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City Council considers forming task force on homelessness | News

On Feb. 23, Elk Grove City Council member Pat Hume asked his colleagues to address the Elk Grove homelessness issue after announcing that last month’s homicide near an Elk Grove bus stop was committed by a homeless suspect.

Elk Grove police have identified the arrested suspect as Aaron Spencer, 31. Hume said Spencer was previously out of a $ 1 million bail after he threatened someone with a knife. He is accused of stabbing a sleeping man on February 20. Hume said the victim was also homeless.

The councilor also mentioned other recent violent crimes that were allegedly also committed by homeless suspects, including the rape and murder of a woman along the American River Parkway in Rancho Córdoba.

“These things are unacceptable to me,” Hume said during the City Council meeting. “We have lost control of our civilized society, and we have shrugged our shoulders because of the decisions made by the courts and legislators not to act. And it is time for it to end.”

He brought up the issue at the end of the City Council online meeting when City Council members were invited to address items that were not on the agenda that night.

Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen suggested forming a working group with Elk Grove police leaders to address the homelessness situation in Elk Grove and assess the city’s needs on this issue. Hume and Deputy Mayor Darren Suen agreed to join the effort. Suen mentioned his experience as a civil engineer in dealing with homelessness problems on Central Valley dikes.

“Obviously, it’s all tragic, but what surprised you and all of us was how it happened right here in Elk Grove, and these things don’t happen here,” he said. “Let’s do what we can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

City Attorney Jonathan Hobbs told City Hall that city staff can bring the item back for a broader discussion on the topic and the resources available at a future council meeting.

Singh-Allen mentioned last week’s effort to count the homeless population of Elk Grove, which was carried out by the regional Point-in-Time project. The count has not been announced, until the time of publication.

Jennifer McCue, an Elk Grove police officer who serves as one of two city homeless communications officers, shared the results of a 2020 count when she spoke at a city council meeting on housing last September. She said there were 317 homeless people counted in Elk Grove in 2020 and it is estimated that between 80 and 100 homeless people live in the city at any given time.

During his speech at the City Council meeting on February 23, Hume expressed the strong need for the city to address crimes committed by homeless people, either by enacting local ordinances or having an intervention approach.

“I’m not suggesting that not being housed is a crime,” he said. “However, there are criminal cases that occur that can be used as an indicator or as an opportunity to force intervention to say,” You are not participating in society, you are not living your best life, we do not want to imprison you. . Here are the services that are available to change the course of your life.

Hume later said that according to comments he heard from first responders and people interacting with homeless people, he said most homeless people suffer from trauma, mental health issues or substance abuse.

“And if we’re not addressing those root causes, then we’re not making an impact,” he said.

Hume is now serving the last year of his term at Elk Grove City Hall District 2 headquarters. He is running for District 5 seat on the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors in this June’s election.

City Council considers forming task force on homelessness | News Source link City Council considers forming task force on homelessness | News

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