The Homeless Are Not the Worst Things That Can Happen

The Homeless Are Not the Worst Things That Can Happen

They seized vacant El Sereno homes at the start of the pandemic. Now, they face eviction.

“I’m ready to take the next step with my life,” said MaryAnn D’Alessandri, 57, an immigrant from Ireland who is facing eviction from her Sacramento-area home at 1,800 El Sereno St. because of fears of the novel coronavirus. “It’s like being locked inside a house. It’s terrifying. I’m not going to take the chance that I get sick.”

Across Sacramento County, more than 100 vacant homes have been seized from residents, including about 20 from the Sacramento area, by sheriff’s deputies and local governments. The seizures are part of the county’s response to a housing crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The homes of many have been empty for several months, some for years. It’s one of the many crises that have been exacerbated during the pandemic. And for those who can’t afford to take time out of work to pay for rent, eviction isn’t necessarily the worst thing that can happen.

“It’s not like we’re trying to move these tenants into hotels or something,” said Sheriff Margaret Mims, a spokeswoman for the Kern County sheriff’s office, which has taken over the eviction process. “It’s just trying to get the property out of the hands of people who can’t maintain it.”

The sheriff’s office has already taken two homes out of the county.

In neighboring Monterey County, officials are taking over eviction proceedings. The homeowners at 1 and 2 Nettleton St. are asking the county to buy their home, but the sheriff’s office isn’t interested in doing that.

On Wednesday, deputies told the homeowners that they would have to pay $2,000 per month to move out their home.

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