Starting this week, the City of Santa Rosa will resume efforts to address the encampment at the Highway 101 underpasses (101 Encampment) as part of its Homeless Encampment Cleanup Pilot Program. The Pilot Program aims to address the health, safety, and shelter needs of persons experiencing homelessness and living in encampments as well as to mitigate impacts to the surrounding community. Initial plans to relocate occupants and to remove debris from the 101 Encampment in mid-October were delayed due to the fire emergency and ensuing recovery efforts, including the successful placement of approximately 70 people who remained at the temporary disaster shelter at the Finley Community Center into temporary shelter or housing. This was accomplished in partnership with Catholic Charities’ Homeless Outreach Services Team (HOST).
Now that the temporary disaster shelter at the Finley Community Center has been closed, the City will continue the Pilot Program with a plan to address the 101 Encampment over the next two weeks, as follows:
- Intensive outreach and engagement with occupants by HOST
- Relocation of occupants to include shelter beds, hotel vouchers, expansion of hours at the Homeless Services Center, and resources to reconnect with family and support networks or for housing placement
- Increased Police enforcement for criminal activity and to discourage reoccupation of the area once occupants have been provided services, shelter, and housing
- Cleanup of the area to mitigate public health and safety concerns and in preparation of a City Transportation and Public Works Department construction project at 6th Street (scheduled prior to the fire emergency)
Efforts at the 101 Encampment are modeled after the pilot recently completed at the encampment at the Farmers Lane Extension which resulted in the placement of 30 out of 42 occupants (70%) into services and shelter; the removal of more than 200 tons of debris, clearing of brush and weeds, and trimming trees, all of which were deemed a significant fire hazard. The Pilot Program is one of many City-sponsored efforts to solve this challenging, community-wide issue which has recently been exacerbated due to the fire emergency. Other steps include realigning all homeless services with Federal, State and local Housing First protocols in partnership with the County of Sonoma and service providers. The City will continue to evaluate the effectiveness of the approach taken at the Farmers Lane Extension and Highway 101 encampments for future efforts with additional individuals experiencing homelessness in Santa Rosa.
For information regarding the Pilot Program the City’s Housing First Strategy, and updates on other City efforts, please visit the Homelessness Solutions webpage at www.srcity.org/HomelessSolutions.