St. Rose Residents for a Safe Neighborhood

Thank you for helping us raise the funds necessary to acquire legal representation in our opposition to the purchase of the Hotel Azura by the County!
After much consideration, the St. Rose Neighborhood has come together to hire legal representation to help in our opposition to the County's plan to convert the Hotel Azura into homeless housing. Our  neighborhood has empathy for the homeless and would be thrilled if there were more facilities available to treat mental illness and substance abuse. However, our neighborhood is already in proximity to the most homeless services of any neighborhood in the ENTIRE COUNTY.  Earlier this year,  the Board of Supervisors pulled the purchase of a nearby house to use for the homeless  with our Supervisor acknowledging this very reason. At the same time, our Santa Rosa City Council unanimously agreed that homeless services needed to be spread across the entire city, not just concentrated in the downtown district that includes our neighborhood.  An editorial in the Press Democrat newspaper agreed with our city council and ran this quote from our district council member, Chris Rogers: “This is a community-wide issue, and it needs a community-wide response. Not just a St. Rose response, not just a downtown response.” Finally, the 2020 Sonoma County Grand Jury concluded that County homeless services need to be geographically dispersed to meet the needs of homeless individuals. (Page 56, Finding #F2): 2020 Grand Jury Report 

Why we oppose the County's proposal to purchase the Hotel Azura:
In July,  without consulting the City or our neighborhood,  the County rushed to submit an application to the state for Project Homekey funds to purchase the Hotel Azura on the edge of our neighborhood. If approved, the Hotel Azura would be used to house homeless during the pandemic with the intention of turning it into permanent housing for homeless. The County plans to use the hotel for 5 years, but the Project Homekey guidelines require any hotel purchased with Project Homekey funds to be used for affordable housing for 55 years. The County has no history of running such a facility and a poor history of running any of the homeless projects and initiatives they have launched in the last 10 years. As a neighborhood already impacted by winter encampments under the freeway and those using homeless services in and near our homes and businesses, we are extremely concerned with the County's decision to purchase the Hotel Azura. Here are some of those concerns.


Safety: The city of Santa Rosa police is already overwhelmed and unable to respond quickly, if at all, to calls from residents. They currently respond to an average of 2 calls/day from the Catholic Charities homeless drop-in center in our neighborhood (940 total calls in 2018). The Palms Inn (a  project the County refers to as a success in their discussions with us regarding the Hotel Azura purchase) generated 800 calls for service in 2018. 2018 Calls for Service Data 

Wrap-Around Services: Who, exactly, is going to provide the services? A recent “no faith confidence” letter was sent to the County from the majority of service providers. 

Sobriety Challenges: Location next to three bars and the freeway underpasses that have encampments every winter is not suitable for those recovering from substance addictions.

Lack of Services: Many of the listed services on the Project Home Key application not actually near Hotel Azura. There are NOT any grocery stores, laundromats, medical facilities, post offices, or libraries in easy walking distance from the hotel. Most bus stops are unsheltered requiring riders to wait for buses while exposed to inclement weather during the winter months.

Pedestrian Safety Issues: The hotel is located at a main intersection causing safety issues for those with mobility challenges to cross desire to cross the busy streets.

Space Limitations: There is very little outdoor space at Hotel Azura and no interior meeting rooms. Where will residents hang out? Space restrictions also will limit parking for service providers, visitors, and others coming to the hotel. Parking in the surrounding area is already a challenge for residents and businesses.

Viability of Downtown Businesses: The city of Santa Rosa was not consulted by the County before it made a decision to purchase the Hotel Azura. The county was aware the city was finalizing a plan to help revitalize its struggling commercial downtown core already impacted by homeless hanging out around their businesses. The corner the Hotel Azura is located on is a Gateway to downtown Santa Rosa. Multiple landlords in the area are losing good tenants due to a high volume of interactions with homeless. They will lose additional tenants if this purchase goes through. Finally, we have very few hotels downtown and using this hotel for Project Homekey means it can only be used for affordable housing preventing it from being used as a hotel again for 55 years.

Residents’ Quality of Life: Residents of the St. Rose neighborhood already experience constant crime, vandalism, trash and unstable individuals (high on drugs, mentally ill, or both) from the homeless population – both those using services and those that refuse services. Funds for insurance requirements for assault and theft are required as outlined in Project Homekey guidelines. This does not make us feel safe. Our neighborhood of young families and seniors deserves to feel safe.
Again, our neighborhood is ALREADY inundated on all sides with services for the homeless. Many of our senior residents have lived here for twenty or thirty years, working hard to maintain our homes. Our seniors have a right to feel safe. We have enjoyed the recent influx of young families and their children. These families have a right to feel safe raising their children in our neighborhood.

These are some of the reasons we oppose the County's planned purchase. We will be using the funds to mount a challenge.


                                          ***Note: Donations will be held in a dedicated account at the Redwood Credit Union.***
  • Chris Gayda 
    • $100 
    • 21 mos
  • T and S 
    • $1,000 
    • 21 mos
  • Paul J. Henderson 
    • $300 
    • 22 mos
  • Frederick Dodge 
    • $125 
    • 23 mos
  • Katie Barr 
    • $200 
    • 23 mos
See all

Organizer

Alexander Mallonee 
Organizer
Santa Rosa, CA