A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday in California cites Sacramento’s rampant homeless encampments as a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Two disabled residents of Sacramento are suing both the city and the county for encampments that have taken over public sidewalks, impeding their ability to walk safely, according to The Sacramento Bee. The plaintiffs, 64-year-old Susan Hood and 66-year-old Chester McNabb, are demanding the city clean up the encampments.
Hood, who is legally blind, navigates the city using her guide dog and cane. She told KCRA 3 the encampments have forced her to walk in the streets on multiple occasions.
“I’m afraid of being hit by a car when I have to step into the street,” she told the outlet.
McNabb uses an electric scooter to get around the city.
“Mr. McNabb’s travels on sidewalks are impeded from broken glass, vomit, feces, and all kinds of other debris,” the suit says, according to the Sacramento Bee. “His travel length and time is extended on the sidewalks so as to avoid tent encampment areas he regards as dangerous.”
“In the past several years, the unsheltered population of Sacramento has increased substantially,” the lawsuit says. “Since the onset of the COVID-19 Global Pandemic and the corresponding economic downturn, the number of such persons camping on the streets of the Defendant City, and Defendant County, has exponentially exploded.”
The city already passed a measure in August prohibiting encampments that block entrances and sidewalks without leaving at least four feet of space to walk.
The homeless population in Sacramento County has increased by 67% over the past three years, rising from 5,570 in 2019 to 9,278 in 2022, according to county data. Of the unsheltered population, nearly 58% are themselves disabled.
Sacramento County and city did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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