River Community Advocates support DRY Shelters for Homeless
The Community Alliances would like to announce our stance on any proposed homeless service center.
We would like to start by being very clear that we are neither for nor against any proposed service center at any proposed location at this time. We reserve the right to change that position as information changes, specifically after the
when/where everyone's voices can be heard. We are encouraging the community to come up with constructive ideas in the event a service center is opened somewhere within our community. It is our hope to try and change the conversation from a divisive one, to let's all work together and fix this as a community.
IF YOU CANNOT ATTEND: please submit comments and suggestions to Lynda.Hopkins@sonoma-county.org
Here are our initial suggestions River Comunity Advocates would like to see included in any Memorandum of Understanding (M.O.U.) between the county and any service providers that would be tasked with operations of such a facility, if a service center were placed anywhere in the lower river area. Some of these ideas could also be implemented whether or not any new service center is opened.
1. Complete transparency and consideration for ALL community members and businesses needs as an absolute priority. The non-homeless population has been at the bottom of the priority list for far too long.
2. Any potential service center must be restricted to the use of the existing lower river homeless population exclusively. We will NOT support any facility that attracts a larger homeless population to our area.
3. We will not support any service center that is not a clean and sober facility with licensed professional addiction and mental health services. The evidence is very clear outside the “behavior-based” shelter at the Veterans’ hall, and in the surrounding areas all over downtown and lower river area in general, that the “behavior-based” shelter model has had a seriously adverse impact on the community without helping the homeless population deal with their homeless, mental health, and/or addiction problems. If the intent is to solve the problem, we believe this is an absolute necessity. We further believe if another “behavior based” shelter is just going to be placed in another location, the results will similarly be unsuccessful, and the out of control problems will just continue in additional locations.
4. We need additional law enforcement to specifically deal with our unlawful behavior issues within our communities, which have significantly affected the health of our environment and the health of our community to the point of a crisis, regardless of if a new service center is established or not. We mean this to include whether housed or unhoused, and as to not cause a nuisance or adverse/illegal situation for anyone else. No exemptions or excuses for any group. We have been meeting with the Sheriff’s department with this request for some time. We have also started a petition that can be found at various businesses in town, will be available at the town meeting, and can be found in electronic form using this link - https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/we-need-a-dedicated-deputy-at-the-river-for-homeless-issues/signatures.html
5. We want an independent citizen review board to monitor compliance of any M.O.U. between the county and any service provider, as well as to mitigate any neighborhood /surrounding neighborhood nuisance or unlawful behavior situations for ANY service provider facilities in the lower river areas. We want the county to agree that any such board be given the proper authority necessary to promptly and effectively resolve any violations of any M.O.U. agreements and/or nuisance/unlawful situations. We want all residents and businesses to have an effective process for complaint resolution, with no negative impacts caused by any service center in the lower river area to continue to be tolerated or ignored.
6. We will not support any facility that is likely to perpetuate the cycle of substance abuse and homelessness.
7. No registered sex offenders should be allowed at any service center near a school under ANY circumstances. We believe the distance should exceed legal standards and be applied whether on active probation/parole or not.
8. We would like to have a farm and/or jobs program included in any proposal.
9. We would like to suggest a "savings" program in which any client income from state disability or any other source is kept in savings on their behalf with the exception of a minimum agreed upon allowance, so that when they are ready for re-entry they have the means to begin supporting their own housing and other needs.
10. Privacy fencing should be placed around any service center to minimize impact on surrounding neighborhood, as well as tourists.
If you would like to learn more about the Lower River Area Community Alliances, become involved as a volunteer, or if you have some community concerns or solutions you would like to share, you can “like” our Guerneville Community Alliance and/or Monte Rio Community Alliance Facebook pages. You can also contact Mark Emmett at 707-529-0534 (Guerneville) or Chuck Ramsey at 707-239-1639 (Monte Rio).