Thursday, November 9, 2017

Notice for 6th Street Underpass

Greetings!

This notice announces a homeless encampment eviction in Santa Rosa next Tuesday.

Notice
By Order of the Santa Rosa Police Department
Posted on November 8th, 2017
Location: Underpasses at 5th, 6th, and 9th Streets in Santa Rosa

The Santa Rosa Police Department will be enforcing local and state laws including but not limited to the following.  Violations may result in the arrest and booking into the Sonoma County Jail.

  • Santa Rosa City Code Section 10-12-020 - Obstructing tunnel, overpass, etc.  No person shall loiter in any tunnel, pedestrian subway, or on any bridge, overpass or at or near the entrance thereto or exit therefrom or at or near any abutment or retaining wall adjacent to such entrance or exit, or any retaining wall or abutment adjacent to any freeway, street, or highway open and used for vehicular traffic, or adjacent to that portion thereof used for vehicular traffic, or on any public property in the proximity of such bridge, overpass, or retaining wall or abutment.
  • Santa Rosa City Code Section 10-12-030 - Obstructing tunnel, overpass, etc.  No person shall sit or lie in or upon any street, sidewalk or other public way in such a manner to reasonably prevent, delay, hinder, obstruct, or interfere with the free passage of any other persons.
  • Santa Rosa City Code 10-04-010 - possession or consumption in public place.  It is unlawful for any person to possess an open container of or to consume beer, wine, or other alcoholic beverage at any time on any public highway, road, street, sidewalk, lane, alley, mall, planting area, City-owned parking lot or parking building, or within Old Courthouse Square.
  • Santa Rosa City Code Section 10-08-010 - Public excretion.  It is unlawful for any person over the age of 10 years to willfully urinate or defecate in a public place or in a place exposed to public view.
  • Santa Rosa City Code Section 9-12-050 - Littering.  It is unlawful for any person to litter, dump, throw, or otherwise deposit or accumulate or cause to be deposited or accumulated any solid waste, recyclable materials, yard trimmings, household hazardous wastes or other hazardous wastes, garbage, debris, or other wastes in or upon any vacant lot, or in any backyard, or in or upon any highway, street, alley, gutter, sidewalk, park, waterway, or other public place within the City.
All personal property and debris must be removed immediately or it will be removed by the City of Santa Rosa on or after November 14, 2017.

Any items that pose a risk to public health and safety will be disposed of promptly.  Other personal property will be stored by the City of Santa Rosa for a period of 90 days.  If your personal property has been removed by the City, you may contact the Santa Rosa Police Department at (707) 543-3618 for information on retrieval.  Failure to claim and retrieve your property may cause it to be considered intentionally abandoned.  Unclaimed property may be disposed of after 90 days per California Civil Code Sections 2080 - 2080.10.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Homeless Talk Report

Greetings!

The Final Report of Homeless Talk
Citywide Conversations: “Visions for Change”

Throughout the fall and winter of 2016/2017, over 500 Santa Rosa residents met in their neighborhoods and congregations to engage in conversations about homelessness.  They shared their best thinking and offered suggestions toward an end to homelessness in Santa Rosa.  These conversations were sponsored by “Homeless Talk”, which was a project of “Santa Rosa Together” and “Homeless Action!”

“Homeless Talk” existed to engage our community in conversation regarding homelessness in our city with no 'Homeless Talk' bias, judgment, opinions or specific agendas by the organizers.  Our aim and commitment was to take your community voices and present them to the public, in the hope that they will influence positive and concrete solutions.

We invite you to review this report and, if interested, delve into the actual data collected and presented in Appendix 2.  Make your own analyses from the many comments we collected.  If you would like the raw data in a manipulate-able spreadsheet, contact us.

This report is our gift to our community, in honor of the many people who are living without a home and, like many others, working to end homelessness in Santa Rosa.

To stay in touch and follow the developments regarding homelessness in our community, as well as to request the raw data sheets, please send your email address to homelesstalk@gmail.com


We are grateful to http://sonomacountyhomeless.org/ for hosting our report on their website.

Here is another link to the Homeless Talk Summary Report.

Here is the link to the whole Homeless Talk Report.


