SONOMA COUNTY (KRON) — Sonoma County officials began the process Wednesday of clearing the two-mile long homeless encampment along the Joe Rodota Trail off Highway 12 in Santa Rosa.
More than 200 people call the encampment home.
Miriam Kachuck says she and her husband have been living along the trail for about a year.
They now live out of a car, but they lived in a tent for five months.
“And it was really really hard. People to bring water in, there was no water, there’s no showers, there was nothing. It was really really hard on us,” Kachuk said.
Sonoma County officials have been debating what to do with the residents of the sprawling encampment for months.
They say part of this eviction is because the trash and debris accumulated there is creating an unsafe and unsanitary situation.
For the last several weeks campers have been given notices letting them know today is the deadline for moving out.
The Department of Health Services have staff on hand working with residents trying to connect them with shelters or services.
Sixty of the most vulnerable are being offered temporary emergency shelter at what’s called the Los Gillacos Village, cottages made up of pallets, recently erected in north Santa Rosa.
“We understand that not everybody wants to access the services that were offering, but we also understand that not everybody needs the same and that’s what we’re here to assess, what each other needs and how we can supply the accommodations or services as the time is coming for them to leave the trail.”
Kachuk says she’s lived in a shelter before and doesn’t trust that she will get the help she needs there.
“They gave us false hope,” she said. “I was at Sam Jones for about four months and I did everything they asked and I never got any of their services, never. There was too many people, they said,” she said.