Homeless Talk Calendar

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Safe Parking Request

I write to you with the Thursday homeless meeting in mind, the reasonable use of Lot D at the Fairgrounds, covering 30 - 40 Parkers, for the cost of cleaning the toilets and showers, that apparently there will be Parkers who won’t have a safe legal place to spend the night.

You’ll likely remember D was the site of Safe Park the winter of ’14, for which CC and the county were lauded by the Chron and LA Times.

There has been nothing preventing their return, except Shirlee, who says it is too far from downtown and too expensive.  There are many homeless people who have jobs or income that make the drive an easy one compared to sleeping at a curb.  It is closer to downtown than the Methodist Church on Stony Point or the Synagogue.  

It was expensive in ’14 because use was conditioned on hiring a 12-hour attendant and a drive-through guard.  In the three months there was no infraction of the rules.  I was there several times in the evening, talking to the attendant, who told me she was glad for the job, but there was no need for her or the guard, and Parkers who were very grateful for the place to be safe.

One was a woman who might have been the model for Rockwell’s Thanksgiving grandmother.  She had a degree in history and worked for more than 40 years as a nursery school teacher.  I asked how she happened to be homeless.  “Until 3 years ago, my future was secure, all in order.  Then it exploded.”  I didn’t ask what exploded but it’s easy to make intelligent guesses.  “You have no idea how blessed it is to have a place to take a pee and wash my face in warm water before I go to sleep."  

Commonly, 2 or 3 Parkers would stick their heads in the office and tell the attendant she didn’t need to have Fairground staff come clean the toilets and showers.  They’d done it.

So it’s not too far and not expensive.  No one pays anything for use of the facility.  The Fair uses it marginally for horseman-parking during the fair and that can be shifted.  The only cost would be cleaning.  I’m confident a small team of regular Parker volunteers could be asked to clean before they leave, or they could be paid minimum wage.
Arguments that this location isn't a safe and useful resource are absolutely bogus, and failure to make use of Lot D is criminal if you know stories of curb-Parkers who have been harassed or accosted by the SR police. 
A mild-mannered man, I know, (never been in trouble with the law) and corresponded with in San Quentin was incarcerated because of an altercation with SR police that began when they rapped on his window, shined a light in his face and told him to move.  He worked as a welder fabricating stainless tanks, carried PTSD from Viet Nam, was sleeping in his truck because he and his girlfriend had a disagreement.  After being boosted by the police, and given a $265 fine, his life spiraled out of control and violating a condition of his first arrest lead to SQ.

I remember there was faultless Safe Parking at the Fairgrounds Lot D, the winter of ’14 with toilets and showers.  Virtually no cost to the county.  Is there a reason Safe Park can’t return?

Sunday, July 16, 2017

News Articles on Safe Parking

News Articles on Housing First


Here are some articles you may have missed concerning "Housing First"(most recent on top)

Will Old Remedy Solve Modern Housing Crisis?

San Diego Council To Vote On Motel’s Conversion To Transitional Housing

A new way to fight homelessness: Charlotte charity buys entire apartment community

More affordable housing coming to Oakland County

Juneau’s Housing First opening delayed until September


Madison's biggest attempt at Housing First for homeless produces hope and unease

Move in Day: Amarillo Housing First Furnishes Homeless Woman's New Home

Advocates tout success of Housing First in fight against homelessness

Amarillo Housing First cleans up with car wash fundraisers

HUD makes $2 billion available to homeless programs: encourages Housing First

lnspira Donates $50K to Help End Homelessness in South Jersey County by 2020

Grand Forks LaGrave on First project set for groundbreaking as soon as August

Housing first, then personal transformation for the homeless

Three year Housing First - San Diego plan kicks off

Housing people fast is five times cheaper than homelessness - here's why

Seattle City Councilman says ‘Housing First’ is Key to Solving Homelessness. But Is That the Answer?

Will County Declares and End to Homelessness for Veterans

Is This Complex Affordable Housing Deal a Promising Model or a Unicorn?

Group tackling homelessness one person at a time

Program to Spur Low-Income Housing Is Keeping Cities Segregated

Creating a Home for L.G.B.T. Seniors in New York City

House Republicans want to kill a key federal housing policy. City Hall is not happy

The Disappearing Downtown Shelter

Advocates tout success of Housing First in fight against homelessness

‘Housing First’ only process that’s proven to rapidly end homelessness

Don't Abandon Housing First

Ted Yoho urges Ben Carson to reverse Obama-era ‘Housing First,’ reinstate homeless shelter funds

Madison's biggest attempt at Housing First for the homeless produces hope and unease

Homeless cleanups in L.A. have surged, costing millions. What has been gained?

Miniature Homes: A Possible Solution For San Angelo's Homeless

1 in 5 L.A. community college students is homeless, survey finds

Seattle to Award $30 Million in Homeless Services Contracts

June 29th:

Sonoma County confronts state over $9 million in outstanding Medi-Cal mental health payments

June 25th

June 26th
June 17th

June 16th

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Interagency Council on Homelessness Tools


Here are some links to some important tools from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness:

Criteria and Benchmark for Achieving the Goal of Ending Chronic Homelessness (https://www.usich.gov/tools-for-action/criteria-and-benchmark-for-ending-chronic-homelessness)
Ending Chronic Homelessness (https://www.usich.gov/goals/chronic)
Assessing Whether Your Continuum of Care Has Achieved the Goal of Ending Chronic Homelessness (https://www.usich.gov/resources/uploads/asset_library/Questions_To_Assess_Progress_On_Chronic_Homelessness.pdf)


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Scopes of Work and Budget for Catholic Charities contracts with the City of Santa Rosa


Here is a link to

Exhibit A-  Scope of Work
Exhibit B - Budget ($442,650)
Exhibit C - Quarterly Status Report
Exhibit D - Homeless Management Information System

for a contract between the City of Santa Rosa and Catholic Charities for some of the operation of Homeless Services HOST Program and the Mobile Shower for 2017-18.

