Homeless person in doorway
Born1945 via Flickr

To better understand the housing crisis in our region, KZYX in Mendocino County is putting a human face on homelessness. Reporter Sarah Reith is listening to people who are unhoused and sharing their stories. We’ll begin today with Sean Jarstrom. He’s recently sober and just wants a little understanding. 

California Update for Monday, April 23, 2018

Apr 23, 2018
Amy Taxin / AP file photo

• California does a poor job of sheltering its largest-in-the-nation homeless population and should provide more funds to solve its growing crisis. Those are findings from California’s top auditor in a report this released last week.

• California political campaigns must submit hundreds of thousands of signatures to the state in the next few days to qualify their initiatives for the November ballot. That’s created a bidding war for the people who collect signatures.

Homeless man
Sara Ristić

On a single night in January, volunteers all over the country participate in a federal program counting homeless people in their communities. This so-called “point in time” count occurs when the weather is at its worst in many parts of the U.S.

In Mendocino County, the count began at 5 a.m. on January 25 at a soup kitchen in the county seat. Reporter Sarah Reith was there.

Tiffany Camhi

First the city of Santa Rosa vacated and cleaned out the tent city at Farmers Lane and Bennett Valley Road, also known as Homeless Hill. Now the city is targeting the Sixth Street encampment under the 101 highway. KRCB’s Tiffany Camhi reports these cleanups are part of Santa Rosa’s new homeless strategy, called Housing First.

H.U.T.S to Shelter the Homeless

Nov 22, 2016
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

Sebastopol artist Harold Wallin had a vision for a simple but solid shelter for homeless individuals. Now he’s leading a team of volunteers who are building ten of them. But where they will go remains to be determined.

Simon Tiles

The Ritter Center in downtown San Rafael is Marin County's major provider of homeless services. But after years of public nuisance complaints from residents and business owners, the center has been in danger of shutting down. To avert that, the city of San Rafael and Ritter are working together to keep homeless services accessible in Marin. KRCB's Tiffany Camhi reports.

Find more information on services provided by The Ritter Center at its website.

A More Robust Homeless Court to Debut

Apr 8, 2016
Heidi Walters, North Coast Weekly Journal

  When a new Sonoma County court program for homeless individuals debuts on Thursday, it will incorporate new partnerships and increased supports for the defendants.

The way these cases are handled within the court system have changed very little since the previous attempts to have Homeless Court sessions locally, says Jose Guillen, Sonoma County’s Court Executive officer. What’s different now is the participation of additional support agencies outside of the courts.

  A significant share of Petaluma’s homeless population are addicted to alcohol or drugs, so a new program there is offering expedited treatment as a first step toward getting housed.

  For some people, says COTS CEO Mike Johnson, a decision to finally seek help and get clean and sober requires some extra pressure, such as the treat of a jail term. And the length of that threatened term makes a difference.

The Sober Circle is still in its early days, and program director Robin Phoenix says there have been a few little bumps along their learning curve.

SMART Roll-out Gathers Momentum

Feb 3, 2016
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  SMART Trains are now making frequent but irregular test runs, creating changes and possible risks along the railroad tracks as they ramp up to starting regular runs later in the year.

   Jennifer Welch is SMART’s new Chief of Police, and for now, represents the entire department. She explains why such a position is needed by the transit operation.

County Sets Parameters for Chanate Redevelopment

Feb 2, 2016
Sonoma County

  A commercial center, new county offices, major street improvements, a sizable park and a variety of new homes and apartments are anticipated in the redevelopment of 117 acres around Santa Rosa’s old Community Hospital buildings. County supervisors unanimously approved a big step toward that vision Tuesday afternoon.

  Due to steep slopes and other considerations, only about a third of the entire Chanate campus is deemed suitable for building. But those sites are ripe for higher housing densities, notes Supervisor David Rabbitt.

Pressing for Action on Homelessness

Jan 19, 2016
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  The drama of Monday’s overnight  “Solidarity Sleep-Out” to raise awareness of homelessness in Sonoma County became a multifaceted discussion of the issue on Tuesday.  

  Events such as those of the past two days not only raise awareness about the issues of homelessness, they also serve to combat inaccurate stereotypes about the people who are shelterless, and how they wound up in that state, notes Georgia Berland, Executive Director of the Sonoma County Task Force on the Homeless.

