Thank you to everyone who helped with the push of our local leaders to develop a plan for removing illegal campers from the American River Parkway by March 31, including the Sacramento Coalition to End Homelessness for adopting the timeline. This topic has gained momentum in our discussions with local stakeholders about how this ties into the larger issue of homelessness in Sacramento County and how we can work together to develop solutions. So far the American River Parkway Foundation has received a response from the County of Sacramento, but no plan. And the City of Sacramento has not responded. We’re not done yet. Even though the March 31 deadline has passed, this issue is too important to let go. We will continue to grow the Foundation’s Voice of the Parkway Coalition and rely on its members to support our messaging to local leaders. We are also increasing our work with nontraditional stakeholders along with local businesses and corporations to apply unified pressure on our local leaders. Our message remains that the County of Sacramento and City of Sacramento need to stop blaming each other and work together on this issue. If they don’t, it will only continue to worsen and our communities, businesses and local parks will pay the price.
In January, the American River Parkway Foundation (ARPF) submitted a letter to the County of Sacramento and City of Sacramento demanding they take action to alleviate the amount of illegal camping on the Parkway and provide funding for restoration efforts. Park rangers estimate 2,000 people are spending the night/living along the 23-mile stretch of the Parkway. This is having an impact on the wildlife, the environment, critical infrastructure and visitors by diminishing water quality, increasing fire danger and introducing contaminants. Read the full demand letter here For years, local leaders have developed plans to provide resources and housing for the unhoused throughout the County. With record amounts of funding available, it’s now time for the County and City to work together to implement solutions and get as many of these individuals as possible into housing where they can receive the services they need. Since the submission of the letter, ARPF has been in contact with two Sacramento County Supervisors and four Sacramento City Councilmember as well as a number of organizations and individuals focused on helping the unhoused. Our outreach is continuing with the goal to connect with more of our local leaders and advocates. Media also had an interest in our story. We provided comments to The Sacramento Bee and conducted interviews with CBS 13, ABC10, KFBK, Capital Public Radio and The Carmichael Times explaining why we submitted this letter and what we are hoping to see from our local leaders. You can find links in our social media. Please stay tuned for updates as our efforts continue.