Could you please let us know the status of Sonoma County’s application to purchase the Sebastopol Inn for permanent conversion into homeless beds. This whole process is shrouded in secrecy and it is very hard for citizens to know what is being imposed on them by our county’s politicians!
You can find details of the challenges faced in Sebastopol and also Santa Rosa, which has the fourth largest ‘homeless’ population in Californian on our
website and on the Citizens for Action Now! Santa Rosa website.
Which is a separate and now partner venture.
We strongly believe that Sonoma County should be using one of the many pre existing sites and campuses they own to immediately get to grips with the homeless situation.
The Santa Rosa fairgrounds could be immediately repurposed to help provide the many vehicle based homeless with sanitation and other basic facilities, and temporary housing erected before the winter. Longer term large campuses owned by the county such as the former hospital on Chanate Road in Santa Rosa could be developed as low cost housing/tiny homes. There is sanitation, power and water on site and the model that has been so successful in Austin Texas could be easily replicated there.
We feel very strongly that removing the only functioning downtown hotel in Sebastopol, (which was recently used for fire evacuations) to use as homeless accommodation is a non starter. We talk to a lot of the local homeless people in Sebastopol and even they think it is a bad idea. It is located on the trail where a huge 250+ person homeless encampment sprang up last year and an RV living local commented to me this week that it would ‘become a tweaker den within six months’.
We are keen to see the county pursue well thought out strategies to help the homeless, and those with substance abuse and mental health problems, but damaging a small town like Sebastopol by removing the only hotel that is a vital part of local hospitality and associated jobs is a terrible idea.
Buying 30 hotel bedrooms to convert to ‘homes’ doesn’t begin to solve the scale of homelessness issues, hurts the small downtown on multiple levels and is yet more evidence of Sonoma County’s complete lack of credible strategies or budgeting for homeless services as evidenced by last year’s civil grand jury report
Thank you for your time and we look forward to receiving details of the status of Barbie Robinson’s Sonoma County application for Project Homekey funding as soon as possible!