Santa Rosa residents raise concern about homeless housing in their neighborhoods

Saturday, January 11, 2020
Santa Rosa residents concerned about homeless housing in their neighborhood
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Sonoma Co. residents are raising concerns about the county's plan to house the homeless from Joe Rodota Trail encampment to their neighborhoods

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- Sonoma County is beginning to go public about the addresses of homes it may purchase for housing the homeless from the Joe Rodota Trail encampment in Santa Rosa, upon clearing it by the end of January.

811 Davis Street is one of three homes that Sonoma County is looking at purchasing for roughly $3 million to turn into a shelter for some of the 200 plus homeless people living on Joe Rodota Trail.

Neighbor Allen Thomas says the proposal is raising concerns for him and those who live nearby.

"The question is how it will be run and how it will impact the neighbors," he said.

RELATED: Sonoma County declares homeless emergency along popular public trail

Thomas says there is a need for a better explanation and a clearer understanding of the housing plan.

"I feel the county is not handling this property and dumping this issue on us without transparency," he said.

Barbie Robinson, the director of Sonoma Co. Dept. of Health Services, says she plans to take a holistic health approach in dealing with the homeless. That would mean establishing shelters and treating symptoms ranging from drug abuse to mental issues.

"Our goal is not to throw people into houses. It is to stabilize them. Improve their well-being," Robinson said.

The county has given $12 million in seed money for the plan.

"I regard the $12 million as a start," Robinson said, after being asked if the amount could solve the problem.

Robinson promises a degree of vetting, and a set of house rules for the residents to become good neighbors.

The goal of the housing project is to make good neighbors from people in a bad situation. They would be temporary neighbors, until they find their footing.

RELATED: Residents demand action after propane tank explodes at Santa Rosa homeless camp

Robinson added, "This isn't a one solution to the housing process. This is not a build it and they will come. This is a build it, support them, and they will come and be successful."

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