Next week, the City’s Homeless Encampment Assistance Program (HEAP) will proceed with efforts to resolve the growing encampment in Fremont Park (also known as Cancer Survivors Park). Over the past several weeks, HEAP has been monitoring conditions in the park which continue to deteriorate, raising safety concerns for persons experiencing homelessness and residing in the park, as well as to the surrounding community. The City previously took measures to address immediate fire threats caused by encampments in areas of Fremont Park, including temporarily securing the west side of the park. Druing that time, the City also provided sanitary facilities (with support from the County of Sonoma and in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control) and waste and sharps containers; and worked with its contracted outreach provider, Catholic Charities’ Homeless Outreach Services Team (HOST) to encourage individuals to relocate to safe, secure, and healthy options for shelter. Despite these actions, the growing size of the encampment, coupled with worsening conditions, have prompted the City to proceed with resolving the encampment at Fremont Park. HEAP protocols will be implemented, including outreach and notification to individuals residing in the park, in advance of efforts to clean and restore the area. The City will be provide an update on its efforts following next week’s operation. To learn more about the City’s efforts to address homelessness during COVID-19, go HERE.
Last week, the City took measures to address immediate fire threats caused by encampments in areas of Fremont Park. Park maintenance crews secured these areas of the park, and outreach and notification were provided to individuals residing in these areas. Catholic Charities’ Homeless Outreach Services Team (HOST) was successful in engaging 25 individuals located in the encampments into services, including placement at the City’s Samuel L. Jones Hall Homeless Shelter, Safe Social Distancing Program at Finley, hotel rooms, and permanent housing.
Though a portion of the park is now secured to mitigate the fire threat, the City is aware that many individuals remain in other areas of Fremont Park. Given the growing size of the encampment, the City has placed two additional portable toilets and a handwashing station as well as a debris bin at the park to provide increased access to sanitary facilities in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance. HOST will continue to engage individuals residing in the park over the next couple weeks to encourage individuals to transition to safe, secure and healthy options for shelter. The City’s Homeless Encampment Assistance Program (HEAP) team continues to works toward solutions to address homelessness at Fremont Park and across the City. More information on these efforts will be provided soon. For more information on the City’s efforts to address homelessness amid the public health emergency, can be found HERE