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Homeowners In Affluent Neighborhood Report Increase In Homeless Camps Near River

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Homeowners in an affluent part of Sacramento County are concerned by what they say is an alarming increase in the homeless population.

Sacramento's homeless crisis has centered closer to downtown along the American River Parkway for years. Now there are more homeless sightings popping up east of there along the American River in Wilhaggin where owners of expensive homes are sounding the alarm.

The homes are big, the yards are nice, and the properties back right up to a scenic section of the American River. Now people who live in the Wilhaggin community are voicing their concern over the recent increase in homeless encampments along the river trail.

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Jeff Frazier uses the river trail to run and bike. Not far from his usual route there are homeless tents popping up amidst the trees and bushes that line the parkway. Frazier thinks the encampments are creating a safety issue for the community.

Another resident Erik Finnerty has also noticed the change. He says he has concern for his neighborhood and for homeless people who seem to be identifying this area as a new place to hang out.

"The reality is, I don't want homeless camps in my neighborhood, I want my kids to be safe riding bikes, I want to be able to go to the river, and not see tents and garbage, and syringes and all the terrible things you often see with it, but at the same time you have to be compassionate," Finnerty said.

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There is no clear reason why homeless sightings are rising in this neighborhood. One possibility is that the new territory has fewer troubles than congested homeless camps.

A new federal ruling restricts Sacramento County Park Rangers from arresting homeless for camping. Residents can report problems in the area using the Sacramento County 311 App.

A Sacramento County spokesperson said they have not seen a trend in increased homeless in Wilhaggin based on those 311 calls.

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