Responding to homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sacramento Police Dept. Impact Team personnel will evaluate each situation based on current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

On public property, camps will not be posted and moved unless emergent circumstances exist. Every attempt should be made to align any complaints with the responsible entity. During the pandemic, all officers will continue to educate unsheltered community members about current CDC guidelines (e.g., staying 6 feet apart, washing hands) as well as work with other entities to connect them to services.

Please note the following for further direction on how to handle specific situations:

HOW TO DIRECT CITIZENS WHO ARE REPORTING HOMELESS CONCERNS

  • Call 3-1-1 – Homeless camps or litter pick-up associated with a prior camp

  • Call 2-1-1 - Individuals who are requesting access to services (e.g., housing, food) including COVID-19 related resources

  • Sacramento Steps Forward (916) 577-9770 Top of Form - Outreach, services, and support for those experiencing homelessness including medical assessment, shelter and food access. Additional information and resources can be found here.

  • Contact Emily Halcon, Homeless Services Director at 916-808-7896 or EHalcon@cityofsacramento.org

  • Contact the non-Emergency line at 916-808-5471 for disturbances, blocking sidewalk or roadways, drug use or other non-emergency concerns

  • Call 911 for crimes in progress or other emergency situations where safety is jeopardized

Private Property

Owners or managers calling about their property should utilize the non-emergency phone number (916) 808-5471 to report their complaint. If dispatch criteria are met, operations personnel should complete a “Notice of Trespass” at the request of the owner or manager. The private property owner will be responsible for any trash left behind.

Neighbors calling about camping on the property of another should be referred to 311 for the Impact Team to manage. After prioritizing, the Impact Team should make efforts to get the owner or property manager to manage their own property.

  • We have found that many private property issues can be resolved by utilizing Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). If private property owners are interested in this assessment, please email Bridgette Dean at bdean@pd.cityofsacramento.org and we will facilitate the process.
  • Please consider reaching out the area business associations (e.g., Del Paso Blvd Partnership) who may have security and cleaning personnel.

Alleys, Streets, and Paved Sidewalks

Complaints of camping on alleys, streets, and paved sidewalks should be viewed with public safety in mind. During the COVID-19 crisis, CDC guidelines will be considered.

  • Please consider reaching out the area business associations (e.g., Del Paso Blvd Partnership) who may have security and cleaning personnel.

Vehicles

Issues related to vehicles (e.g., individuals living inside, abandoned) should be reported to 311.

Criminal Activity

Sacramento Police Department personnel will respond to crimes in progress per our policy.

  • Non-Emergency line (916) 808-5471 – Disturbances, blocking sidewalk or roadways, drug use or other non-emergency concerns
  • 911 – Crimes in progress or other emergency situations where safety is jeopardized

City Parks, Parkland, Bike Trails, Community Centers, City-owned Golf Courses

These should be referred to 311 to be addressed by Park Rangers. Park Rangers also have access to their own clean-up crews.

County Parks

These areas have special rules. Complaints of camping on these areas should be referred to the Sacramento County Park Rangers. County Park Ranger dispatch is (916) 875-PARK (7275).

Caltrans Property

This is usually property adjacent to the freeways, not including the streets and sidewalks that run over or below the freeway. Caltrans has their own clean-up crews. Complaints should be referred to Caltrans.

*Caltrans has temporarily suspended clean-ups pending the course of COVID-19.

Sacramento Police Department personnel will respond to crimes in progress per our policy.

Railroads

In Sacramento, land which contains railroad track is typically owned or managed by Union Pacific. This should be treated like private property. Union Pacific has their own Police Department and their own clean-up crews. Complaints should be referred to Union Pacific Railroad Police at (888) 877-7267.

Vacant City Lots

Reports of camps on vacant city-owned lots should be referred to 311 for the Impact Team to address.

Regional Transit Property

Regional Transit has their own Police Department and clean-up crews. Complaints on Regional Transit property should be referred to (916) 556-0275.

Fires

Some fires may be deemed safe if they are utilized for heating and cooking. The Sacramento Fire Department is best qualified to determine the safety of such fires. Complaints about fires or fire hazards should be referred to the Sacramento Fire Department. For non-emergency purposes they can be contacted at (916) 228-3035.

Critical Infrastructure

The maintenance of some public property is critical to the infrastructure of the city.  At the request of infrastructure experts, the Impact Team can assist in clearing areas of people and camps for such maintenance to occur. This will be as a last resort and will not occur until a concerted effort is made by the responsible entity. Some common examples include:

  • Levee inspection and maintenance
  • Routes to and from the location
  • The mowing of grass to prevent fires
  • The trimming of trees to prevent limbs from falling on people or property

Trash

Obvious trash on public property can be referred to 311 for additional action.

Excess Property

Before any action is taken, Impact Team personnel will work with the social service community to abate. Storage of excess property in violation of the City Code (12.52.040 SCC) will be evaluated by the Impact Team as deemed necessary. Complaints should be referred to 311.