While the process of constructing the new public/private Homeless System of Care Leadership Council, and its 25-member Technical Advisory Committee is not completed yet, the suggestions from government and providers as to what they want funded began on Monday at the last meeting of the now-defunct Continuum of Care (CoC) Committee.
Held in the Sonoma County Community Development Commission Office on Guerneville Road, the meeting agenda contained an item titled “HEAP Input Session – HEAP Funding Priorities”. Framed as the opportunity for the CoC to advise the new Leadership Council of its recommendations for the expenditure of $12.1 million in available state budget funding for “immediate emergency assistance to people experiencing homelessness or at imminent risk of homelessness”, the discussion wasted no time before identifying project expenditures supporting a wide range of short, medium, and long-term housing solutions.
Kelli Kuykendall, representing the City of Santa Rosa advocated that the funds be used to provide a new roof for the Sam Jones Homeless Shelter. Jennielynn Holmes, of Catholic Charities, advocated for another Palms Inn. Tom Bieri, of Community Support Network, advocated for permanent and supportive housing. Gale Brownell, an unaffiliated member, advocated for rapid re-housing and expanded supportive services. Turning to the only current member of the new Leadership Council, Jennielynn made her pitch to Julie Combs, Santa Rosa City Council member, sitting in the back of the room. Clearly, the lobbying has begun in the effort to carve up the state funds among everyone’s pet projects.
Our Calendar will list every meeting we can identify where members of the public can pitch their preferences to members of the Leadership Council. This next month will be a unique opportunity for our community to increase the understanding of community leaders on the needs for homeless housing and supportive services. Let’s not miss out on the chance.