Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Give Transit Riders
a Place to Sit Down

Dear Santa Rosa City Council and transit authority;

My name is Marji Brunelle a concerned citizen of Santa Rosa and homeless advocate. As a previously homeless person I feel I have some valuable insight into this issue and can bring some pertinent information forward so we may better serve our community. Having reviewed the 2019 Planning Commission Goals as well as traffic engineering's recommendations for improvement; I am sure you too will be interested in better serving our citizenry. 

I am particularly interested in including our homeless US veterans in access to services and community resources. As you may be aware that greater than 70 % of our current homeless population have resided in Sonoma county for greater than ten years prior to finding themselves homeless here, these homeless folks are our neighbors and long time Santa Rosa residents. Many of our homeless neighbors are veterans who have served our country, While Santa Rosa has made some progress in providing free bus rides and the beginnings veterans villages, there are many about 70% of our chronically homeless veterans still being under served and unsheltered.

Of the sheltered veterans temporarily housed at Sam Jones most if not all are disabled to some degree. Many with mobility, balance, endurance and pain concerns. This group of disabled veterans could be better served if they had access to the transit system to access community and social services located in the city center. As you may or may not know the bench at the Bus stop on the corner of Wright road has been removed preventing safe access to the bus system for someone with these mobility and balance concerns.

Beyond the ADA requirements, it just seems humane to provide a bench for folks who may have to wait up to 1.5 hours for a bus into town. These folks may have difficulty asking for and accessing governmental services and it behooves us to advocate for these veterans and neighbors who have served us. Having a vet with severe mobility issues not have a place to sit while waiting for a bus does not seem in line with our goals as set out by the SR city traffic engineers to regularly invest in transportation, roads and infrastructure to protect and sustain our assets. I would suggest that these people are our assets as these are the ones who have protected and served us.)

I think you will agree that this project to replace the bench on the corner of Wright road at the Sam Jones stop is in agreement with the SR planning commission goal to Increase Public Awareness of the overall homeless issues and generate support for constructive solutions particularly to assess the status of certain subgroups including our veterans many of which comprise the group of chronically homeless. Lets help them access the services needed to get housed and access health care. Thank you for your interest.

Marji Brunelle
August 26, 1019

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