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Sacramento’s Tent City

Blocks from downtown Sacramento, on top of a toxic waste dump saddled by the American river on one side, train tracks on another and an endless grid of power lines above, live hundreds of homeless people under tarps, tents and plastic-walled makeshift “homes.” After over a year of squatting here virtually unnoticed, these folks inadvertently captured the attention of the media and, to a larger extent, Sacramento’s government officials.

Several public debates, meetings and forums led to the city declaring plans to shut tent city down and allocate more money towards shelters and possible long-term housing. Many of these squatters, however, do not want to go. Tent city has become their home and community, where they can live without the strict rules of a shelter such as curfews, gender divided dorms and no pets. Before the full dismantlement of tent city I spent several days documenting the lives of these people who, although on the margins of society, had found a place they wanted to stay.

Several of these photos were published in the May 2009 issue of Real Eyes Magazine.

All photographs © Dara Kerr

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