Sonoma County weighs new options for homeless
By JEREMY HAY THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
January 25, 2014, 3:24 PM The southern tip of the Sonoma County Fairgrounds would be made temporarily available for homeless people to sleep in their vehicles under an emergency plan that county supervisors will consider on Tuesday.
Separately, the supervisors will be asked to approve changes to county ordinances that would make it legal to sleep overnight in vehicles in unincorporated areas of the county. It is now illegal to do that for more than three hours.
The emergency plan, designed for the cold and, normally, rainy season, also includes funding for about 1,000 motel room vouchers to be used over the three month period. It would cost $129,695.
The most recent census of homeless people in Sonoma County, in January 2013, found that of 4,300 people who are homeless countywide, 837 lived in 444 vehicles.
The fairgrounds proposal, dubbed “safe vehicle parking,” would run from Feb. 1 to March 30 and could be extended another month. It would make space for 50 vehicles in a large grassy area formerly used as an RV lot and located between Meda, Brookwood and Linwood avenues, south of the main fairgrounds property.