SACRAMENTO, CA – Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove), released the following statement in response to the death of an unidentified homeless individual in the City of Elk Grove:
“Today is a sad day for the City of Elk Grove and the people of the 9th Assembly District.
According to a tweet by Elk Grove Police, at approximately 2:30pm today, police responded to a call for service regarding a welfare check of a person who was lying under a pile of sleeping bags in the greenbelt area on Bond Road. Officers arrived and determined the homeless person was deceased.
This unfortunate death of one of our homeless citizens comes on the same day that a bill that would have declared that California children and families have a right to safe, decent and affordable housing died in committee.
According to a recent U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 2019 report to Congress, the city and county of Sacramento ranks number one among major cities in the U.S. with 1,132 homeless persons in families with children, of which more than 50 percent are unsheltered.
Last year, the state allocated $1 billion to help address California’s homelessness challenge and again this year, Governor Newsom has proposed another $750 million. While I commend the state for providing funding, the state needs to address the root causes of homelessness. It is critical that funding be allocated towards mental health, substance abuse, and conservatorship for those who are greatly disabled. Since the Great Recession, the state has failed to increase funding for these vital programs that directly help families and children and the causes of homelessness.
We can do better. We must do better. Today’s passing of a homeless individual in Elk Grove is preventable and we as lawmakers should be looking closely at policy proposals, including right to housing bills. Partnering with counties and cities to pass meaningful legislation that protects families that suffer from homelessness is of the utmost importance.
My deepest sympathies, thoughts, and prayers are with the unidentified individual’s friends and family who lost his life today in Elk Grove. I pledge to continue fighting for those who suffer from homelessness in our region. As the Capitol of the great State of California, we must do better.”
Assemblymember Cooper represents the Cities of Sacramento, Elk Grove, Galt, and Lodi.