On Wednesday, the police and parks departments delivered another deadline to the homeless in the city.
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They manage human tragedy so often that it almost feels like a drill.
"You have to vacate immediately," said a park ranger as he knocked on the tent door at a homeless tent along the Joe Rodata Trail. This area has become the latest front line in Santa Rosa's ongoing effort to help the homeless, or as least keep them from encroaching on everyday life.
"Can you anticipate where they will go next?" we asked Santa Rosa Police Sergeant Jonathan Wolf.
"I can't," he said.
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The camp formed a month ago and now has roughly 100 people in an area 1 mile long.
Their departure cannot happen soon enough for residents like Bill Petty. He rides his bike to work along the Joe Rodata Trail. Last week, eight people blocked the path and one attacked him.
"It is a no-win situation, but this can't happen," Petty said.
What does happen? We have shown you many times before, from the remnants of a camp at Homeless Hill last August to another in Roseland in April, with others in between. In all of those places, many of the faces remain constant.
Many of the homeless here say they want help. However, when they get it, they find an excuse to leave. "My dog peed on the floor and they kicked me out," said one woman. A social worker told us, "I know most of them by name," said one social worker. #abc7now #SantaRosa pic.twitter.com/uI5OgzrqFE— Wayne Freedman (@WayneFreedman) May 23, 2018
"It is a not the best environment," said Amanda Friedman when we spoke with her in a shelter last August. She has been in and out of the system at least two times. We asked what happened.
"No one will kick me out of here because my dog peed or barked," said Amanda. "I ask them for other options but they give me no other option but the shelter."
"These are people for whom we need to find a different intervention," said Jennielynn Holmes of Catholic Charities. "What is necessary is new housing dedicated to the homeless."
It won't come before next week, as Santa Rosa's exercise in homeless musical chairs continues.
#SantaRosa homeless encampments have become territorial, says Bill Petty, who was riding his bike through the Joe Rodota Trail last week. One of them blocked the path and attacked. Broken nose. Fractured bone above his eye. "I have sympathy, but this is a problem." #abc7now pic.twitter.com/BdqUws8fBl— Wayne Freedman (@WayneFreedman) May 23, 2018