SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- You might never know that the peaceful, quiet, Joe Rodota Trail we see in Sonoma County, today, has come a long way since last winter.
"Well it's clean here. Not a lot of homeless tents anymore," said Robin Marrs while commuting on his bicycle.
Based on its condition now, homeless advocates in Sonoma County can claim a victory of sorts after moving many of those residents eight miles west of Santa Rosa to the Los Guilicos Village, a temporary emergency shelter that was supposed to close April 30.
"We never believed that," said Greg Rhodes of Oakmont.
That community lies a few hundred yards away from Los Guilicos, across Highway 12.
While a few residents wanted to give the shelter a chance. Many others opposed it.
"This is a poor choice in dire circumstances," said one woman last January.
County records show that while some residents left and others were kicked out for violating rules, roughly one-third of the rest have moved on successfully. It's one reason that the county now wants to make this shelter permanent. But across the way in Oakmont?
"It seems like most people here feel they got double-crossed," said resident Susan Olsen.
So what changed? We asked Supervisor Lynda Hopkins. Those homeless along the Rodota Trail used to be in her district. "I think what changed is we are in the midst of a pandemic situation. We need every ounce of shelter capacity on Sonoma County..."
It is a diminishing capacity now that Sonoma State University has cancelled a contract with the county to house 100 homeless people in dorms.
The change makes Los Guillicos more of a lifeline than ever. But, it's in the wrong place, according to Supervisor Susan Gorin. "It is absolutely the worst place to deliver services," she said.
Supervisor Gorin lives in Oakmont. She has opposed the Guilicos shelter from the beginning, only because of its impractical location.
"There is nothing there. Nothing for miles. This is not a NIMBY issue. This is a great model. Every supervisor should have this model in his or her district."
It is an issue the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors will discuss tomorrow, undoubtedly at length.
And, another complication, thanks to COVID-19.
If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.
Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here
RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
- COVID-19 risk calculator: Quiz yourself on the safest, most dangerous things you can do as CAreopens
- COVID-19 Help: Comprehensive list of resources, information
- When will the San Francisco Bay Area reopen? Track progress on 6 key metrics to reopening here
- Reopening California: What's opening and when in the Bay Area
- Everything we know about CA businesses opening and what comes next
- Life after COVID-19: Here's what restaurants, gyms will look like
- Here's everything allowed to open in CA (and what we're still waiting on)
- INTERACTIVE TIMELINE: How close was CA to becoming a NY-level crisis?
- What is a COVID-19 genetic, antigen and antibody test?
- Coronavirus Timeline: Tracking major moments of COVID-19 pandemic in San Francisco Bay Area/
- List: Where can I get tested for COVID-19 in the Bay Area?
- COVID-19 Diaries: Personal stories of Bay Area residents during novel coronavirus pandemic
- Coronavirus Doctor's Note: Dr. Alok Patel gives his insight into COVID-19 pandemic
- What does COVID-19 do to your body and why does it spread so easily?
- WATCH: 'Race & Coronavirus: A Bay Area Conversation' virtual town hall about COVID-19 impact on Asian American community
- WATCH: 'Race & Coronavirus: A Bay Area Conversation' virtual town hall about COVID-19 impact on African American community
- WATCH: 'Race & Coronavirus: A Bay Area Conversation' virtual town hall about COVID-19 impact on Latino community
- WATCH: 'Your Mental Health: A Bay AreaConversation' virtual town hall addressing COVID-19 impact on mental health
- Symptoms, prevention, and how to prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak in the US
- Here's a look at some of history's worst pandemics that have killed millions