Sacramento, California is often not the first place that comes to mind when someone thinks of moving to the city, or even when coming up with vacation spots. However, there are countless reasons why Sacramento is wonderful. Sacramento is California’s capital, located in the northern half of the state, right in between San Francisco and South Lake Tahoe. Nicknamed “City of Trees”, Sacramento is lush with greenery that lines its streets and especially along the banks of the Sacramento River. The city is surrounded with miles of farmland which provides not only a gorgeous skyline, but also gives fresh produce to its hundreds of restaurants. Between Midtown and Downtown, or “Old Sacramento”, there is also plenty to see and do for the night owls. Not only is Sacramento thriving in present day, but the city is rich with culture and history. Being the hot spot for gold mining and settling in the mid-1800’s, the city has many unique and preserved features that remind its residents and visitors just how important Sacramento was in American history (Sacramento). Sacramento is all the things listed above, but more importantly, it is a home for nearly two million people in the area. Many of them fortunate to have a home of their own, whether in the heart of the city or just outside of it. Of these two million are about 3,500 people that do not have a home of their own (Chabria). These individuals have spent, on average, a year or more living on the streets of Sacramento gathering, at best, some cloth scraps in order to build a makeshift tent (Chabria). Despite all of Sacramento’s great qualities, its drastic changes in climate throughout the seasons are too harsh for this way of living. Unfortunately, homelessness in Sacramento is increasing sharply, and it is going to take more than a few ideas to turn it around. With help from all corners of the community, we can formulate the ultimate solution to get people back on their feet, and prevent future homelessness.  The Sacramento area has a long history of new and more wealthy settlers pushing people off of their land for even more wealth. It began in 1848, when Spanish settlers became the first to explore the area, and were quickly removed from their territory when the Europeans came in search of gold and claimed it as their own (History of Sacramento). Following the Gold Rush, settlers began flooding into the area from all directions, hoping to strike wealth and start their life there (County History). Due to the sudden increase in population, there was a boom in commerce and agriculture (County History). First, railroads were constructed; and when cars were invented, it opened up a world of opportunities in the business of product distribution (County History). Over the years, Sacramento has come a long way and is now serves as a place of business and travel to those who do not already live there.Homelessness has a variety of causes such as poverty, poor health, addiction, relationship breakdowns, and abuse; but with all of the growth involved in Sacramento’s past, the most common cause is from the increase in the cost of living and shortage of housing (The Salvation Army). According to Zillow, a website that allows real-estate agents to track trends in the values of homes, the current average cost of a house in Sacramento is over $300,000. The cost of homes increased by a little over 10% in 2017 and is expected to raise another 6% by this time next year (Zillow). With homes becoming more expensive, they become more difficult to afford.Michael K. Middleton, the Assistant Professor in The Department of Communications at University of Utah, took part in a group of homelessness activists in Sacramento called “SafeGround Sacramento” (Middleton). They exist with the goal of informing the public of the current homelessness situation in Sacramento, and work to try to stop it from becoming worse (Middleton). In his journal, Middleton describes a time when a hidden tent city was discovered and forced out of the area by the cities authorities (Middleton). He writes, “Homeless persons were faced with only two options: abandon their homes or face arrest.” (Middleton). It is true that the root of the homelessness issue is the outrageous cost of living in Sacramento, but the community can take the blame for letting such an issue continue. During an interview with William Duggan, a military veteran who is currently applying to Police Departments, and a current homelessness activist, he explained that, “Homelessness nowadays is treated as a crime.” (Duggan). The homeless are not treated as a part of the community, and Sacramento authorities believe they are improving the situation by moving them elsewhere, which is not the case at all. (Duggan).Homelessness affects the community in more ways than just visually. It is extremely costly for the state. For example, there are several homelessness shelters all over Sacramento, but how much are they actually accomplishing? Most homeless shelters in Sacramento do not accept families, or pets; which causes most homeless people to stay on the streets instead of a shelter in fear of being separated from their loved ones (Homelessness is Expensive). If the homeless individual happens to get in to the shelter, they normally have a limited holding time before they cannot house the individual any longer (Homelessness is Expensive). Most people assume that getting a job will fix all of their problems, but that is not the case. When a person becomes homeless, they lose access to basic necessities like bathrooms and the ability to do their laundry; and most