Homeless Talk - Citywide Conversations

Visions for Change


RECOMMENDATIONS
(for the full report, go to: http://bit.ly/SRHomelessReport)


Our project produced many recommendations from participants. We’ve categorized some of the highlights below and invite stakeholders to choose any of them to pursue. Based on our analysis of the conversations, the steering committee has created some action steps. The Participant Conclusions below are ideas that came from one or more Homeless Talk conversations. The Steering Committee Action Steps sections are the product of over a year of work attending, analyzing and thinking of practical implementations for the participants’ ideas.


1.  COMMUNITY AND TRANSPARENCY
Participant Conclusions

• There is an untapped reservoir of goodwill and a desire to help homeless people and/or end homelessness in Santa Rosa. Although some people see simple ways to solve homelessness, most see it as a complex issue similar to poverty, healthcare and housing.

• Even prior to the October fires, a significant number of Santa Rosa residents, possibly for different reasons, believed that the situation around homelessness in Santa Rosa is unacceptable. There is strong public support to change the status quo and adopt new housing strategies.

*  People suggested a monthly dashboard on the city website and in local media showing the number of people who are unhoused, newly-housed and other crucial facts about the progress of ending homelessness.

• People see a role for churches, community groups and collaborative efforts. They reported a significant amount of effort and encouraged others to help individual homeless people, as well as to join organizations: to work in food pantries, the nomadic shelter and regular meals.

Steering Committee Action Steps

• Because transparency is a critical aspect in finding solutions that will achieve community support, we encourage the city to implement the Open Government Task Force Report of 2015. We applaud the city’s improved website and encourage them to continue this expansion.

• We encourage the City to budget for the creation and support of neighborhood organizations which could provide regularly held “city-wide conversations” on homelessness, post-fire planning and other issues. This network would allow grassroots and volunteer groups to routinely achieve a broader city-wide dialogue when important issues arise.

• Some organizations bring particular expertise with under-served populations of unique needs and challenges. “VOICES”, a center for marginalized transition-age youth, builds strong support for youth and builds leadership capacity. The “Interlink Self-Help Center” works peer-to-peer with people facing mental health challenges. “Crossing the Jordan” provides housing and support to recovering addicts. In the course of the conversations, we met these groups and believe they could and should play a stronger leadership role. We encourage other groups and leaders to include these organizations, and others like them, in integrated planning and solutions.

• We recommend and encourage residents to engage and participate in the development of the city’s budget and support housing finance initiatives.

2.  HOUSING AND SHELTER

Participant Conclusions

• Many people look to both city and county government for leadership and funding for homeless initiatives, including the production of alternative and standard housing.

•People want “outside the box” thinking and solutions in the use of government land, models from other areas, and the placement of affordable housing across all neighborhoods.

•Some people are looking for rent subsidies and changes to regulations to support renters. Some believe government support detracts from individual success; others are looking at lobbying and advocacy to implement improved protections.

•Informal, unregulated camps of homeless people are a risk both to the environment and the health of those who live in them. People encouraged the police, public works, health department and other government leaders to take both these risks seriously.

Steering Committee Action Steps
• It’s obvious that the fires have redefined the number of homeless and at-risk people within the city. It is important to the community that government and agencies update the homeless census as soon as possible.

• We recommend the City update the Housing Action Plan to reflect the reality of the impact of the fires.

• We find the City’s Housing Action Plan, with a “Housing for All” strategy as a significant step in the right direction. We encourage the city, developers and consultants to hold planning meetings targeted to specific socio-economic groups, before designing and building housing.

• The Housing First philosophy assumes an ample supply of various low-income housing options. Given the additional burden of housing our residents with a decreased housing stock, we support a strategy “on all fronts” with both temporary and permanent housing.

• The fire destroyed approximately 5% of our housing stock. With a lot more people seeking housing and shelter, we all know a dire housing situation has been made worse. We recommend a reevaluation of the Housing First strategy.

• We recommend developing designated temporary safe havens for auto and R.V. parking and safe camping dispersed throughout the city.

• Over time, we encourage the development of high-density, infill development including alternative housing models.

• There is a unique opportunity for the “pre-fire” homeless community to benefit from the resources, and public goodwill marshaled to respond to the fire. As Sonoma County
continues with its rebuilding effort, we believe it is crucial to include representation of
marginalized voices in any setting of priorities.

• There may be a tendency to expedite recovery strategies without much public input. We encourage city and county leaders to beware of sacrificing inclusion for efficiency.

