SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — Santa Rosa officials will be setting up as many as 70 tents to safely house the homeless during the current COVID-19 outbreak in a parking lot at the Finley Community Center in the western part of the city.

The 24,600-square-foot city-owned parking lot at 2060 W. College Ave. will be for temporary use and was expected to operate through the duration of the county’s shelter-in-place order.

The tents will be spaced 12 feet apart for social distancing. Each tent can accommodate one person or a couple. The tents will house people who are not considered at high risk of contracting the coronavirus.

A nearby area will have space for portable toilets, hand-washing stations, meal delivery, on-site management and services coordinated by
Catholic Charities staff. Overnight on-site security will be provided.

“We are moving forward with this emergency temporary measure given the urgent need to protect the city’s unsheltered homeless community as they are some of the most vulnerable to the spread of the coronavirus,” Mayor Tom Schwedhelm said. “This new, managed site offers a safer, temporary option for those who have been living outdoors in situations where social distancing is challenging if not impossible.”

As of Wednesday, Sonoma County has had 286 confirmed cases of the coronavirus during the current outbreak and three deaths.

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