News Flash


Posted on: May 6, 2020

Safe Social Distancing Program for Unsheltered Individuals

News Flash_Safe Social Distancing Program

The City of Santa Rosa is preparing to open a City-owned parking lot for temporary use to provide safer social-distancing space for unsheltered individuals amid the coronavirus pandemic. A section of the parking lot at Finley Community Center located at 2060 W. College Ave, will serve as the managed site and will include up to 70 tents, with each tent accommodating an individual or couple. The 24,600 square foot parking lot space to be utilized is located between the Person Senior Wing building and the Finley tennis courts; see site location at

The tents, provided by the City for the site, will be spaced 12-feet apart to achieve social distancing as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in their interim guidance for unsheltered populations. Portable toilets, hand-washing stations, meal delivery, on-site management and services coordination by Catholic Charities staff, and overnight on-site security will be provided.

“We are moving forward with this emergency temporary measure given the urgent need to protect the City’s unsheltered homeless community as they are some of the most vulnerable to the spread of the coronavirus,” said Mayor Tom Schwedhelm. “This new, managed site offers a safer, temporary option for those who have been living outdoors in situations where social distancing is challenging if not impossible.”

Unsheltered individuals will be encouraged to locate to the Finley Community Center site during the public health emergency to help prevent potential spread of the disease in Santa Rosa. Setup of the safe social distancing site is anticipated to begin the week of May 11th with occupancy likely beginning the week of May 18th. The site is expected to operate through the duration of the Sonoma County Health Officer’s Shelter in Place Order.

The City has been closely following guidance provided by the CDC to support individuals experiencing homelessness during the current public health emergency both to protect this vulnerable population and the community at large from greater spread of the coronavirus disease. Prior actions have been taken by the City to first place sheltered and unsheltered individuals at greatest risk of susceptibility to the disease in hotel rooms. This latest step by the City is meant to ensure remaining unsheltered individuals – who are not considered to be at high-risk for COVID-19 – are maintaining proper social distancing.

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