Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Wednesday, April 6th, Homeless Action! News

Hi Everyone,

Upcoming Homeless Action! meetings:
Next Monday, April 11 and the 4th Monday, April 25.
9:30 - 11 am; First United Methodist Church, McMullin Rm,
1551 Montgomery. Santa Rosa.

We had a large meeting yesterday with the Task Force
for the Homeless.  Here's a few of the stand-out

* Camp Michela has to move by May 1 and has
nowhere to go.  County property? Private Property?

*Over 100 more people, including the 19 currently living
at Camp Michela, will have no safe, warm place to
sleep on May 1 after the closure of the winter shelter
emergency spaces.

*On April 1, a crew of community and homeless people
advocated to keep the Guerneville winter shelter open
an additional 30 days. "People have this belief that
homeless people will ruin their neighborhoods or communities,
but when we work together for the benefit of the community
it's a solution. Not just a band aid."  (see Wendy Bignall's
e-mail at the bottom of this message for more).

*The City of Santa Rosa has gathered a list of 30 current
encampments.  They have fostered relationships with
homeless people in the camps and sometimes provide trash
pick up and other resources.  They are being very rational
in looking at each encampment individually, realizing that
each of them provide something valuable to the most

*The Committee on Homeless of the S.R. City Council
meets the third Monday of the month, April 18 at 9 am.
Check at the mayor's office for location.  Santa Rosa's
CHAPP Program allows private individuals and groups
to host indoor, car and/or tent shelter for the homeless on
their property.  Last week, it was extended until May 1.  Now,
it needs to be made year round.

*The County General Services Department has again
refused to allow Homeless Action! to tour and/or do an
independent review of the potential for reuse of the former
hospital buildings on Chanate.

*There are currently 200,000 square feet of vacant buildings at
that site and any construction is years away.  That's a thousand
square feet for each one of the 2,000 homeless in Sonoma
County!  Yet, people sleep in the bushes every night.  Tell the
supervisors to allow temporary shelter at the Chanate property!

We'll take up these problems and move our current efforts forward
at our meeting next Monday.

Tenants won a victory when the Rent Stabilization/ Just Cause
Eviction Sub-Committee of the Santa Rosa City Council approved,
2-1, that a real rent stabilization and just cause policy go to the
rest of the Council.  (Julie Combs and Chris Coursey
in favor. Tom Schwedhelm against).  Next: the Council discussion
and vote to move it forward again. Probably May 10, probably
after 4 pm.

Although this ordinance is moving agonizingly slowly, it has great
promise to allow thousands of local renters to continue to live in
Sonoma County.  It will also be a milestone for tenants statewide as rent
control becomes a mainstream issue for the first time in decades.
The North Bay Organizing Committee is spearheading the work
on it. Davin Cárdenas,

"The average rent for a one-bedroom in San Mateo County
now rents for $2,575 a month."  The article contrasts the cost
of traditional low income housing at $500,000 a unit vs tiny
house cost at $50,000 a unit.  Somewhat inexplicably it credits
Sonoma County as being "ahead of the game by at least 20 years
... when it comes to allowing for the communities."

Sat. April 23, 5-10 pm at the Sebastopol Community Center,
the annual awards banquet will include the members of Camp
Michela who will receive the Community Organization Award.
Congratulations to the hard-working Camp Council, the community
advocates and (especially) the residents who had the courage
to come in out of the shadows, take a public stand and build
a community with each other.

A new report finds that only 31 cheap rental units are available
per 100 poor households in the U.S.  A fresh, grim picture of
our national ongoing affordable housing crisis. (map and report)

I'm looking for some help with this news article.  It says,
"Homeless individuals would be allowed to store a 60-gallon
bin’s worth of belongings — including deconstructed tents,
bedding, clothes, food, medicine, documents and other
personal items — on the sidewalk as long as they are
attended."  People were not allowed any sidewalk storage in
the past.  (You may remember that Berkeley recently said the
homeless couldn't have any belongings beyond a 2-foot
square.)  But advocates opposed the change and there's more
going on here than I could figure out.  Help me, someone...

This project allows homeless people to wipe infractions and fines
off their records so they can get on with their lives.  Most will have
to do some community service.  The homeless court convenes
once every three months and you have to get referred by a social
service agency.  The first session is full, but there's another this
summer.  The grant money to keep this going covers two years.
Contact Georgia Berland for more details:

This program for people whose lives are miserable because of drug
and alcohol use also got a two year grant.  The official name is the
"Serial Inebriate Program."  However, the money for the actual treatment
fell through causing another delay.  It's not an inconsequential amount
since people often need 6 months in-patient care and may need to
repeat the treatment more than once.

There is large savings in emergency room costs from this program, so
here's to the local hospitals paying for the treatment.  Why is drug and
alcohol treatment any different than stroke rehabilitation or cancer
treatments?  A healthy community is a good community for all.

...this effort was a community based outcry ... we have spent the past several months requiring private property owners to come into compliance with trespass and waste management rules and regulations; as well we have spent a lot of time working with law enforcement to enforce the public safety and nuisance rules/laws - the homeless contingent has been working with us on trash pick up as well.  It really has been a true community effort.  Having the homeless put out on the streets with no viable alternative living situation was a loss for our entire community.

I want to be clear so that credit goes where it belongs.  It was a win on many levels, not only for the homeless - I believe this can be publicized just for that purpose ... people have this belief that homeless people will ruin their neighborhoods or communities, but when we work together for the benefit of the community it's a solution.  Not just a band aid.

Stay tuned - we only got a brief stay (a month) - there is still an ongoing effort to identify and create a Managed Homeless Village (yes, that it my new term ...!!) ... all direction and guidance received was enormous and it could have gone very differently without the support - so thank you to all that gave their time and guidance ... best regards - wendy  [Bignall]


Homeless Action! member


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