SANTA ROSA (KPIX) – On Monday, Sonoma County will start relocating some of the massive homeless encampment on the edge of Santa Rosa.
The county also issued a January 29 deadline for the removal of that camp and there is no mistaking the deadline. Notices to vacate are posted on every tent, bathroom, and signpost. As for what is actually going to happen next weekend, that is anybody’s guess.
“Well in the beginning I said we’d be here till June,” says Tina, a woman living on Joe Rodota Trail. “So that’s why a lot of people ended up showing up out here, with the confidence that we’d be here until the summer. Then suddenly we got a new deadline so it is a little frantic. A lot of people don’t know where they’re going.”
Of the 200 or more people living on this trail, about 60 of them have a very specific invitation and Tina is one of them.
“I’m going to be going to the single homes that they’re going to have up in Kenwood,” she says. “I think it’s three months to six months. I haven’t gotten all the details, but I have filled out the application and they have told me that they’ll be picking me up on Monday.”
“I’m on the backup list to go to Los Guilicos,” explains Marian, another trail resident. “But if I don’t go there I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
The county has posted notices of legal rights as well as the opportunities for shelter and treatment.
“They have been out here every day,” Tina says of the outreach efforts. “I think that I’ve gotten more help actually being here on the trail than I was in any of the shelters.”
It remains to be seen how many accept those options, and how many simply decide to stay. Neighbors, of course, are long past frustrated. Today, several neighbors said the encampment has become more problematic as the deadline approaches. No one here is sure how the next week will unfold.
“Actually there’s a group of people who are trying to set up another camp like this,” Marian says. “But I don’t know if I want to.”
When asked where, she said she wasn’t sure.