Pests, mold, prostitution, drugs, violence and break-in’s. Accusations that a once promising permanent supportive housing south of Santa Rosa has descended into squalor.
"What you have at the palms now is you have a, an indoor encampment because the people there are still living like they're homeless."
The words of KaLane Raposa, a resident of the Palms Inn describing conditions at a permanent supportive housing site for homeless people along Santa Rosa Avenue.
On Wednesday, June 15th, Raposa described decrepit conditions and neglect at the Palms Inn. Raposa mainly blamed case workers, accusing service providers of failing to deliver.
"A lot of that falls back on the case managers who never got their clients the help they needed to learn the basic things like hygiene, like daily living skills." Raposa said. "If you don't know how to do those, you're gonna get things like cockroaches and you gotta get things like mold and you can't put that on just property management. And I don't say this in a disparaging way, but a lot of these people, they, they need to be retaught how to live."
Larry Florin, CEO of Burbank Housing, a non-profit that previously managed it, echoed Raposa's concerns. But Florin faulted the building's owner, for failing to make necessary repairs.
"He just didn't wanna spend any money, whatever agreements he had or whatever cash flow he had, he wanted to protect." Florin said. "And so he wasn't willing to spend the money to really bring the property up to what it should be."
Florin said he believes the Palms Inn is no longer habitable.
"I'll be blunt and honest with you." Florin said. "I think we ought to find alternative locations for these individuals who are housed there, places that are safe, that are free of pests, that property should not be used for this function going forward."
In a statement, Akash Kalia, the Palms' owner, said code enforcement violations have been remedied. He said COVID forced a halt to community services, but they've since resumed. Steps, he says, are being taken to increase safety and security, and that Raposa’s complaints would be more appropriately addressed by Catholic Charities the services provider, not property management.