business will not allow their employees to come to work without a proper, clean uniform while also maintaining a well-groomed appearance (Homelessness is Expensive). Homelessness is also extremely costly to taxpayer do to HealthCare. With homelessness comes a much higher risk for disease; with an average of five visits to the emergency room every year costing nearly $19,000 per person, which comes out of the taxpayer’s pocket (Cost of Homelessness). Hypothetically, if the city provided supportive housing for every homeless person, it would decrease HealthCare costs by more than 50% and emergency room costs by over 60% (Cost of Homelessness). As amazing as this sounds, there is little being done to come up with a plan, and put it into action. Several non-profit organizations have tackled the issue of homelessness, but we still seem to be getting nowhere. Earlier this year, California Legislation implemented a plan that called for hiring new park rangers to gather homeless people camped along the American River and “eradicate the campsites” (Smith). This “plan” costs $5 million dollars (Smith). The solution proposed was unsuccessful for a number of reasons. First, Park Rangers and Sheriffs were being paid to issue tickets to the homeless, that they could never pay, to clean up their debris, only to have them set up somewhere else in the city immediately after (Smith). Mayor Darrell Steinberg believes that even though it is a small step, the money could have been put to better use by building a small shelter to house more people rather that just move them around the city (Smith). It was recently discovered that Sacramento has nearly $100 million dollars from The Mental Health Services Act to spend on homelessness (The Editorial Board). Most members of the City Council argue that spending any amounts of money on the homelessness is a waste of money of they are all just going to turn to addiction anyway; however if that were true then shelters would not continue to be completely full on a nightly basis (Smith). To reiterate, in order to put an end to homelessness, the community must come together as a team to end homeless. Much like a group project in school, the outcome is far better when it is not left to one mind. During my interview with William Duggan, we discussed possible small-scale solutions to begin with before commiting to something larger in efforts to prevent overspending city funds. The location we chose was our hometown Folsom, California. With the increase of homelessness in the city of Sacramento, comes an increase in homelessness in neighboring towns like Folsom. The idea is to turn an already government-owned property into a rehabilitation center for the homeless; this way the city isn’t spending too much on a building and is utilizing the resources it already has. For possible buildings to use, we believe that somewhere such as the old firehouse on the corner of Prairie City Rd. and Blue Ravine Rd. would be perfect because it was originally built to house a large group of people. As of this year, the homeless population in Folsom has reached 30 (Homeless Population). Although that can’t compare with the 3,500 that reside in Sacramento, it is a very noticeable increase to Folsom residents. Like I stated before, our plan would require a community effort; this means volunteers and donations. After speaking with Folsom’s City Council, William Duggan was informed that Folsom has a budget of about $11 million to put towards a plan like this one, which is more than enough. However, we would still like to avoid as much spending as possible and run on mostly donations from grocery stores. A study was done in 2014 stating that the average grocery store in The United States throws out approximately 13 billion pounds of perfectly good food simply because it doesn’t look appealing enough to keep on the shelves (Jacobs). Our plan hopes to utilize this food to feed the homeless that are taken into the rehabilitation center. After William’s experience at the Sacramento police departments, we decided that Folsom’s police officers should be seen as someone to be trusted and that would make you feel safe in a time of need (Duggan). Therefore the center would have on-duty police officers at all times, to ensure the safety of the people staying there, and those who are volunteering their time. William’s mother is a nurse, and is in touch with many other nurses who have gladly agreed to volunteer their time at the center, to help with and medical situations (Duggan). In our opinion, the most effective way to get the homeless back on their feet is to provide them with jobs around town, such as clean up, to get them back into a work force, and to begin their assimilation into the general public. As stated before, a large reason homeless cannot get jobs is because of lack of hygiene, but with access to necessary products like shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, and clean clothes; they can begin to rebuild their life. A project like this one would most definitely need to be kept small-scale in the beginning stages, but if we begin to see success in the proposal, we can begin to move the idea into larger cities like Sacramento- or even San Francisco! The bottom line is that the homeless are people and deserve more than a community that doesn’t care. Sacramento, and many other cities will continue to go nowhere until the community joins together. An issue cannot be solved with just money, but needs to be combined with a committed group of people who


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