Homeless protesters end occupation at Sacramento City Hall (for now)

After more than 90 days in front of City Hall, the Sacramento Right to Rest occupation is over. For now, at least.

“We moved to the Capitol on Friday to support S.B. 876,” texted James “Faygo” Clark, one of the protest’s main organizers, this Monday. The Senate bill is also known as the Homeless Bill of Rights, legislation that would disallow cities to ban homeless people from resting or sleeping in public spaces.

Faygo said that even though the Right to Rest movement has left City Hall, he doesn’t want council members to think they’ve quit. “I am kind of concerned that they’ll think that we just left because we were defeated,” he explained via telephone this morning. “I’m worried that they might assume that.

“But it’s not true.”

He called the move to the Capitol “more of an escalation than a de-escalation,” because now they have to deal with California Highway Patrol officers in addition to city police. They also have to acquire a permit, which is free, for each day’s protest.

Faygo also vowed to return the protest to City Hall next month.

S.B. 876, which was introduced last year and was authored by Southern California Democrat Carol Liu, awaits a possible committee vote sometime this spring. If it makes it out of committee, it would still need to pass both houses and receive the governor’s signature.

At City Hall, a subcommittee of three council members is exploring solutions for how to deal with this growing homeless population. They visited a “tent city” in Seattle last month, held a public meeting on February 29 and plan to make recommendations to the full council in April.

None of the three council members on the subcommittee, however, responded to an SN&R email asking to discuss the possibility of a repeal or modification of the anti-camping ordinance, or, for instance, whether they were looking at policy in Los Angeles or Portland.

Last month, the city of Portland passed a new law that allows sleeping bags and tarps on sidewalks between the hours of 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. The city also now allows tents on some public property, too. Los Angeles has a similar law in place.

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