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Santa Rosa plans to clear homeless camps by month end

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Santa Rosa officials Monday evening will discuss a plan to clear some of the city’s homeless encampments by late July.

The city’s Homeless Encampment Assistance Pilot Program will focus on encampments at the Prince Memorial Greenway/Olive Park and Morgan Street/U.S. Highway 101 underpass. Residents and business owners from the surrounding neighborhoods and all community members are invited to attend the discussion at City Hall.

The Santa Rosa police, fire, housing and community services, transportation and public works departments and Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa will provide information and answer questions. The pilot program includes outreach and engagement with the camp occupants by the Homeless Outreach Services Team (HOST), relocation of camp occupants at the Samuel L. Jones Homeless Shelter, resources to connect homeless individuals with family and other support networks or placement into housing.

The program also includes cleaning the camps to mitigate public health and safety concerns, enforcement to prevent criminal activity and efforts to prevent reoccupation of the camps.

The HOST program previously addressed homeless encampments at the Farmers Lane extension of state Highway 12 and U.S. Highway 101 underpasses, Doyle Community Park and the Corporate Center Parkway. The city’s Department of Housing and Community Services said 50 percent of campers at those locations were placed into services, shelter or housing.

A point-in-time count of the homeless in Sonoma County conducted in January found 2,951 homeless people. The count found there was a 20 percent increase in the number of young homeless people, a significant number of people living in vehicles and the continued presence of about 21,000 people who are considered unstably housed.

The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at City Council chambers in City Hall, 100 Santa Rosa Ave.

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