Officials: Sonoma County Closed Joe Rodota Trail to Prevent Another Homeless Encampment
By Tyler Silvy, Press Democrat, June 29, 2020
As city leaders planned sweeps of homeless encampments beneath Highway 101 in downtown Santa Rosa, Sonoma County officials tailored the county’s maintenance timeline for work on portions of the Joe Rodota Trail to ensure its closure amid the evictions. [Read]
Affordable Senior Apartments in Cloverdale and Petaluma Project-based Voucher Waitlist now open.
The Sonoma County Housing Authority will accept applications from June 26 – July 31, 2020 for new Project-Based Voucher Waitlists tied to studio and 1 bedroom units at Kings Valley Senior Apartments in Cloverdale, and Lindberg Senior Apartments in Petaluma. Studio unit waitlists are for households consisting of one to two persons. One bedroom waitlists are for households consisting of one to four persons.
Those interested in applying to the Kings Valley Senior Apartments studio or one bedroom Project-Based Voucher Waitlist and/or the Lindberg Senior Apartments Waitlist, MUST submit an application during this application period. A separate application is required for each waitlist.
The Housing Authority will conduct a random lottery to determine applicants’ placement on each waitlist. The one-bedroom waitlists will be limited to 200 applicants each and the studio waitlist will be limited to 100 applicants.
Applications may be completed online at www.waitlistcheck.com/CA085. If you require a paper application, please contact the Housing Authority office by calling (707) 565-7501.
Applications are due Friday, July 31, 2020, by 5 p.m. if submitted in person at the Housing Authority’s offices, or by 11:59 p.m. if submitted online.
Pandemic-Emptied Hotels Could Become Affordable Housing, City Officials Suggest
By Yoav Gonen, The City, June 25, 2020
City officials are looking to capitalize on a distressed tourism industry by converting commercial hotels into affordable housing — including creating single room occupancy units known as SROs. [Read]
Santa Rosa Begins Clearing Homeless Camps Under Highway 101
By Chantelle Lee and Lori Carter, Press Democrat, June 24, 2020
Santa Rosa authorities Wednesday began rousting about 90 homeless people living in several large encampments that cropped up at Highway 101 underpasses in the city over the past several months.
City officials ordered people to leave from underpasses stretching from Third Street to College Avenue. Signs blocked off roads to traffic, and boxes filled with personal belongings lined sidewalks as residents packed up and left. [Read]
Sacramento Civil Rights Lawyer Creates Self-governing, Safe Spaces for Homeless
By Andie Judson, ABC10, June 23, 2020
Mark Merin has made a career out of representing working and lower class clients, including the homeless. Even using his own home and properties to help house them. [Read and Watch Video]
Converting a Garage into ADU for Homeless
The Living Room, a shelter for women and their families in Santa Rosa, recently converted a garage into a studio apartment for the homeless. The garage was part of the house purchased by The Living Room (TLR) in April 2019 with money lent by a group of investors, and are currently housing several previously unsheltered women and families. The converted studio apartment is about 390 sq.ft. The project costs of less than $80,000 was covered with money from grant, and individual donations, donated materials, and pro-bono service for the engineering service. The unit will be ready for occupancy by early July. See a video of the unit here.
Help Shape the Future of Santa Rosa!
The City of Santa Rosa is asking for the community to help shape the future of Santa Rosa. The recent fires, housing crisis, electrical grid blackouts, and calls for social justice and equality provide a backdrop for an immensely important discussion on how the City will grow and “bounce forward” to become an even more sustainable, resilient, healthy, and inclusive community. The City is updating its General Plan to tackle these and many other issues that are important to the community.
The Community Involvement Strategy is available on the City’s Santa Rosa General Plan Updatewebpage. Comments received no later than July 24th will be presented with the Community Involvement Strategy to the City Council in August. Send your comments and suggestions to GPComment@srcity.org. Join us at one of the following on-line Community Conversations meetings to learn more about the Community Involvement Strategy and the General Plan Update.
- Thursday, July 2, 3 pm
- Thursday, July 16, 3 pm
- Saturday, July 18, 10 am
A Place For the Homeless
Letter to the Editor by P.W. Hughes in the Press Democrat, June 25, 2020
EDITOR: Our elected oﬃcials have decided to not solve the homeless issue, so get ready for encampments to spread across our community.
