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Sonoma County Supervisors Discuss Options For Homeless Camp at Regional Park

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The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday discussed housing options for an estimated 150 people who are camping along the public Joe Rodota Trail on Sonoma County Regional Parks property in Santa Rosa.

The list of options submitted to the supervisors by the county's Community Development Commission are intended to be deployed rapidly. They must have access to running water, sanitary facilities, electricity and connections to services that are flexible and promote safety, dignity and autonomy, commission director Geoffrey Ross said in his report to the supervisors.

Residents along a section of the trail between Stony Point and Wright roads, as well as bicyclists and pedestrians have complained about deteriorating public safety and sanitary conditions, and the Sonoma County Regional Parks Department advised people to avoid that section of the 8-mile trail running between Santa Rosa and Sebastopol.

The Community Development Commission's options include activating a Joint Operations Center and a short-term indoor and outdoor shelter at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.

The commission proposes establishing safe parking sites on county property and potentially on faith-based or private property, and group or small tent sites on public or private campgrounds in January.

Proposed shelter options in February would include recreational vehicles, semi-permanent structures and trailers at two or three secure sites with 15-20 people per site. Services would include lockers and kennels.

The Community Development Commission's report states "the options are based on proven, solution-orientated strategies that emphasize permanent housing as an outcome rather than efforts that inadvertently warehouse people without solving underlying issues."

There are an estimated 3,000 homeless people in Sonoma County, and 70 people who were living along the Joe Rodota Trail have been brought into the system of care through shelter and housing options since the end of October, according to the commission's report.

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