Sonoma Supervisors expected to discuss solutions on mile-long tent city Monday

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- In the North Bay, a mile-long homeless encampment is gaining international attention. Tents line Joe Rodota trail in Santa Rosa next to Highway 12.

Monday, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors will take up the issue. In an effort to Build a Better Bay Area, the search is now on for solutions to what many are calling a humanitarian crisis.

The Joyful Noise Gospel Singers from Sebastapol performed for those living on the trail Sunday.

RELATED: Sonoma County declares homeless emergency along popular public trail

Choir members not only brought their voices, but donated warm clothes too. Others were volunteering by serving hot meals.

"I think the first step is to treat people like people, and understand they are human and have circumstances that have put them here," said choir director Benjamin Mertz.

Nathanial has lived on the trail for a year. He says it's out of control.

"It's disgusting. You don't have it look like this for you to survive," said Nathaniel who is homeless.

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors has called the trail a growing humanitarian crisis.

"We're saying this is a crisis and we need to treat it like a crisis and it's about damned time we step up and treat it as an emergency," said Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins.

RELATED: Supreme Court won't review decision that makes it harder for cities to keep homeless from sleeping on sidewalks

But with the U.S. Supreme Court refusing to hear a case that would have allowed cities and counties to arrest people sleeping on public property, Sonoma County is re-focusing on its 3,000 homeless and how to help them.

One option is to let homeless people move to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, but not everyone is on board with that idea.

Some neighbors agree, there's lots of vacant space on the fairgrounds property, but it's too close to homes.

"Having been a former police officer, I'm worried about some of the criminal element in the group of individuals," said homeowner John David Cavell.

A trail of misery with no easy answers. Supervisors will discuss solutions and are expected to vote on Monday.
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