Eviction process begins at Santa Rosa homeless camp

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- Eviction day arrived for more than 100 people living at a homeless encampment in Santa Rosa.

Officials say the homeless camp has grown in size the past few months, causing major public safety issues. But there is concern from some advocates who say the homeless have nowhere else to go.

Video from DRONEVIEW7 captured the magnitude of the Roseland Village homeless encampment in Santa Rosa and the ongoing cleanup.

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Public safety officials have been walking around the site to identify hazardous materials that need to be carefully removed.

"We know and we're receiving calls of reports of smoke, there's cooking fires, there's warming fires, and the last thing we'dwant to have is a fire that has the ability to spread through an encampment like this," said Paul Lowenthal with the Santa Rosa Fire Department.

Due to the unsanitary conditions, eviction notices went out in February to get people out. But there's been resistance from some community members.

Homeless advocates rallied around the site Thursday morning to demand the county find housing for all the people being displaced.

This comes after failed attempts to obtain a court order to delay the eviction process.

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"The bottom line is we have a lot of people who have nowhere else to go and live. They just want to be peaceful," said Kathleen Finigan with Homeless Action.

But county officials say they have enough shelter beds for everyone. They're working with nonprofits to provide housing assistance to those who want it. "The county has actually allowed us some additional funding to place people into permanent housing," said Jennie Lynn Holmes with Catholic Charities.

"Over a period of time, we've been able to place 40 people into a temporary housing intervention and six people into permanent housing."

While some of the homeless are being taken to shelters, others say they don't know where they'll end up.

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"We're homeless but we're not helpless. We need a hand up, not a hand out," said Brenda LaRose, who's been living at the encampment for almost a year.

As long as people keep packing up their belongings, police say they'll hold off on enforcing the evictions.

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