintain public health and safety, local governments should allow people who are living unsheltered, in cars, RV’s, and trailers, or in encampments on public property to remain where they are … Do not cite persons experiencing homelessness for using cars, RVs, and trailers as shelter during community spread of COVID-19.”

It also adds, “It is Code Enforcement’s practice to remove RVs in violation of the California Vehicle Code (occupied or not). Staff would need some time to review each case for reasonings of not being able to remove the RV/vehicle, but prior to the County Health Order Code Enforcement was removing RVs/vehicles on Opportunity St. regardless of occupancy status. Prior to the Sacramento County Health Order, removal would occur if the RV/vehicle is abandoned, inoperative, dismantled, leaking sewage, or creating a hazard.

To help in understanding cases such as RV’s or vehicles on the street, Code Enforcement may cite the vehicle, then return in 72 hours to check on the case to see if the vehicle has been voluntarily moved by the owner. Many times the owner will move the vehicle and therefore they are no longer in violation. However, at times we have seen that the vehicle will be back in the same spot they were before and the cycle of citation starts all over again with a complaint.”

So, why does the public health order prevent the removal of RV or a vehicle if someone is living in them?

Sacramento County follows CDC guidance which allows the homeless to stay in an RV, car, or encampment to maintain public health and safety as the county works to prevent community spread of the coronavirus. The CDC guidance also adds that clearing an encampment can cause people to disperse into the community and sever ties with service providers which increases the potential for infectious disease spread.

Following this fire, Phillip Schamburg is without a home again. He said he and his fiancée had to move out of their apartment and into their RV about a month and a half ago due to the economic struggles of the pandemic.

“You know, work slowed down. Everything just all of sudden just crashed in; just folded,” Schamburg said. “I was just a handyman here and there. You know, and I can’t…they don’t want you in their house and be messing around.”

It’s a fiery topic for people living in this area. Something Phillip and his fiancée Latonya understand.

“If you’re too close to someone’s home, it can be an invasion of their little privacy. You know, sometimes even disturbing the peace,” Latonya Jackson, Phillip’s fiancée, said.

This article courtesy of CBS 13 News Sacramento


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