3.  SERVICES AND SUPPORT

Participant Conclusions
• Services are important to people. Many people believe that homeless people don’t know what services are available. Some wished for more and/or different services, including a one-stop service center similar to the post-fire Local Assistance Center.

• Some people called on our community to tackle the complex causes of homelessness,
among them were mental illnesses, lack of housing, lack of a living wage and jobs,
and the frayed safety net.

• There is a desire for more trained mental health workers to help people who are homeless, as well as for emotional help for individuals who support homeless people.

• Many people know there are ways individuals can help, although some experience strong emotions when engaged in direct services. Support and teamwork during initial encounters and early relationship building is helpful.

• Participants encouraged individuals, congregations, and neighborhood groups to interact in small teams in order to get to know and advocate for the unhoused people in their neighborhoods.

Steering Committee Action Steps

• We support and encourage the city, county and service providers coming together in partnership to reach a common vision of the root causes of homelessness and to initiate a cross-sector effort to address them.

• We call on the academic community to utilize their resources to identify effective strategies and evaluate the effectiveness of current practices.


• We recognize that the impact of the “quality of life” policies and ordinances may perpetuate a cycle of homelessness. We believe that behaviors that constitute these offenses are mostly due to a lack of options. Until there are places where all people can sleep safely, use the bathroom, dispose of trash and lock up their belongings, laws criminalizing these behaviors are counterproductive and ineffective.


Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Boulder Model & Update on Berkeley

Greetings!

Berkeley Update
Here's info about what happened in Berkeley.
Adrienne


The two legal papers , a Complaint and also a Memorandum of Points and Authorities were filed on Oct 26 in U.S. District Court for Northern California.  On Oct. 31, a judge denied the temporary injunction but said the case could go forward.

Then, a few of the campers moved to city hall, others moved to Aquatic Park and the camp was emptied.  Below are the newspaper articles.

JUDGE SAYS BART CAN EVICT BERKELEY'S "HERE - THERE" ENCAMPMENT THIS WEEK

The homeless encampment at the “Here There” sculpture in South Berkeley could be disbanded later this week, per a Tuesday federal court order. Judge William Alsup in San Francisco denied the encampment’s request for immediate protection from eviction, but ruled that BART, which owns the land, must give the group a 72-hour warning before kicking the campers out.

The order came a couple hours after the Tuesday morning hearing, but Alsup indicated in court that he would deny the motion for preliminary injunction.

“Judges are sworn to uphold the law,” he said, apologetically, to the homeless residents and supporters in the room. “I wish sometimes the law was more generous to the poor than it already is.”

Although initial relief was not granted, the “Here There” group’s lawsuit, which alleges that BART and the city of Berkeley are violating the campers’ civil rights by forcing them onto the streets, will go forward. Alsup asked both parties to provide him with more information about the campers’ backgrounds and the other options available to them in Berkeley.

Read the entire article here: http://www.berkeleyside.com/2017/10/31/judge-says-bart-can-evict-berkeleys-homeless-camp-week/

BERKELEY HOMELESS CAMP MOVES FROM "HERE THERE" SITE TO OLD CITY HALL
Some other campers who left the Here There site on Adeline Street this weekend moved to Aquatic Park. The group, which considers itself a protest camp and has gone by the names First They Came for the Homeless and the Poor Tour, is splitting in half based on who is able to continue protesting, members said. For the past 11 months, the 20-30 members camped together at the Here There site which is on the Berkeley-Oakland border.
http://www.berkeleyside.com/2017/11/04/berkeley-homeless-camp-moves-site-old-city-hall/








Boulder, Colorado
Sonoma County's ahead of Boulder in many of the changes they are proposing to remodel their homeless system, ahead of them and facing the same problems in implementation.  The Boulder City Council approved their new “Strategic Framework: Emergency Homeless Services & Systems Analysis in June.

It follows the same general concepts we are trying here (coordinated entry, VI--SPDAT, Housing First). It has the same flaws -- not enough money and high expectations of getting people into permanent housing without investment in building new units or having many vacancies in the community.   They have not ended homelessness and don't claim to have even decreased it yet.

