Taxpayers to foot $400G bill to clean up homeless encampments

City leaders in California's capital city are poised to spend $400,000 to fund cleaning crews tasked with picking up trash at homeless encampments.

In a 6-0 vote on Tuesday, the Sacramento City Council approved the funds to hire employees and trash disposal equipment, including a Gator-style vehicle to clean up human waste, the Sacramento Bee reported.

The employees will dispose of trash collected by the city’s Downtown Street Teams in the downtown and River District, according to a staff report.

“If we’re going to clean up one place, we should clean up everywhere in the city, not just downtown and the River District,” said Councilman Larry Carr, who abstained from the vote after saying he wanted the cleaning crews to pick up trash in all parts of the city. “We put the priorities on these two areas to the detriment of other areas of the city.”

The street team currently collects trash outside the city’s homeless shelter. The team is composed of homeless volunteers or those at risk of becoming homeless.

Two more teams will launch this winter using state funds received by the city, said Emily Halcon, coordinator of the city’s homeless services, but more funding would be needed to expand the program, she said.

“It is not an all-or-nothing approach here,” Mayor Darrell Steinberg said. “It’s not just help the people on the streets, but ignore the impact of homelessness. There are times when enforcement is, in fact, appropriate and certainly cleanup and addressing the impact of homelessness on the neighbors and on the businesses is absolutely essential.”

In San Francisco, leaders created “poop patrols” to clean up human waste as the city grapples with an increasing homeless population.