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Santa Rosa to use parking lot as temporary shelter for homeless amid pandemic

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SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KRON) — The city of Santa Rosa announced Wednesday it is preparing to open a temporary city-owned parking lot reserved for the homeless population amid the coronavirus outbreak.

A section of the parking lot at Finley Community Center, located at 2060 W. College Ave., will be used as the managed site and include up to 70 tents. Each tent will accommodate a person or a couple.

The 24,600-square foot parking lot space is located between the Person Senior Wing building and the Finley tennis courts.

The tents will be spaced 12 feet apart from each other to maintain social distancing as recommended by the CDC.

Portable toilets, hand-washing stations, meal delivery, on-site management and overnight on-site security will be provided.

“We are moving forward with this emergency temporary measure given the urgent need to protect the City’s unsheltered homeless community as they are some of the most vulnerable to the spread of the coronavirus,” Mayor Tom Schwedhelm said. “This new, managed site offers a safer, temporary option for those who have been living outdoors in situations where social distancing is challenging if not impossible.”

Unsheltered individuals will be encouraged to move to the Finley Community Center site during the public health emergency to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The site is expected to be set up beginning May 11, with occupancy expected to begin the week of May 18.

The site is expected to operate through the duration of the Sonoma County Health Officer’s Shelter in Place Order. 

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