They have about 1/2 the number of homeless people as we do in Santa Rosa.
NOTES
-- Coordinated entry with use of VI-SPDAT  (Mention of Housing First).
-- Add 5 new units of permanent supportive housing yearly, 10 in the county at large plus 20 new units of "rapid rehousing" and 50 such units in the county.
--Coordinate County/City with a central oversight group "Homeless Systems Management Executive Board."
-- Using statistics of people in shelter/transitional housing and the January Homeless Census, they try to get better numbers than the Census alone.
-- They talk about Data-Heavy system but are weak in knowing what that is or what it will entail to get one going.
--Get housing for the people who use the shelters most often and make room for people who use shelter beds infrequently.*
--They hope to add more housing units and decrease need for shelter.  But right now, they only have 100 shelter beds and 165 transitional beds for a homeless population of over 2,000.  In 6 years they want to decrease their shelter demand from 177 to 89.  The numbers don't make a lot of sense.
--They want to divert 1200 people from becoming homeless and are looking at a Seattle model.  No figures about how successful that was.  They don’t talk about how they will fund this.
--They are looking for a data management system and considering HMIS or OneHome.  (Someone should tell them how poor HMIS is.)
--They say Napa is a good example they are following, but Napa has no figures of success.

Exhibit B is a criticism of the rest of the paper and it's pretty spot on.  The overall plan makes unsubstantiated claims, doesn't have the money to make the changes and will take more time and effort to put in place than is shown.
------------------
*"...only about 20% of the emergency shelter population is using over 80% of the capacity and resources.  The completed local data mapping efforts confirmed that about 80% of individuals utilizing emergency shelter were averaging 8 nights per year or less in shelter, while about 20% of individuals accounted for the heaviest shelter utilization, with the highest users averaging more than 190 nights in shelter per year."

(This is not what I would expect to find in Sonoma County, but it's a question I've never asked.) Perhaps some of this is "tourist" homeless, people who leave Boulder like many other tourists do, after a short stay.  Or perhaps their data is off.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Grassroots Work During the Fires

Grassroots Work During the Fires
by a local Sonoma County wobbly and DSA member

----

On short notice I can only talk about of my own views, rather than speak for any of the horizontally structured groups I organize with.  I am extremely heartened and inspired by the passion and direct action of my comrades within the International Workers of the World (I.W.W.) and the Democratic Socialists of America (D.S.A.), who immediately stepped up and started organizing both direct aid to people in need and supply chains from such places as San Francisco and the East Bay.  To some extent this has meant giving supplies and volunteer time to officially sanctioned relief shelters in Sonoma County, but more notably it includes "filling the cracks" by helping the marginalized and vulnerable members of our community who spend most or all of their time living on the streets and in outdoor camps; people constantly and directly subjected to the horrible air quality, and who must additionally suffer the neglect of both widely recognized relief and recovery organizations and those which normally provide them services but are currently prioritizing privileged members of the community only /recently/ displaced by natural disasters and the deficiencies of our political-economic system.

We have been scrambling to collect lists of needs expressed both by shelters and those outside of them, and to find ways to fulfill those needs by utilizing both direct fundraising and donations to our organizations and the emergency supplies so generously provided by organizations like the Salvation Army.  We have visited Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Guerneville, Bodega Bay, Windsor, and nearby native communities to gather lists of requested supplies from shelters, camps, occupied areas, and reservations, and to fulfill those requests.  I have been personally amazed and inspired by the level of support, connection, and organization within the communities we have been visiting. There aren't many housed neighborhoods with a dedicated medic, or in which people can tell you off the tip of their tongues the shoe sizes and immediate needs of people five doors down in either direction!

It should be noted that, despite platitudes such as promises that people will not be deported directly from within the boundaries of shelters or asked for proof of citizenship or legal residency as a condition of shelter, many undocumented residents have expressed apprehension about the shelters, and have chosen to avoid them in preference for joining and building safer communities outside.  And we should obviously sympathize with such sentiments given:
  • the horrendous history of persecution of people deemed "illegal" by the state,
  • the constant presence outside shelters of the National Guard, replete with assault rifles, military fatigues, and combat vehicles,
  • direct involvement of the Department of Homeland Security under its guise as the "Office of Emergency Services."

