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Santa Rosa Approves Community Homeless Assistance Program

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Santa Rosa Approves Community Homeless Assistance Program

Santa Rosa City Council approved a Community Homeless Assistance Program (CHAP) to allow property owners to use their properties or facilities for safe parking, safe camping, the placement and maintenance of portable toilets and access to existing bathroom facilities, provision of temporary overnight shelter, and storage for personal belongings. CHAP builds upon a pilot program approved by the Council in October 2015, which ran during the winter months (November 2015 through April 2016). The new program (CHAP) allows for year-round operation and expanded activities such as safe camping under the Council’s recent action declaring a local homeless emergency in Santa Rosa. Eligible property types include those that meet the City’s Zoning Code definition for “meeting facility” such as clubs, lodges, private meeting halls, community centers, religious facilities, civic and private auditoriums, grange halls, and union halls in that these facilities are likely to be equipped to provide these types of services due to their existing use as a public assembly venue.

Interested property owners are required to register their property via a form provided by the Department of Housing and Community Services (HCS). CHAP forms and Guidelines are available at the HCS counter located in the City Hall Annex at 90 Santa Rosa Avenue or on the City’s website at: srcity.org/HOST. The provision of temporary overnight shelter may require completion of an on-site inspection by the Fire Department prior to occupancy. The Fire inspection fee will be waived under CHAP. “The intent of the program is to encourage participation by property owners interested in or already providing these services and to foster cross-sector collaboration to better serve vulnerable populations in our community,” said Dave Gouin, Director of HCS.

HCS will coordinate CHAP with the Homeless Outreach Services Team (HOST), a City-sponsored program operated by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa. HOST is a street outreach team that actively works to engage the unsheltered into services and housing in collaboration with the Police Department’s Downtown Enforcement Team and local service providers including Social Advocates for Youth and Buckelew Programs. CHAP is just one of a number of initiatives currently underway in response to the declaration of homeless emergency and further demonstrates that addressing homelessness is a top priority for the City.