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Department of Health Services

Sonoma County Homeless Coalition

For Immediate Release

Board of Supervisors endorses region wide strategic plan to address homelessness

SANTA ROSA, CA | February 01, 2023

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted today to support a five-year strategic plan to reduce homelessness, one developed by the Continuum of Care, the county’s homeless services system of care. The Continuum of Care Board approved the plan unanimously on Dec. 14, 2022.

The plan is a culmination of nearly 18 months of work involving multiple stakeholder forums, public meetings and direct participation by individuals with lived experience in homelessness.

“The plan provides a guided path for the county's actions in addressing homelessness over the next five years,” said Supervisor Chris Coursey, chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. “This is a pivotal step in increasing the housing stock and providing the necessary resources to successfully keep individuals housed.”

Last weekend, the county conducted its annual point-in-time count of people without shelter, providing a single-day snapshot of the homeless population in Sonoma County. The results will be released later this year. Last year, 2,893 homeless individuals were counted during the one-day census taken on Feb. 25, 2022.

The homeless plan has three major goals to reduce homelessness over the course of five years. The three themes are:

  • Add 200 beds to the total number of interim housing beds available in the county and 1,000 permanent housing beds over the next five years. These increases would represent a 29 percent increase in interim housing and a nearly 100 percent increase in permanent beds currently available in the county.
  • Provide stronger supportive services such as expanding mental and physical healthcare, employment and job training, substance use recovery and assistance with transportation.
  • For local government, providers and stakeholders whose work directly or indirectly impacts homelessness to operate out of their silos as one coordinated system.

The plan outlines priorities to help the county and its cities reach these goals. This year, it calls for the creation of 200 new permanent housing units and 100 new interim units. It also would revamp the current process used to prioritize people for available housing, with the goal of achieving more equitable placements for Black, Indigenous or people of color experiencing homelessness.

The plan suggests that more funding be allocated to non-congregate shelters and to help existing shelters add more private spaces. This move can make shelters more attractive to people experiencing homelessness.

To reduce chronic homelessness, the plan aims to significantly expand mental and physical health care services for individuals experiencing homelessness, including those living in supportive housing. It also calls for strengthening the supportive service network by ensuring that pay and benefits for supportive services staff reflects a livable wage for Sonoma County.

Coinciding with the strengthening of the network support system, the plan asks for a redesign of the street outreach model so that all areas of Sonoma County are covered by qualified outreach teams with a triaged response for high-needs clients. The new model will be developed so individuals are known “by name” and case-managed into housing based on individual circumstances.

The Continuum of Care has a 17-member governing board consisting of local elected officials, nonprofit representatives, subject matter experts, and individuals with lived homeless experience. The board is responsible for oversight of funds designated to the Continuum of Care and planning/policy development for addressing homelessness. The governing board acts as the CoC's decision-making group.

For more information on the Continuum of Care Board or to view upcoming meetings please visit the Continuum of Care webpage.

To read the entire Continuum of Care’s 2023-2027 Strategic Plan on Homelessness visit the Continuum of Care’s webpage.

Contact Information: 
Gilbert Martinez, Communications Specialist
575 Administration Drive, Suite 104A Santa Rosa, CA 95403
(707) 565-3040