The law says if you don’t have a place for people to go they can go anywhere. The only county-owned place that could accommodate the growing number of people is the property on Chanate Road. The area has all the utilities needed for hundreds of people. It is on a bus line and mental health is across the street. It is ideal for a homeless services center. [Read – scroll down for the letter]
Santa Rosa groups help homeless register for $1,200 government stimulus checks
By Austin Murphy, Press Democrat, June 19, 2020
In oppressive Thursday afternoon heat and with little fanfare, they broke through the $100,000 barrier.
Under a pair of tents pitched on Challenger Way in west Santa Rosa, a cadre of do-gooders helped vulnerable people overcome the small challenges preventing them from collecting a large windfall from Uncle Sam. [Read]
Video – Prioritizing ESG-CV Resources
Marc Dones (National Innovation Service) and Nan Roman (National Alliance to End Homelessness) discuss how to best use ESG-CV funds in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 6:09 mins, posted on June 23, 2020 [View]
How Singing in a Choir Helped Homeless People in San Diego Find Their Voice
by Carla Green, HuffPost, March 1, 2019
In 2016, Steph Johnson started a choir for people experiencing homelessness. Today, the Voices of Our City Choir has swelled to 225 members and helped over 60 of its members get off the street and into housing. [Read] …Then in May 2020, they auditioned for America’s Got Talent and received the Golden Buzzer!
OTHER NEWS & EVENTS
by artist Susan Cornelis on her blog – Conversations With the Muse, and Life Shared in Sketches, June 2020
Victoria is a member of Homeless Action! and a board member of SAVS Sonoma Villages.
Susan wrote: “Victoria is one of the first ladies I met a year and a half ago at The Living Room. She was in the knitting group and later I would see her in the art groups. One day she told me about her connection with Homeless Action, a group of grassroots activists in Sonoma County working towards ending the suffering of people who do not have a home.” [Read]
Liz Theoharis: Organizing the Rich or the Poor?
Which America Will Be Ours After the Pandemic?
Posted by Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism, June 5, 2020
“We look to the rich for answers to the very problems they are often responsible for creating and from which they benefit. The wreckage of this pandemic moment is a bitter reminder of this affliction, as well as a signpost suggesting how we must emerge from this crisis a just and more equitable nation. With a possible depression ahead and more social unrest on the rise, isn’t it time to stop vindicating the wealthiest people in this country and look instead to leadership from those who were living in a depression before Covid-19 even hit and already organizing and protesting?” [Read]
CANCELLED Webinar: Effective Diversion: A Key Strategy for Ending Homelessness
This webinar originally scheduled for July 1 at 12 pm has been CANCELLED and will be rescheduled. The new date is yet to be determined, but the organizer will notify registrants of the new date as soon as it is scheduled. Any further questions, please contact email@example.com (National Alliance to End Homelessness).
For more details of the webinar, check our Event page.
By the Numbers – Housing in Sonoma County
Posted by Generation Housing, June 1, 2020
This is a series of charts showing housing data in Sonoma County, including median home prices, median rents, job growth to housing production, severely crowded renter households, building permits, homeownership, housing production, funding, etc.
Generation Housing (Gen H) has an inspiring new vision of housing and quality of life in Sonoma County, advocating for and supporting the action to build the housing our community needs to thrive. [Read]
Close to Home: Privilege and Inequity in the Time of COVID
Written by James Gore, Sonoma County Board of Supervisors
Press Democrat, May 31, 2020
200 Homeless Minneapolis Residents Turned a Hotel Into a Communal Sanctuary
Lauren Kaori Gurley, Vice, June 3, 2020
The Sheraton, just blocks from where police killed George Floyd, is being managed as a commune, run by the residents and without leaders. [Read]
Statement on Structural Racism and Racial Inequity
Posted by National Alliance to End Homelessness, June 2, 2020
The National Alliance to End Homelessness stands in solidarity with all parties fighting to end pervasive structural racism in the United States. The recent killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and Breonna Taylor reinforce a terrible legacy of systematic racism, racial injustice, and senseless violence inflicted against African Americans. It is time now that we all stand up in opposition to such oppression. [Read]
Update on Current Homeless Services Efforts in Santa Rosa
Posted by City of Santa Rosa, May 29, 2020
During this public health emergency, the City of Santa Rosa has been working on several fronts to assist individuals experiencing homelessness, so as to protect this vulnerable population and the community at large from greater spread of COVID-19.
