Homelessness is an Environmental Issue

The Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) has adopted the following policy to guide its response to the issues of environmental protection and homeless shelter.

ECOS is a broad coalition of members and community organizations committed to achieve regional and community sustainability and a healthy environment for existing and future residents. We include both environmental protection groups and affordable housing advocates. By working proactively with our members, member organizations, local government, and community groups, ECOS strives to develop thriving communities.

At present, the level and persistence of homelessness has emerged as the greatest unmitigated current challenge to the mission of our Habitat Conservation committee, Habitat 2020. Human suffering, public health and sanitation risks, and environmental degradation have become intolerable.

1. We will support the actions of our member groups to address the various elements of this challenge including actions to protect and restore creek and river environments, keep parks clean and safe from habitat destruction and available for public recreation, provide shelter, public sanitation and clean water to those in need, and long-term actions to increase affordable housing stock and ensure sustainability of adequate housing for all.

2. We ask all local governments in the region make a concerted effort to achieve compliance with local regulations meant to protect habitat such as in the American River Parkway, our creeks and in similar locations, and to comply with state and federal laws and regulations protecting our environment. We need to protect our environment and commit significant resources to improve local housing and human services policies.

3. We ask that all local governments in the region provide enough safe and legal locations for our region’s people living without shelter to rest, places with public safety services, public restrooms, clean water and refuse disposal.

4. Bold measures and unprecedented regional cooperation are required to pull our communities out of a shelter crisis that threatens the health of our environment, public safety and local sustainability.

Resolved by the Board of the Environmental Council of Sacramento

Adopted by Habitat 2020, January 9, 2018
Adopted by ECOS executive committee, January 17, 2018
Adopted ECOS Board of Directors, January 23, 2018