Sonoma County Supervisors vote on $11.6 million plan to help homeless living on biking trail

ByCornell W. Barnard KGO logo
Tuesday, December 24, 2019
Supervisors vote on $11.6M plan to help Santa Rosa homeless
EMBED <>More Videos

Sonoma County Supervisors voted on $11.6 million plan to help homeless living on Santa Rosa's biking trail, but establishing shelters could take months.

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- The struggle to find shelter for homeless people isn't easy and it's part of ABC7's effort to build a better Bay Area.

A homeless tent city stretching more than a mile long in Santa Rosa has received international attention.

Sonoma County Supervisors held an emergency meeting on Monday to take on the Joe Rodota Trail, or what's become a health and humanitarian crisis.

Human waste and trash are everywhere and even some homeless who live here admit it's out of control.

'It's disgusting, it doesn't need to look like this in order to survive," said Nathaniel who is homeless.

RELATED: Sonoma County declares homeless emergency along popular public trail

Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins said, "The good news, we're moving forward with solutions, bad news is it will take a while."

Supervisors voted Monday to spend $11.6 million on establishing several emergency outdoor shelters, one could be located at the county fairgrounds.

"This this would offer people a better place to camp, access to sanitary facilities, electricity and running water," Hopkins said. "Basic fundamentals of human dignity."

Homeless living on the trail would be asked to leave voluntarily, but establishing the shelters could take several months.

REPORT: Sonoma County to consider plan to house homeless at county fairgrounds

Homeless advocates say it needs to happen now.

"That's a long time. It was sunny today, freezing last night, people are living in a drainage ditch, it's not acceptable," said Miles Sarvis-Wilburn from Squeaky Wheel Bicycle Coalition.

Supervisors are also looking at permanent shelter solutions. They are considering buying a former motel property and converting it into housing.

Take a look at all of ABC7's Building a Better Bay Area stories and videos.