By Kathleen Finigan
On Saturday, attorneys for Roseland’s homeless encampment requested a temporary restraining order with a San Francisco federal court to delay the planned eviction. Alicia Roman, one of the attorneys who recently filed a federal lawsuit fighting the eviction, said, “The county needs time to find a location for the many disabled homeless who can’t go into a shelter. Right now, shelter beds are all that can be provided, except for a few lucky people who got permanent housing.”
According to volunteers from several organizations at the Roseland neighborhood homeless encampment in Santa Rosa, the residents are nervous and upset about the planned Tuesday eviction. Few have any idea where they will go. County officials have provided no alternatives. On Good Friday, Santa Rosa police monitored residents and volunteers who went looking for somewhere else to live; some police "puppy-guarded" property they thought might be likely to be moved to. The next morning, police entered the encampment and asked residents where they were going after they were evicted on Tuesday.
The federal suit, filed in the wee hours of Good Friday, was a response to 4 months of silence in county supervisor weekly meetings, after all the supervisors went on record opposing an eviction without a place for them to go. "We're not moving ahead without a solid plan for people to go,” supervisor Lynda Hopkins said, “and recognizing that plan is not going to be just shelter beds." Yet no plan outside shelter beds has been created. A local coalition of nonprofit experts submitted a proposal to the county to manage an approved encampment of insulated huts, but the proposal was rejected by the county without any counter-offer, resulting in the federal suit.
Sonoma County has until today, April 2nd at noon to present its case for why the eviction should proceed on time. A decision is expected shortly thereafter. Homeless Action, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, is asking citizens to come to the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday at 8:30 am, which is the morning the eviction takes effect.