Santa Rosa is resuming a pilot program, aimed at getting its homeless population off the streets and into permanent housing, that was delayed in the aftermath of October's deadly wildfires.
The city had planned to begin moving people out of an encampment under Highway 101 in downtown Santa Rosa in mid-October, and officials say the encampment has grown from 50 people to more than 70 since the fires hit.
This will be the second homeless encampment the city has worked to clear out this year. This summer, the city says it placed 30 out of 42 people who had been living at an encampment at Farmers Lane and Bennett Valley Road, known as Homeless Hill, into shelters, in addition to clearing 200 tons of debris and trash from the site. The effort is part of a "housing first" model to reducing homelessness that has been adopted by several cities across the United States.
Alsonso Brewer, 58, has been living at the encampment under Highway 101 since before the fire, and he says he’s been on the city’s housing waitlist for years.
“I’m moving nowhere on the list, and I’ve seen other people get moved into these places and they just pass me up all the time,” Brewer said. “They haven’t helped me at all.”