WHEREAS, the Palms Inn was established in 2016 as a long-term housing solution for military veterans and vulnerable residents experiencing homelessness in Sonoma County; and
CONCERNED, with resident testimony stating dangerous and broadly inhumane conditions maintained for residents, including infestations, mold, violence, and drug trafficking; and
ALARMED, by numerous well-documented resident allegations of abuses of power, threats, coercion, and potential unethical exploitation of public funds by the management and owner of the Palms Inn; and
EMPHASIZING, reports from the Press Democrat explaining that “veterans living at the Palms Inn never received drug counseling, mental health care and other services promised” (Graham and Varian 2019); and
RECOGNIZING, the immediate and life-or-death necessity of safe, quality, and stable housing conditions for all people, especially those dealing with long-term living difficulties after having served our country in the armed forces; now
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Sonoma County Democratic Party supports and adopts the written demands of residents (listed below); and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Sonoma County Democratic Party hereby implores the Board of Supervisors, Santa Rosa City Council, local elected officials and agencies, Catholic Charities, and other governing agencies including the VA, to move immediately in support of the independent investigation of the Palms Inn, as well as the allocation and expenditures of funds dedicated to providing housing for unsheltered veterans; and
BE IT STILL FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Sonoma County Democratic Party will continue to monitor the conduct and actions of the aforementioned groups/individuals regarding the matter, and will retain those decisions as considerable factors in our support moving forward.
“Veteran advocates say Santa Rosa’s Palms Inn homeless housing project worried them from the start.” The Press Democrat, June 4, 2022. https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/news/veteran-advocates-say-palms-inn-project-worried-them-from-the-start/
Demands from residents, without hesitation or delay:
1–The formation of an independent, oversight body with public participation – formed with direct input from the sectors and organizations represented in this letter – to investigate and supervise all aspects of governance and use of funds by the Palms Inn owner and management. This oversight body should also investigate previous evictions, locate those subjected to unjust evictions and provide redress in an offer of housing to them.
2–Conduct comprehensive, independent testing of the water available to the Palms Inn tenants and the mold conditions in their rooms.
3–Require immediately more effective case management and social services provided to the tenants, including more extensive and consistent healthcare, daily check-ins when needed, and more.
4–Move quickly to locate an improved facility/complex to provide decent and adequate housing for the Palms Inn tenants.
5–As soon as viable, shift the contract for social service provision away from Catholic Charities to a more competent and holistic provider, given Catholic Charities’ well-documented failure to meet the needs of the Palms Inn tenants.
Resolution adopted by the Sonoma County Democratic Party on April 11, 2023