Recently, the City of Santa Rosa determined that the severity of conditions created by encampments in specific areas of the community required the activation of the City’s Homeless Encampment Assistance Program (HEAP). Health and safety concerns within these encampments amid the COVID-19 emergency has reached a tipping point and plans were in place to begin removal and clean-up of the encampments located under the Highway 101 overpasses in the Downtown corridor and College Avenue on June 16th after being temporarily delayed by the City’s June 4th declaration of a local State of Emergency, the recent Curfew Order, and demonstrations in the downtown area.
This week, the County of Sonoma notified the City that individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 had recently spent time in these encampment areas. Upon learning of this news – and at the request of the Sonoma County Health Officer – the City is now pausing plans to move forward with cleanup of the encampment to allow for the County to conduct COVID-19 testing of individuals in these areas. The County has assured the City that addressing this public health concern is a top priority and the County will be ramping up testing of individuals in these areas through the weekend and early next week. The County has indicated testing will be complete by Tuesday, June 18th.
Barring unforeseen developments, the City intends to resume the original cleanup plans for the encampments under the Highway 101 overpasses in the downtown corridor and College Avenue no later than Wednesday morning, June 24th.
For more information on the City’s efforts to address Homelessness during the Public Health Emergency, read additional recent updates at the following link: srcity.org/COVID19HomelessSupport