Sacramento D.A. Sues City Over Homeless Encampments

Sacramento County District Attorney Thien Ho has filed a lawsuit against the City of Sacramento over its handling of homelessness.

The D.A. says city leaders have allowed homeless encampments to erode quality of life in California’s capital city. According to Ho, the failure to consistently enforce local ordinances has caused the city to devolve into “chaos.” He claims the safety of residents – both housed and unhoused – along with businesses have been placed at risk.

The city “allowed, created and enabled a public safety crisis regarding our unhoused,” Ho said at a news conference Tuesday. Business owners and community leaders, including former City Councilmember Jeff Harris, spoke out in support of Ho. Harris believes the lawsuit is needed to create a better “balance” between compassion and enforcement.

In an interview with KCRA, Ho was asked whether he believes police have been explicitly directed not to enforce the law when it comes to homeless encampments. Ho said his suit will uncover the answer to that question. He plans to obtain emails, memos and testimony under oath from government officials.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg issued the following statement regarding the lawsuit:

No local government in the Sacramento region has done more to address the crisis on our streets: 1,200 new emergency beds, ordinances to protect sidewalks, schools and other sensitive sites; a legally binding partnership with the county; thousands of new affordable housing units-to name a few.

The frustration that members of our community feel is absolutely justified. The Council has endorsed and is pressing for strong enforcement of our codes and the law. But the DA’s lawsuit will not clear a single sidewalk nor get a single person off the streets.

We are working day and night to enforce our laws and provide relief to our community while avoiding the futile trap of just moving people endlessly from one block to the next.

Frankly, we have no time for the District Attorney’s performative distraction from the hard work we all need to do together to solve this complex social problem plaguing urban centers throughout the state and nation.

The city needs real partnership from the region’s leaders, not politics and lawsuits.

Let’s just do the work.

Sacramento saw a 68% increase in its homeless population between 2020 and 2022. There are around 6,000 people experiencing homelessness on any given night in the city.

Read the lawsuit here