Sonoma County supervisors scheduled to vote on housing proposals for homeless

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Tuesday is scheduled to resume the discussion about providing housing for some of the 220 homeless people who have been camping for months along a section of a popular paved bicycle and pedestrian trail between Santa Rosa and Sebastopol. 

The board in December approved spending nearly $12 million to buy or lease housing for the homeless, including dozens of the campers. That effort includes subsidizing leases on property that would include 6-7 units for 20 people within 100 days or less.

The county also would buy up to six multi-bedroom houses that would be shared by 60 people within 100 days or less. The county said on Dec. 30 that it was in negotiations on three houses, reportedly in Santa Rosa and Cotati, with a total value of $3.1 million. The supervisors are scheduled to vote on approving the purchases Tuesday.

The county also would identify two sites for a combination of indoor and outdoor housing, recreational vehicle hookups and safe parking. 

Each site would accommodate about 40 people currently living on the Joe Rodota Trail. The sites would be available in 60 to 180 days, although their location was not available as of Friday afternoon.

The proposals the board approved were made by the county's Community Development Commission and Department of Health Services. 

Residents who live along the Joe Rodota Trail on county land in Santa Rosa and the Citizens For Action Now group have complained about unsanitary and unsafe conditions on the trail, including human waste, discarded needles and recently a rat infestation. 

There also has been opposition to spending nearly $12 million to provide shelter for the homeless, including those who may prefer to live outdoors as a community.

The most recent figures show there are more than 3,000 homeless people in Sonoma County, and another "point-in-time" homeless count is scheduled for Jan. 31.