Sacramento County District Attorney Thien Ho has initiated a lawsuit against the city of Sacramento, asserting that the city’s handling of its growing homeless population mirrors conditions seen in underdeveloped nations.
In a recent press briefing, DA Ho highlighted that the city’s homeless count has surged by over 250% in the past seven years, surpassing even San Francisco’s numbers. He expressed concern over the deteriorating conditions, stating, “Our community is on the brink. We’re witnessing living conditions reminiscent of impoverished nations.”
Ho emphasized the community’s frustration, questioning the city’s repetitive and ineffective approach to the issue. He cited concerns about the increasing homeless encampments around the courthouse, which have reportedly impeded the community’s access to justice. Incidents of aggression, public indecency, and disturbances have become commonplace, posing risks to those attending court proceedings.
Mayor Darrell Steinberg had previously promised measures to address the situation, including the establishment of “Miller Park Safe Camping.” However, according to the lawsuit, conditions have only declined further since then, with reports of assaults and harassment linked to the homeless population.
A survey conducted by Ho’s office in July revealed distressing feedback from the community. Residents shared experiences of violent encounters, disruptions to daily life, and a perceived lack of support from city officials. The lawsuit also points out the city’s apparent reluctance to enforce existing regulations related to homeless encampments.
Ho expressed deep concern over the safety and well-being of the homeless, noting high rates of sexual assault among chronically homeless women and prevalent mental health and addiction issues within the community. He also raised questions about the city’s allocation of funds intended for homelessness programs, suggesting a lack of transparency and effectiveness.
In August, Ho had issued an ultimatum to city officials, demanding the introduction of specific measures to address the crisis. Among his proposals was a daytime camping restriction.
Reacting to the lawsuit, City Attorney Susana Alcala Wood criticized Ho’s approach, suggesting that collaboration, rather than litigation, was the need of the hour. Mayor Steinberg echoed this sentiment, defending the city’s efforts to manage the crisis and urging regional leaders to work together constructively.