* Addressing Homelessness During the Public Health Emergency
* Actions to Resolve Encampments I Parks and the Pubic Right of Way
* Ensuring Those in Encampments Are Offered Available Services and Shelter
* The Longer Term Plan
Guerneville Town Hall Meeting: Homeless Navigation Site
Wednesday, June 17, 2020, 5:30 pm
Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins will be holding a zoom Town Hall on Wednesday the 17th at 5:30 to talk about some options for the homeless people in Guerneville during COVID 19.
The County has been working to provide alternate care sites for COVID-19 and housing navigation. There is significant concern around providing social distancing, better healthcare access, and transition to housing. In Santa Rosa the County has set up a temporary site at SSU, Santa Rosa has Finley and Oakmont has Los Guilicos. The County of Sonoma CDC and Fifth District are partnering with West County Health, West County Community Service, and Regional Parks to address a temporary alternative care site in the Lower Russian River.
This alternative care site will offer people without homes some modicum of protection through organized spacing and administration, and it will also empower the Sheriff to enforce homeless issues in downtown Guerneville. As you know, law enforcement is unable to move encampments without an alternate option provided Once an alternative care site it set up in West County, the Sheriff will be able to move encampments off of Main Street and downtown, as well as help, control the possible spread of COVID 19. Regardless of the site chosen, this will be temporary and disbanded when the Winter Shelter re-opens this winter.
Notes on Guerneville Town Hall Virtual Meeting on June 17, 2020
Recorded by Grace Cheung-Schulman
- Leo Chyi – Sonoma County Fifth District
- Dr. Jason Cunningham – Doctor with West County Health Services (WCHS)
- Lynda Hopkins – Sonoma County Supervisor Fifth District
- Elise VanDyne – Field Rep for Lynda Hopkins
- Cyndi Foreman – Sonoma County Fire District
- Tim Miller – West County Community Service (WCCS)
- Bert Whitaker – Sonoma County Regional Parks Director
Tim Miller –
- Sonoma County will be setting up a temporary Tent Encampment for 25 people starting July 1 until December 1, 2020, borrowing from example from Finley Center Tent Encampment in Santa Rosa.
- The Camp will be in Guerneville River Park across the pedestrian bridge from downtown Guerneville.
- This location is chosen because it is easy to isolate. Available sewage, size, location are all suitable.There will be fences around the Camp.
- The “standing tents” will be spaced 12 feet apart. (An improvement over the Finley Center short tents).
- This is intended to act as a stable location to enable navigation center services where the homeless will be provided services, screened, and the high risk cases will be transferred to the SSU shelter.
- There will be 24/7 management with “harm reduction” model working with AA and other drug treatment services.
- No drugs will be allowed in the Camp.
- The goal is to keep people in the Camp. Will provide food and water, and the bathroom is already available in the Park.
- Both COVID-19 and fire risk are the two major concerns for this decision.
- Those invited to the Camp includes those currently in homeless shelter in Guerneville (which will be closed), the homeless currently on the street in Guerneville, and those recommended by the Health Center due to health condition, totaling about 25 people.
- That’s the plan, but can’t coerce people to go.
- WCCS has strong partnership with SAY, and will refer homeless youth to SAY.
- WCCS moved 82 people into housing last year.
- The Camp can accommodate 25 people, but will work to rotate them out.
- Those moving into the Camp can bring their belongings with them. (But not clear what will happen to their things when they move into the winter shelter after December 1st).
- There is a budget for Clean River Alliance to provide trash service
- It costs $60,000 per month running cost for fencing, monitoring ins and outs, lighting for 5 months. Probably also add cost of tents.
Bert Whitaker –
- There are already homeless people living in the Park.
- The park is ready to provide site for temporary shelter.
- The last PIT census counted 250 in the West County unincorporated area not including Sebastopol. (So this only takes in 10% of the homeless in this area).
Dr Cunningham –
- The encampment will be for people over 65 with underlying health conditions and currently homeless.
