New City trash crew will focus on collecting garbage left by homeless campers
A new trash collection crew dedicated to cleaning up trash from homeless encampments will be added to the Sacramento Department of Public Works after a City Council vote Tuesday.
The stepped-up disposal effort is part of a $400,000 package of mitigation measures the Council adopted Tuesday to offset the effects of unsheltered homelessness in Sacramento.
Mayor Darrell Steinberg called the mitigation package “very significant.”
“Certainly cleanup and addressing the impact of homelessness is absolutely essential,” he said.
The Mayor added that he would be coming forward soon with “a larger funding strategy and a larger siting strategy” to expand the Triage Shelter concept pioneered by the City on Railroad Avenue in north Sacramento, which has been able to get people off the streets who have been homeless for decades and move them into permanent housing.
“I refuse to continue to preside over modest success, because we’re better than that,” Mayor Steinberg said. “We’ve helped hundreds, and now it’s time to turn it into thousands.”
Council members earlier this month declared a shelter crisis in Sacramento, acknowledging that the City does not have enough shelter beds to accommodate all those sleeping outdoors on any given night.
Some of the mitigation measures approved Tuesday include:
· $150,000 for the remainder of the fiscal year ending June 30 to fund two additional waste workers and pay disposal fees.
· $125,526 to buy a small rear loading garbage truck and pay for fuel
· $32,000 to buy a “gator” truck to clean up human waste
City staff also said they would explore alternative ways to transport homeless people to clinics, shelters and social service programs to lessen the burden on the Police and Fire departments.
The new waste disposal crew is the first to be dedicated specifically to the cleanup of abandoned homeless camps in the City.
One of its duties will be to dispose of trash collected by the Downtown Streets Team, an organization that employs crews of homeless volunteers to clean up streets affected by homeless camping. The Downtown Streets Team currently focuses on the area around the City’s Triage Shelter in north Sacramento, but it will expand to downtown and the River District when the City receives $5.6 million in new state funding under the new state’s new Homeless Emergency Aid Program.
Most of the HEAP funding has been earmarked for expanding the City’s shelter capacity.