SANTA ROSA (KPIX) — A controversial plan to solve the homeless crisis has people fired up in Sonoma County where officials plan to spend millions of dollars to buy three properties that would be used to house the homeless.
All three properties have one thing in common. They’re big and have multiple units, but many of those units are currently occupied by tenants.
“I’m sure the tenants have been asked to leave,” said Allen Thomas. He lives near one of the three properties, 811 Davis Street in Santa Rosa.
Neighbors said it’s counterproductive to evict renters to house the homeless.
“It’s just insanity,” said Karen Sanders, who also lives in Santa Rosa.
Sonoma County leaders plan to buy two properties in Santa Rosa and one in Cotati. They’ll spend roughly one million dollars for each property. One county worker said they’re already in contract to buy the property on Davis Street.
“Million dollar homes; million dollar homes for these transients living on the trail,” said Sanders.
The county wants to get the homeless out of an encampment on the Joe Rodota Trail. Many neighbors of those three properties worry the new neighbors will bring along crime and other quality of life issues.
“I’m not NIMBY, but we’ve done enough,” said Sher Ennis, a neighbor who lives near the Davis street property.
She said she was attacked in her home by a man from a re-entry housing program years ago. She worries about her safety.
“We don’t know. Are we getting dangerous criminals? Are we getting felons? Or are we getting people who are simply down on their luck,” said Ennis.
Another neighbor supports the county’s plan.
“I don’t think that it makes [the neighborhood] any less safe, no,” said Andrew Atkinson.
He said the county has to act now.
“It’s going to take more than this, I think, to solve the problem. But I’m glad to see they’re trying,” said Atkinson.
Many upset neighbors voiced their concerns at a community meeting Friday night in Santa Rosa. County leaders will talk about the plan to buy the houses and other solutions to house the homeless.