- WCHS will provide “street medicine” like temperature checks. This takes a lot of manpower. So an encampment with a navigation center will provide focused services. Also positive cases of COVID-19 will be transported to SSU shelter.
- The objective is to stabilize the homeless in the camp, not to draw in more homeless into the area.
- Also help them find permanent housing.
- They are trying to do things WITH people, not TO people.
- He is concerned with lack of social distancing in current homeless group situations.
- Some of the homeless are already his patient, and will continue to be treated.
- Fire risk is real and there will be rules to mitigate fire risk.
Cyndi Foreman –
- This arrangement would be in the best interest of the fire fighters and the residents of Guerneville.
- The Camp would have management so as not to draw down on emergency fire services.
- Propane tanks would not be allowed in the camp. Also should be diligent with materials brought into the site.
- Smoking is a concern.
Lynda Hopkins –
- Finley and Los Guilicos has been successful in moving people into permanent housing, undertake detox, etc.
- The plan is to have an encampment in each of the Sonoma County Districts.
Emergency Food & Shelter Program (EFSP) – Funding Application Open!
DEADLINE – JUNE 5 – To supplement emergency food and shelter programs here in the North Bay, the National EFSP Board has chosen Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino Counties to receive funding from the U. S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). [Read]
To Reach The Homeless, An Alabama Church Brings ‘The Steeple To The Streets’
David Greene and Danny Hayek, NPR Radio, June 1, 2020
In Montgomery, Ala., just down the road from where Martin Luther King Jr. once preached, a noisy trailer sits in a tiny church parking lot.
The trailer is like a mini-laundromat, equipped with three washers and dryers and two shower stalls. Every week, it serves a homeless congregation at River City Church — even through a pandemic. [Read]
Supreme Court Rules on Redaction Costs
In National Lawyers Guild, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter v. City of Hayward, the Supreme Court today holds that a requester under the Public Records Act need not pay costs associated with redacting protected materials from an electronic record before the record is disclosed.
The City of Hayward charged over $3,000 for 40 hours its employees had spent editing digital police body camera footage. The recordings were made during 2014 protests of grand jury decisions not to indict police officers involved in the killings of unarmed African-Americans Eric Garner and Michael Brown. The court’s decision comes as protests continue over the killing of another unarmed African-American, George Floyd, in Minneapolis. [Read more] [Legal document]
A Window onto an American Nightmare
Nathan Heller, The New Yorker, May 25, 2020
As the homelessness crisis and the coronavirus crisis converge, what can we learn from one city’s struggles? (Long article, but extremely detailed and well-written). [Read more]
City-sponsored homeless camp at Finley Community Center draws dozens of residents
Will Schmitt, Press Democrat, May 25, 2020
One week after Santa Rosa opened its first sanctioned homeless camp, dozens of people have moved from outdoor encampments to a parking lot near the Finley Community Center, where the vast majority of new residents of the temporary shelter site have stuck around with few problems, officials said. [Read more]
2020 Consolidated Plan and One Year Action Plan Now Available for Public comment
By Sonoma County Community Development Commission, May 1, 2020
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), requires jurisdictions receiving federal funds from Community Development Block Grant, HOME Investment Partnerships, and Federal Emergency Solutions Grant programs to develop and submit a Five-Year Consolidated Plan. The plan identifies the needs of lower-income persons in the locality and the proposed actions to be taken to serve those needs. [Read more]
Download Draft 2020 Consolidated Plan and One Year Action Plan (PDF: 2 MB)
Safe Social Distancing Program at Finley Parking Lot
Posted by City of Santa Rosa, updated May 20, 2020
The City of Santa Rosa is establishing a Safe Social Distancing area, in the City-owned parking lot at Finley Community Center, for temporary use by vulnerable unsheltered individuals amid the coronavirus pandemic. To help answer questions about the program, the following FAQs have been developed and will continue to be updated as we receive additional questions from the community. [Read more]
* General Questions about the Program
* Site & Program Operations
* Public Safety
* Homelessness Amid Coronavirus
PD Editorial: Santa Rosa needs to include public in homeless plans
Press Democrat Editorial Board, May 24, 2020
Santa Rosa officials cut more than a few corners as they established the city’s first sanctioned homeless camp, which opened this past week at the Finley Community Center.
