(USNewsMag.com) – Sacramento California is being sued on the behalf of two disabled residents for allowing homeless encampments to block city sidewalks.
Susan Hood and Chester McNabb have filed a federal lawsuit alleging the city has violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by allowing homeless encampments on city sidewalks. The lawsuit claims that by impeding the ability of disabled residents to safely traverse public walkways, their rights are being violated. The suit demands that the city clean up the rampant encampments and that moving forward, a buffer zone of 10 feet for residents to safely navigate the city streets is required.
Susan Hood is a blind 64-year-old resident of Sacramento. She says that the tents and other temporary shelters set up by the homeless have forced her to walk in the street and put her at risk of being hit by a car.
Chester McNabb, 66, relies on an electric scooter. He is unable to navigate the city streets safely due to the encampments. According to the Sacramento Bee, McNabb’s movement is hindered by vomit, feces, broken glass, and other types of debris.
According to county data, the homeless population in Sacramento has risen by 67 percent since the start of the pandemic in 2020. The county data available cites over 9,200 homeless residents. Well over half of the “unsheltered” population is disabled in some way.
In August, the city passed a measure which prohibited encampments that blocked sidewalks or entrances. According to the new law, any encampment must leave at least four feet of space for people to walk safely. The lawsuit indicates that this measure is not being enforced.
The county website claims that it has increased funding and resources for “unhoused residents,” with $28 million allocated to addressing the issue since 2007. Despite the attempts to offer services and assistance to the homeless community, the problem has grown exponentially due to pandemic lockdowns and economic hardship. According to the local ABC affiliate news station, the homeless population has increased by 20% since 2017.
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