Homeless union sues Sacramento over threat to clear out Camp Resolution, a self-governing encampment

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Homeless advocates are suing the city of Sacramento in discussions over a self-governing encampment known as Camp Resolution.The release accuses the city of “Breach of Contract, Breach of the Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing, Tortious Interference and for Specific Performance.”In a lawsuit, the Homeless Union will ask the court to issue a preliminary injunction stopping the city from moving forward with closing Camp Resolution.Camp Resolution is a designated area off Colfax Street where dozens of transient vehicles are parked within a gated area.Residents of Camp Resolution marched from the Sacramento County Courthouse to City Hall chanting and letting the city know about their plight.”I am Camp Resolution and they came and made us all kinds of promises,” said Tamitha Myler.Another resident Sharon Jones said “Camp Resolution has given us a jumpstart back into society.”In March, the city of Sacramento sent a letter warning that it would be terminating the lease for operators on the site unless issues on site were addressed.”The City is willing to hold in abeyance the requirement to vacate provided that Safe Ground Sacramento brings the property into compliance with the variance issued by the Water Board on Jan. 13 , 2022, which allows habitation only in vehicles parked on the paved portion of the site,” read a letter from Assistant City Manager Mario Lara.The city said it’s not safe for the 50 residents due to soil contamination.It doesn’t want residents sleeping on the pavement. The city wants them to stay in RV’s and vehicles, not directly on the ground.”They promised us housing. That’s all we need is housing, affordable housing,” said Donald Cooper.”There’s this old saying, ‘You can’t fight City Hall,’ but whoever made that up never heard of Camp Resolution,” said Homeless Union Anthony Prince. Cheers erupted after his comment. Prince said they’re also prepared to fight the US Supreme Court, which is deciding whether or not cities can punish people for sleeping outside, stemming from a Grants Pass, Oregon case.”We care about what happens in the Supreme Court but that’s not going to be the final arbiter of justice,” Prince said. “The arbiter of justice is going to be this right here is the movement of poor and homeless people.”Tim Swanson with the City Manager’s office sent KCRA 3 News a statement:The City has attempted to work with the organizers of Camp Resolution numerous times and has offered them a new safe parking location, including moving them and the trailers to this new site. The City also has been willing to discuss Safe Ground Sacramento’s idea of building affordable housing at the Colfax Street site provided that residents move off of the soil, where they are not permitted to be under the existing variance from the State Water Board and the requirements of the lease agreement. Furthermore, we have tried to have our Department of Community Response work with the residents at the site to get them enrolled in services and help them find alternative living accommodations. Unfortunately, the Sacramento Homeless Union has not been open to the City’s repeated offers to collaborate and find solutions for the campers. The City cannot ignore the campers who consistently refuse to avoid tent camping on contaminated soil. Tent camping on contaminated soil is wrong, and the lessee of the site, Safe Ground Sacramento, the organizers of the site, the Sacramento Homeless Union, and the campers, know it. The City finds the Sacramento Homeless Union’s unwillingness to work together toward meaningful solutions to the issues at Camp Resolution both dispiriting and disappointing, and we will respond to their complaint once it has been received and reviewed. Mark Merin, the executive director of Safe Ground Sacramento, previously told KCRA3 that it is his understanding that the camp cannot be shut down until the occupants are in permanent housing.The agreement between Safe Ground Sacramento and the city mandates that trailers must be off the ground for people living at the site. The land is approved to be a safe-parking site only due to concerns about soil contamination.Merin said it is his understanding that the crux of the current issue is that some of the camp’s residents are camping on unpaved parts of the property.See more coverage of top California stories here | Download our app.

Homeless advocates are suing the city of Sacramento in discussions over a self-governing encampment known as Camp Resolution.

The release accuses the city of “Breach of Contract, Breach of the Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing, Tortious Interference and for Specific Performance.”

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In a lawsuit, the Homeless Union will ask the court to issue a preliminary injunction stopping the city from moving forward with closing Camp Resolution.

Camp Resolution is a designated area off Colfax Street where dozens of transient vehicles are parked within a gated area.

Residents of Camp Resolution marched from the Sacramento County Courthouse to City Hall chanting and letting the city know about their plight.

“I am Camp Resolution and they came and made us all kinds of promises,” said Tamitha Myler.

Another resident Sharon Jones said “Camp Resolution has given us a jumpstart back into society.”

In March, the city of Sacramento sent a letter warning that it would be terminating the lease for operators on the site unless issues on site were addressed.

“The City is willing to hold in abeyance the requirement to vacate provided that Safe Ground Sacramento brings the property into compliance with the variance issued by the Water Board on Jan. 13 , 2022, which allows habitation only in vehicles parked on the paved portion of the site,” read a letter from Assistant City Manager Mario Lara.

The city said it’s not safe for the 50 residents due to soil contamination.

It doesn’t want residents sleeping on the pavement. The city wants them to stay in RV’s and vehicles, not directly on the ground.

“They promised us housing. That’s all we need is housing, affordable housing,” said Donald Cooper.

“There’s this old saying, ‘You can’t fight City Hall,’ but whoever made that up never heard of Camp Resolution,” said Homeless Union Anthony Prince. Cheers erupted after his comment.

Prince said they’re also prepared to fight the US Supreme Court, which is deciding whether or not cities can punish people for sleeping outside, stemming from a Grants Pass, Oregon case.

“We care about what happens in the Supreme Court but that’s not going to be the final arbiter of justice,” Prince said. “The arbiter of justice is going to be this right here is the movement of poor and homeless people.”

Tim Swanson with the City Manager’s office sent KCRA 3 News a statement:

The City has attempted to work with the organizers of Camp Resolution numerous times and has offered them a new safe parking location, including moving them and the trailers to this new site.

The City also has been willing to discuss Safe Ground Sacramento’s idea of building affordable housing at the Colfax Street site provided that residents move off of the soil, where they are not permitted to be under the existing variance from the State Water Board and the requirements of the lease agreement. Furthermore, we have tried to have our Department of Community Response work with the residents at the site to get them enrolled in services and help them find alternative living accommodations.

Unfortunately, the Sacramento Homeless Union has not been open to the City’s repeated offers to collaborate and find solutions for the campers. The City cannot ignore the campers who consistently refuse to avoid tent camping on contaminated soil. Tent camping on contaminated soil is wrong, and the lessee of the site, Safe Ground Sacramento, the organizers of the site, the Sacramento Homeless Union, and the campers, know it.

The City finds the Sacramento Homeless Union’s unwillingness to work together toward meaningful solutions to the issues at Camp Resolution both dispiriting and disappointing, and we will respond to their complaint once it has been received and reviewed.

Mark Merin, the executive director of Safe Ground Sacramento, previously told KCRA3 that it is his understanding that the camp cannot be shut down until the occupants are in permanent housing.

The agreement between Safe Ground Sacramento and the city mandates that trailers must be off the ground for people living at the site. The land is approved to be a safe-parking site only due to concerns about soil contamination.

Merin said it is his understanding that the crux of the current issue is that some of the camp’s residents are camping on unpaved parts of the property.

See more coverage of top California stories here | Download our app.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.

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