As a part of the county’s increased efforts to lower the number of unsheltered individuals in our community, we will review potential sites for increased services during our March 10 board of supervisors meeting.
Of the more than 10 sites owned by the county and other public agencies, the Cloverdale train depot, owned by SMART, and adjacent properties will be a part of that consideration. As your north county representative on the board of supervisors, I will dive into this discussion on Tuesday with my colleagues.
It is my firm belief that we must both expand homeless services and increase enforcement. The policies of this past generation no longer work. We cannot merely play whack-a-mole with this issue.
I am supportive of more indoor-outdoor shelter sites in our county. We need to add more options rather than succumb to our worst fears. Managing this situation is far better than pushing it to another jurisdiction and avoiding our responsibilities.
I do not foresee any Cloverdale sites being selected to serve as county-wide facilities. I do, however, see the further investigation of these areas as having potential to manage the existing and growing homeless population in the Cloverdale area, as we can see daily with the flotilla of RVs on Geysers Road and the issues we face under the 1st Street bridge.
The city of Cloverdale and its partners laudably serve the homeless community at St. Pete’s church every Tuesday, but more must be done to turn the trend-line towards the positive and county resources must be brought to bear.
I recently shared this message with the mayor, the city manager and many of the councilmembers. This site was identified by county staff in a review of public properties. But I also understand people’s concerns. The way the government process works is that all proposals must be discussed publicly.
I encourage all of you to weigh in directly to my office by emailing [email protected]. I also invite you to attend our Board of Supervisors Meeting at 575 Administration Drive in the board chambers this coming Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.
No final decisions will be made at this meeting. Our goal is to take the more than 10 properties that have been identified and give direction to county staff to focus on up to four of them in order to further analyze with community leaders and the public.
The mantra Sonoma Strong cannot be reserved only for our resilience in the face of extreme weather and the resultant droughts, fires and floods. This creed must also embody a willingness to address the two most chronic crises within our midst and control, namely, housing and homelessness.
James Gore is the Fourth District Supervisor.