California Leads the Nation in Homelessness

Nov 27, 2015
Compass Family Services

  It's not just Sonoma County. California as a whole has an enormous problem in homelessness. Suzanne Potter has the numbers.

Homeless Encampment Relocates

Nov 17, 2015
Bruce Robinson, KRCB News

  After 10 weeks in a parking lot next to the empty former offices of theSonoma County Water Agency, a camp of more than two dozen homeless adults made a hasty move move to a new, and much smaller site Tuesday.

Assessing Indoor Air Quality

Aug 25, 2015
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  Indoor air quality problems can be a serious health concern, but they are invisible, and often hard to detect or trace.  On today’s North Bay Report, Bruce Robinson tags along as an old and heavily used building gets checked out by specialized environmental inspectors.

COTS Re-opens Doors to Family Shelter

Jun 28, 2015

This week in Petaluma COTS, or Committee on the Shelterless, re-opens its facility to help homeless families, after shutting its doors three years ago. The shelter is located at 1500 Petaluma Blvd South. 

Public Funds Just Seed Money in Fighting Homelessness

May 5, 2015

County supervisors on Tuesday readily accepted a plan to spend nearly $2.8 million in federal funds on projects to address homelessness and poverty in Sonoma County. But they know the annual grants are not keeping pace with the local needs.

  Since the 2008 recession kicked in, Social Advocates for Youth has recognized a need to reduce their dependence on government funds to support their programs, says Executive Director Matt Martin.

A Plan for Serial Inebriates

Feb 9, 2015

  Frequent substance abusers are costing Sonoma County millions of dollars every year. So a coalition of service providers is examining alternatives to get better results through alternative programs.

  San Diego's Serial Inebriates Program was launched in 1999, says Deni McLagan, that city's Mental Health Services Program Manager. And it was  a police officer, John Leining, who first pushed for a new approach to the problem of chronic public drunkenness, when dispatcher calls to pick up the same individuals over and over had become a large part of his regular patrol shifts.

Resources Expanding for Sonoma County’s Homeless

Sep 28, 2014

  As winter approaches, hundreds of homeless individuals and families in Sonoma County will have some additional resources available this year—although they are still not enough to serve that sizable population.

  Roughly a third of the homeless population in Sonoma County are young people, under the age of 25, so there is a critical need for services tailored for them, says Georgia Berland, Executive Director of the Sonoma County Task Force on the Homeless.

Homeless Survey to ID Most Vulnerable

Apr 7, 2014
Courtesy Flickr user Blodeuwedd. Licensed under Creative Commons

  The worst of the winter weather is past for this season, which is good news for the homeless in Sonoma County. But the people who provide services to that population are already thinking ahead to next winter. Today they’re starting a weeklong process to find out who among the homeless are most vulnerable. Bruce Robinson talks with the coordinator of that effort.

Local Actions Aid Sonoma County's Homless

Feb 3, 2014

  It hasn’t rained significantly, but the continuing cold weather at night is still a hardship for the growing number of homeless families and individuals in Sonoma County. Recognizing this problem, Santa Rosa and the county have taken a series of actions to help, and we get an update on those measures in today’s program. 

Seeking More Options for Sonoma County’s Homeless

Dec 3, 2013

  Frosty nights and homelessness are a bad—sometimes even lethal—combination. But new resources to provide warmth and shelter are slow to come online.

The idea of providing designated parking for people to spend the nights in their cars is new to this area, but Georgia Berland of the Sonoma County Task Force on the Homeless points to a successful similar program in southern California.

Mixed Numbers in 2013 Homeless Count

May 7, 2013

The preliminary results of the 2013 count of homeless people in Sonoma County will be presented to the board of Supervisors this morning. And, as Bruce Robinson reports, the news is mostly grim. 

Peter Connery of Applied Survey Research, which conducts similar studies for other counties and cities in California and beyond, says that despite the worrisome figures in his 2013 for Sonoma County, the programs in place here have helped prevent matters from becoming even worse.

Hotel Petaluma Evictions Prompt Protests

Apr 11, 2013
KRCB photo by Danielle Venton

Big changes are underway at the venerable Hotel Petaluma, as a new owner implements upgrades. But evicted tenants and others contend that the former occupants have gotten a raw deal in the process. Bruce Robinson reports.