Signs I saw that services provided by organizations such as the Red Cross and law enforcement were not sufficient included:
  • a representative in an official Red Cross vest at the Elsie Allen shelter indicating intention to discriminate based on economic status by telling us (direct quote) "this is not a homeless shelter,"
  • politicians and law enforcement representatives in "town hall" meetings ignoring the community and side-stepping direct answers to questions about curfews and disclosure of the obvious law enforcement involvement of the National Guard (did they simply forget to explain how assault rifles help fight roaring flames?),
  • the fact that Red Cross involvement was confined to shelters, with no obvious outreach to existing communities of homeless residents directly affected by the disaster,
  • direct testimony of people living on the street to the effect that services they had previously been offered in terms of meals and delivery of supplies had ceased,
  • immediate appearance of several portable toilets in Courthouse Square to serve the recently-displaced middle class (despite literally /years/ of attempts to get such facilities available to the homeless population), coupled with the continued absence of such facilities in locations immediately accessible to large communities of people living in camps and on the streets.
The more privileged members of the working class doubtless feel quite well-supported given the degree and immediacy of the aid they have received from the Red Cross and the state. However, they would do well to remember that many of them are now homeless, and possibly only a hair's breadth from suffering the same kind of political, economic, and social discrimination that their brothers and sisters outside on the streets have experienced for a very long time.  This—and the weeks, months, and years of recovery to come—should act as a wake up call, reminding us all that /an injury to one is an injury to all/.  Watch in the coming days as the flames and evacuations die down and the state-provided and state-sanctioned relief evaporate in the wind.  Shelters will quickly shut down, as they have already begun to do even as the fires still burn and evacuations continue. Businesses which haven't already will return to their usual profit-driven operation.  Unless there is tremendous intervention of activists from the community, housing will be in more dire need than ever and vulture developers, landlords, and other capitalists will swoop in.  Insurance claims will be denied in frightening numbers, and "low-interest loans" will proliferate the amount of personal debt residents must contend with.  FEMA will deny help to people who cannot demonstrate their "legality" to the state, despite their being as victimized by this disaster as anyone else. People who cannot afford or do not want corporate, for-profit recovery services will be kept from their property, denied both the necessary services and the training, supplies, and freedom to do it themselves.

I am committed not just to immediate relief but to long-term solutions, and I am confident that the individual activists and grassroots organizations I am organizing with share that commitment: while the state has been trying very hard—particularly in the midst and wake of disasters such as this one—to co-opt the term "mutual aid" for its own oppressive and divisive services, we will fight hard in our communities to ensure that the /real/ mutual aid practiced by their members for each other in horizontal and altruistic fashion is recognized, preserved, and strengthened; we will reinforce our ties to organizations that provide information and aid directly and through sites like https://sonomacounty.recovers.org; we will continue to provide aid ourselves, and encourage others to self-organize mutual aid networks of their own; we will continue the tradition of building intersectional support and solidarity across the whole working class, and build a society we can /all/ be proud of and benefit from.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

101 Encampment

Alicia   
 Tesla had already been counting, as per Victoria, so she has gotten 54 every night for the last 7 nights.  One lady has had a spinal tap and she is having issue with flys on her bandage.  Another elderly gentleman was dropped off last night by cab from the hospital.  He has his leg in a cast and uses a walker.  I am going to have to do a APS report there on monday.
 
Also she wanted to let us know that the cops were stopping by at 3am  for the last couple of nights and harassing the guys across the street about the bikes, taking down numbers and all, trying to pin a theft charge on them.  
  Report for Saturday, 10/30/17     Anita


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Talking with those living at the 6th Street 101 Underpass.


Last Thursday, at the Homeless Action meeting held at the Palms Inn, William volunteered to tak to those living at the underpass at 6th Street and 101 in Santa Rosa.  Here is his report:


William:
As my msg said 20 surveyed
 
I asked: "how long homeless"....
(some extrodenary #s... )
Some with housing vouchers... 
Some vets...
 
I asked: "why this particular location (under the bridge) the proximity to CC and Mission Topped the list..
Followed by Safety and community.
 
I asked also :"do you have a safe dry place to go if the area is swept away more purmanantly...
 
The answer was mostly NO... Most said they guessed they would find another place... But did not really know where...
 
Aditional comments were things like...
"They were not a "group", they were individual Human beings"
 
People fealt community/peer support huddled under the bridge. 
Women fealt safer... 
Men mostly clearly PTSD.
 
Not All were dual diagnosed... 
But mostly...
 
Some NOT into drugs or alcohol...
Some were there to use and score...
 
ALL had mental heath issues... 
(I directed several to the rocksy shuttle to wellness center.)
 
My observation was that for the most part it was totally clean.
No trash or butts.
Although one camp had ALOT of bikes and stuff blocking the sidewalk...
Out into the bike lane...

We thank William for his visit and report, and look forward to more of what he learns.