COVID-19 Homelessness Services


UPDATE - 7.2.20

The City is continuing to monitor encampments in Santa Rosa’s Downtown area following last week’s efforts to address encampments at the 101 underpasses and College Avenue and will focus next on encampments creating health and safety hazards in the Corporate Center Parkway area. Despite on-going efforts to provide individuals within these encampments with support and services, the hazards occurring within these encampments amid the COVID-19 emergency have reached a tipping point, prompting the City to activate its Homeless Encampment Assistance Program to address immediate health, environmental and safety issues.


Outreach is underway to engage individuals in the Corporate Center Parkway area into shelter and services at the City’s Samuel L. Jones Hall Homeless Shelter and the Safe Social Distancing Program in a section of the parking lot at Finley Community Center. Efforts to address illegal dumping into storm drains, vehicle code violations and criminal activity has been ongoing for a number of weeks. Resolution of encampments in this area is scheduled for mid-July barring unforeseen developments.   

Additionally, a City Council study session on homeless services programming is planned for Tuesday, July 7th. The Study Session will include an overview of existing long-term programs, temporary emergency programs related to COVID-19 emergency response, and new program concepts including innovative housing solutions, funding options and regional approaches. Some ideas to be considered include restoring shelter capacity at the Samuel L. Jones Hall Homeless Shelter through development of new Sprung Structures, creating a safe parking program, and developing new strategies to replace  COVID-19 programs currently in place. 
TIME, AGENDA AND PARTICIPATION INFORMATION TO BE POSTED HERE 


Original Message: 5.29.20

An Update to Our Community on Current Homeless Services Efforts in Santa Rosa 

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. Despite the City’s efforts during this time, encampments in several areas of the City have grown increasingly in size and density. This has been of great concern to the City, and we understand that it is for many members of our community as well. The City has been monitoring these areas closely and working with its contracted outreach provider, Catholic Charities’ Homeless Outreach Services Team (HOST) to encourage individuals to relocate to the shelter options available to them, including Samuel L. Jones Hall Homeless Shelter, the Safe Social Distancing Program at Finley, the Non-Congregate Shelter at Sonoma State University, and other sites. While the City has encouraged individuals to voluntarily relocate to these safer situations, the City has not forcibly moved people, following the guidance of the Federal Centers for Disease Control, which generally advises against dispersing existing encampments to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  READ MORE


Addressing Homelessness During the Public Health Emergency

The City of Santa Rosa is working to support individuals experiencing homelessness to protect this vulnerable population and the community at large from greater spread of COVID-19. Following the Order of the Sonoma County Public Health Officer on March 17, 2020 and guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the City has taken several steps to address homelessness amid the coronavirus pandemic, including establishing a Safe Social Distance Program set up in an area of the parking lot at Finley Community Center. This site will be utilized to provide a temporary, managed social-distancing space for unsheltered populations through the duration of the Sonoma County Health Offer Shelter in Place Order. 
Tent setup at Finley

Safe Social Distancing Program:  Parking Lot Site at Finley Center

The Safe Social Distancing Program site in the Finley parking lot consists of 68 tents, with each tent accommodating an individual or couple. Occupancy of the site began on May 18. The site is expected to operate through the duration of the Sonoma County Health Offer Shelter in Place Order.  Click the following buttons for further program information.

As of Wednesday, June 24, there are 52 program participants staying at the site with a total of 51 tents occupied.

City Actions to Date to Address Homelessness During COVID-19

  • May:  Safe Social Distance Site in Area of Parking Lot at Finley Community Center
    A section of the parking lot at Finley Community Center will be utilized to provide a temporary, managed social-distancing space for unsheltered populations. The site will provide space for 70 tents, with each tent accommodating an individual or couple. The parking lot space to be utilized is located between the Person Senior Wing and the Finley tennis courts; view aerial map. Occupancy of the site began on May 18. The site is expected to operate through the duration of the Sonoma County Health Offer Shelter in Place Order.
  • Mid-April:  Motel rooms provided for unsheltered high-risk individuals 
    Following outreach and assessment, an additional 26 rooms at the Sandman Motel were provided to high-risk individuals who had been living in encampments within the City.  Face masks were also distributed to individuals living in encampments.
  • Mid-March:  Motel rooms provided for high-risk residents of Sam Jones Homeless Shelter
    45 high-risk residents of Samuel L. Jones Hall Homeless Shelter, aged 65 or older or with preexisting medical conditions, relocated to rooms at Sandman Motel. This action created social distancing space within the shelter and helped prevent vulnerable individuals from potential exposure to COVID-19.  Based on national best practice, strict safety protocols have been implemented in all City-sponsored homeless service operations.
  • Late March:  Sanitation facilities provided for unsheltered individuals
    In coordination with the County of Sonoma, portable toilets and hand washing stations were placed at or near known encampments within the City to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Additionally, the City placed debris containers near these encampments.

What’s Next? Addressing Additional Needs for Social Distancing and Shelter

In addition to the plans in process for May, the City is evaluating additional short, mid, and long-term options for Non-Congregate Shelter (NCS) and congregate shelter within the City to maintain social distancing and enable the City, once Shelter-In-Place Orders are lifted, to resume encampment resolution efforts through the Homeless Encampment Assistance Program


​Updates on Homeless Support from the County of Sonoma 

Read about additional actions being taken by the County of Sonoma to protect those experiencing homelessness amid the public health emergency on the County's Homeless Support Information page