Here is a link to:

Exhibit A-  Scope of Work
Exhibit B - Budget ($572,303)
Exhibit C - Quarterly Status Report
Exhibit D - Homeless Management Information System

for a contract between the City of Santa Rosa and Catholic Charities for the operation and use of the Sam Jones Hall Homeless Shelter ($442,803) and the Winter Shelter ($130,000) for 2017-18.

Note that the program design and budget for the operation of the Winter Shelter mirrors the design of the 2016-17 year, and has not been modified to reflect the "Housing First" model currently being discussed by the City.  David Gouin confirmed today that the contract for the use of about $460,000 of the recently-budgeted additional $600,000 - will be provided once approved by the SR City Council tonight.

Safe parking, sanctioned encampments, more storage, CHAP projects, more subsidized housing, rapid rehousing, and additional staffing to convert other sites to the "Housing First" model - will all compete for the remaining $140,000.


Friday, June 30, 2017

What Does Success Look Like?

In recent meetings of the City Council, both the Council members and the City Manager have complained that they are unclear “what success looks like” in their planning and execution of programs funded to respond to the homeless housing crisis.  I’ve asked many within the homeless service and resident community what their successful outcomes would be to achieve the goals of the City’s Housing Action Plan, for both the short-term and longer-term.  Here are some ideas which have been suggested:

Short-term Homeless Program Successful Process Outcomes
  1. A complete and detailed Scope of Work and Performance Outcomes for Catholic Charities contract, including sheltering and transitioning to permanent housing for residents of the Family Shelter, Sam Jones, Safe Parking, and Palms Inn for 2017-2018. For example, moving from temporary housing to permanent housing could be considered an upgrade, as could moving from shelters to transitional housing.
  2. The expansion of use of CHAP and recently-approved Safe Parking Program funds to insure continuation of 80 safe parking spaces in the City.
  3. The establishment of a legal support service which assists complaining tenants of rental housing and shelters to file grievances in appropriate public entities in a timely manner.
  4. The collaboration of the Sonoma’s cities with the County of Sonoma on an application to California’s No Place Like Home funding, targeted at developing and supporting permanent housing models designed for chronically homeless, with serious mental illness.
  5. The identification and establishment of a Safe Haven Outdoor Navigation Center with security and sanitation, with staff capable of assisting campers to improve their ability to qualify and be accepted in permanent housing.
  6. Collaboration with the County and other stakeholders to produce 2200 or more units of homeless-targeted low and no income housing.
  7. Convene the recipients of the Affordable Housing Pilot Project, recently awarded by the City, and strengthen their capability and interest in working with the City’s homeless service providers to insure that residents of the City’s shelters and encampments obtain access to the resulting housing units.
  8. Securing additional Section 8 Housing Voucher landlords, especially for  VASH voucherholders.

Longer-term Homeless Program Successful Process Outcomes
  1. The development of a system, in collaboration with the County of Sonoma Community Development Commission, to place Santa Rosa’s homeless population into the housing units which have been, or are currently being, developed with public funds.
  2. The development and completion of a homeless community and service provider-engaged public planning process for the 2017-2018 City Homeless Service contract RFPs.
  3. Strengthen the ability of Community Development and Housing Authority staff to work together to support private development projects to include the maximum financially achievable affordable units, as early in their planning process. 
  4. The development and completion of a comprehensive set of performance impact outcomes for each of the contracts and scopes of work funded by the City and County which minimize service agency confusion and duplication, and maximize successful placement and retention of residents in permanent housing.
  5. The expansion of the capacity of shelters and limited stay facilities to include pets.

Affordable Housing Successful Impact Outcomes
1.    The number of individuals contacted, enrolled, assessed, or receiving services from a particular organization by facility.
2.    The number of individuals whose housing is upgraded, the number of individuals in permanent housing, or the number of individuals whose days of homelessness in the preceding 30 days has decreased. This includes the average number of days residents stay in shelters, transitional facilities, or subsidized limited length housing.
3.    The number of homeless individuals enrolled with an organization who have earnings, increased their earnings, are employed full-time, or increase their number of hours worked over a given month.
4.    Measuring individuals who have no drug use, whose health has improved, or whose mental health status increases.
5.    The number of youth who are reunited with their families, attend school, or earn their GED.
6.  The number of those who continue their residence in permanent housing upon placement from a shelter or limited length facility for at least two years increases.  The average stay in permanent housing upon placement from shelters of limited length facilities increases.    

Santa Rosa's Open Data Portal - Homeless and Affordable Housing Data


The City of Santa Rosa's website contains information on the performance of the City in addressing the homeless and affordable housing crisis.

Homeless Services in Number of People per Quarter

Affordable Housing Completed by Fiscal Year

Code Enforcement Cases Open Through March 2017

Check out these, and lots more performance data

And there's even a map of the Homeless Encampments.  The map combines census and police incident reports all over the town in the last six months, and identifies 13 locations where there are more than 9 people sleeping outdoors.  By far the most people are along the Joe Rodota Trail (75), followed by downtown's 101 overpasses (67), Bennett Valley Hwy 12 extension (47), and Bicentennial Hillside (30).  All others have less that 15 each.

Bennett Valley Extension and Bicentennial have high fire risks.  101 overpasses has the highest calls for service (703 - 35% in response to phone calls), followed by Joe Rodota Trail (219), Bennett Valley Hwy 12 Extension (119), Railroad Right of Way between W. College and W. 9th (85). and SR Creek east of Farmers Lane (81).

All this and lots more cool stuff at the Santa Rosa Data Portal