The city has been working with the private property owner of two parcels on Old Stony Point Road where a large, long-term homeless encampment was established. Members of multiple city departments, outside agencies, and Catholic Charities’ Homeless Outreach Services Team (HOST) have provided extensive coordination and services to assist with resolution of the encampment and clean-up of the property. The following is an overview of some of the key actions that have taken place to address the encampment and assist community members who had been residing there:
- The Santa Rosa Police Department (SRPD) posted “No Trespassing” signs on the property in early June and has worked with HOST over the following two weeks to clear the encampment, largely through voluntary compliance.
- Within the past five months, HOST outreach workers visited the property 37 times including five occasions over the past two weeks, and conducted 49 engagements which led to four individuals accepting shelter placement (three at the city-owned Samuel L. Jones Hall Homeless Shelter and one to the newly opened Safe Parking Pilot Program). Additionally, between February and the end of May, HOST was on-site at the encampment 32 times and conducted 176 engagements with 93 individuals. Of these engagements, 22 accepted shelter placements (18 to Sam Jones Hall and four to Safe Parking). HOST will continue to engage individuals which have chosen to relocate to other areas of the community.
- Sonoma County Public Health and the Interdepartmental Multi-disciplinary Team have also provided general outreach to the encampment, including COVID-19 vaccination, shelter, and case management services.
- Based on prior experience with large encampments, the city’s Code Enforcement division worked with the property owner on a vector control plan to mitigate impacts to surrounding neighbors. The plan was in-place prior to the start of debris removal and developed in coordination with Sonoma-Marin Vector Control and through the property owner’s pest management contractor.
- Code Enforcement staff have also worked with the property owner to remove debris from the property, which will continue over the next several weeks. A biologist has been on-site to monitor potential impacts to protected species. The Fire Department has provided direction on the proper handling and disposal of hazardous materials. Additionally, the city has coordinated with the property owner for brush removal and installation of parimeter fencing to prevent reoccupation of the site once the debris is removed.
Addressing homelessness is an area of critical concern in Santa Rosa and one of the City Council's top priorities. City Manager Maraskeshia Smith prioritizes the resolution of encampments throughout the city to address quality of life issues and impacts for both encampment residents and neighboring residents. The city is committed to the equitable distribution of services throughout the city. The Homeless Encampment Assistance Program actively monitors and evaluates encampments throughout Santa Rosa and prioritizes encampments for resolution relative to available resources and the severity of issues within each encampment. Encampments that pose an immediate threat to health and safety are given the highest priority.
More information on homelessness in Santa Rosa and the city’s response is available at srcity.org/HomelessnessSolutions.