DIFFERENT EXPERIENCES OF HOMELESSNESS:
- Temporary – Individuals whose experience of homelessness is short and who generally do not re-enter homelessness once they are re-housed. Some of these individuals are able to resolve their homelessness on their own, and others benefit from low-income housing and programs that provide short-term financial assistance to help them get re-housed.
- Episodic – Individuals who enter, exit and re-enter homelessness multiple times. Many benefit from low-income housing and programs that provide short-term financial assistance and services to help them get re-housed. Some may benefit from longer-term assistance that can help them maintain stable housing with support.
- Chronic – Individuals who have been homeless for over a year and have a disabling condition. These individuals often suffer from complex medical problems including mental illness, physical disability and/or drug or alcohol addiction that keeps them from finding housing or living safely on their own. This group tends to benefit from long-term assistance that can help them maintain stable housing with support. Chronically homeless individuals made up 19% of Sonoma County's overall homeless population in 2020.

WHAT IS THE CITY DOING?
Cleaning Encampments

The health and safety of our residents is our highest priority. Encampments often create health and safety risks. When that occurs, or when an encampment interferes with the public’s use of public property, creates risks of imminent injury or property damage, or has criminal activity or aggressive behavior from those living in them, the City will clean up the encampment. This includes removal of materials, pruning trees and vegetation, and sorting and storing any valuable items. Our practice includes trying to link those in encampments to services through Catholic Charities Homeless Outreach Services Team (HOST) as a first step when we come across encampments.
Homeless Outreach

City staff work closely with Catholic Charities, a Sonoma County homeless services agency, which provides outreach services to individuals experiencing homelessness in Rohnert Park. Catholic Charities Homeless Outreach Services Team (HOST) go to encampments and engage the individuals living there, providing services specific to their needs and situation. Services include connecting with housing options, getting on shelter and housing waitlists, obtaining government identification, increasing income, connecting with medical, mental health and substance use services, and meeting some of their immediate needs.

Rapid Rehousing and Homeless Prevention
The City is providing $250,000 for Fiscal Year 2020-21 to Catholic Charities to operate a Rapid Rehousing and Homeless Prevention program, which provides financial assistance and support to help people experiencing homelessness get back into a home of their own. A portion of these funds were also set aside for families at risk of homelessness due the financial impacts of COVID-19. Financial assistance can include security deposit, portion of monthly rent for an average of six months, and assistance paying for utilities. Supports include assistance with budgeting and increasing income, and educating on landlord-tenant rights and responsibilities.

Shared Housing
The City is providing $10,000 for Fiscal Year 2020-21 to SHARE Sonoma County to match home-seekers who are either homeless or at-risk of homelessness with home-providers that have an extra room in their house. SHARE matches home-providers with home-seekers and provides support to both parties for the duration of their living arrangement.

Working with Property Owners
The City is providing suggestions to owners of private property, particularly businesses with large parking lots, on how they can address homelessness on their properties. Trespassing laws can be difficult to enforce.

Enforcing Parking Restrictions

The City has established and enforces restrictions on overnight parking in several locations, including our parks. We also enforce the requirement that vehicles not be parked on public streets for more than 72 consecutive hours in the same location.

Homelessness Roundtable
The City convenes a monthly meeting to engage community members who want to be part of the solution to homeless in Rohnert Park. Learn more about the Homelessness Roundtable here.