There wasn’t a City Council vote or a public hearing.
The City didn’t even notify Dr. Sundari Mase, the county’s public health officer, who has largely determined what can stay open and what must remain closed during the coronavirus pandemic. [Read more]
Innovations in Affordable Housing Virtual Summit 2020 – August 11-12, 2020
Invitation to register posted by PopHLC (Population Health Learning Collaborative), May 8, 2020. [Watch video introduction] [Register here]
A sample of talk categories that may be of interest to homeless advocates like you:
- Innovative Small Residences (Tiny Homes and ADUs)
- Helping the Individual Who Need Housing
- Reducing the Construction Cost of Housing
- Zoning, Coding, and other Local Policies
- Innovations in Home Sharing, Ownership, and Rental Models
- Providing Housing for the Unhoused and High-Risk Groups
Safe Social Distancing Program for Unsheltered Individuals
Posted by City of Santa Rosa, May 6, 2020
The City of Santa Rosa is preparing to open a City-owned parking lot for temporary use to provide safer social-distancing space for unsheltered individuals amid the coronavirus pandemic. A section of the parking lot at Finley Community Center located at 2060 W. College Ave, will serve as the managed site and will include up to 70 tents, with each tent accommodating an individual or couple. The 24,600 square foot parking lot space to be utilized is located between the Person Senior Wing building and the Finley tennis courts. [Read more]
COVID-19 Webinar Recording Now Available May 12, 2020
Webinar presented by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness: Operating Isolation and Quarantine Facilities and Providing Medical, Behavioral Health, and Substance Use Treatment: Lessons Learned from King County. [Read more]
New Resource: The COVID-19 Online Learning Series Starts May 11, 2020
National Alliance to End Homelessness and National Health Care for the Homeless Council have developed the COVID-19 Online Learning Series.This online course curriculum is designed to provide training and materials to aid in community responses to COVID-19 among people experiencing homelessness, and can support broader CoC homeless response.
The COVID-19 Online Learning Series courses are available free of charge for the first 2,500 users, courtesy of the Kaiser Permanente National Community Benefit Fund at the East Bay Community Foundation. Once 2,500 spaces have been filled, these courses will remain available at a fee. [Read more]
Homeless System Response: Changes to Coordinated Entry
Prioritization to Support and Respond to COVID-19 – May 7, 2020
As Continuums of Care (CoCs) across the country respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, many are asking about the role of Coordinated Entry (CE) in their response efforts. HUD strongly encourages CoCs to contact local public health departments, Healthcare for the Homeless agencies, and other local health partners to ensure the unique needs and opportunities related to the homeless service system are incorporated. CoCs can take steps now to implement community changes to further protect and prioritize families and individuals experiencing homelessness. Coordinated Entry remains a requirement for CoC and ESG projects and can be used to meet urgent housing needs associated with COVID-19 risk factors. [Read more]
- Changes to Coordinated Entry Prioritization to support and respond to COVID-19
- What populations need to be prioritized for permanent housing due to COVID-19?
Housing Now! 2020 Podcast launched – March 2, 2020
In this inaugural episode, Paul Boden from the Western Regional Advocacy Project and Savina Martin from the Committee to Reestablish the National Union of the Homeless described the ground work of ending homelessness in the experience of those most impacted. With their powerful advocacy voices, Paul and Savina challenge us to understand the structural causes of homelessness and the importance of elevating the voice of those with lived experience. [Listen]
Outsiders – A Podcast by KNKX and the Seattle Times’ Project Homeless
Homelessness on the West Coast is rising to crisis levels at a time of historic economic growth and prosperity. Why?
KNKX Public Radio and The Seattle Times’ Project Homeless spent one year in a city that’s grappling with homelessness. What’s it like to live outside for months on end? What’s it like when tents come to your neighborhood? What new solutions can city leaders find?
Listen to Outsiders podcast, or subscribe on your favorite podcast app. New episodes drop every Wednesday. [Learn more]
This is a collection of local, regional, national, and international news and media reports on homelessness in the form of an Excel spreadsheet which can view it on your browser, searchable, sortable, with clickable hyperlinks, and downloadable. It is being updated continuously. Please check back often. Click here.