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Posted on: January 21, 2021

City Plans to Resume Intakes at Its Homeless Shelter and Restart Efforts to Resolve Encampments

Samuel L. Jones Hall exterior

Update 1.21.21

Shelter intakes at the City-owned Samuel Jones Hall (SJH) Homeless Shelter are scheduled to resume Jan. 23. This date is two weeks after the last positive COVID-19 test finding at the shelter and follows 14 confirmed cases at the shelter beginning in mid-December. The City will also restart efforts to resolve encampments at Industrial Parkway, Prince Memorial Greenway, Jennings Park and throughout Santa Rosa. These efforts have been temporarily on-hold, while shelter beds have been unavailable at SJH and at the new SJH Annex — which was used as an isolation area during the COVID-19 cases at the shelter. The City plans to open the SJH Annex for its original purpose of providing up to 60 shelter beds by February 1st. As beds become available again at the shelter, and are opened at the annex, the City can restart efforts to resolve encampments within its Homeless Encampment Assistance Program and with special procedures amid COVID-19, and restrictions outlined in a preliminary federal court injunction.  

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Update 1.14.21

Shelter intakes are currently on hold at the City-owned Samuel Jones Hall (SJH) Homeless Shelter due to some shelter residents recently testing positive for COVID-19. As a result, efforts to resolve encampments throughout Santa Rosa are temporarily paused. This includes the areas of Industrial Ave, Prince Memorial Greenway, Jennings Park, and all encampments in the City. Outreach, removal of debris from the public right of way, and enforcement of vehicle code violations will continue in an effort to reduce the impacts of encampments to surrounding businesses and neighborhoods, though a timeline for closure of encampments cannot be determined while shelter beds remain unavailable. Since mid-December, 14 individuals have tested positive for coronavirus at SJH.

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Update: 1.12.21

An additional three positive COVID-19 test results have been received at the Samuel L. Jones Hall Homeless Shelter as of January 6, 2021, resulting in 14 positive test results to date at the shelter since mid-December 2020.

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Original post: 1.5.2021

Testing over the last two weeks of December 2020 confirmed 11 positive COVID-19 cases at the Samuel L. Jones Homeless Shelter. Testing was prompted after an individual experienced a potential COVID-19 exposure, which was confirmed to be negative, and is part of a larger effort to provide on-going testing at the shelter in partnership with St. Joseph’s Health. Individuals with positive test results have been placed in the newly completed Emergency Shelter Annex on the City’s SJH property, a hotel room, and the Sonoma County Alternate Care Site (ACS), as space is available. 

Catholic Charities, the City's primary homeless services provider, is working closely with Sonoma County Public Health to best manage the situation at SJH, including the following steps:

  • Screening/Isolation – Catholic Charities and St. Joseph’s Health is conducting daily symptom and temperature checks of all shelter clients and staff. The new Emergency Shelter has been made available as space to isolate symptomatic individuals until testing and alternate shelter can be arranged. Additionally, any individuals known to have been in close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual have been isolated in a separate, smaller dorm area within the Emergency Shelter Annex.
  • Testing – St. Joseph’s Health will be on-site twice weekly to conduct testing. This will continue until the shelter reaches two consecutive weeks with no positive cases.
  • Education – Clients are being provided with information on transmission and prevention, their risk and what Catholic Charities and Public Health are planning to do to mitigate their risk. 
  • Other Precautions – New intakes to the shelter as well as exits are on hold until the shelter reaches the two-week benchmark. Catholic Charities has also provided masks for all staff and clients.

For more information about the City’s ongoing efforts to address homelessness amid the COVID-19 emergency, visit SRCity.org/COVID19HomelessSupport.

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