Welcoming Home’s First Sonoma County Project
On Saturday, Jan 30th, the Sonoma County community came together to fully furnish and equip the homes of two formerly homeless families.
About four years ago, Daniella’s home was destroyed by fire. She then lived in a hotel with her children for three long years, unable to find another place to live. Finally, she was able to find a place in a women’s shelter and just last month was able to move into her own apartment. Gabriella, Emilio and their young child escaped a threat of grave harm and lived in their car and parking lots for the last several months. They traveled hundreds of miles before stopping in Sonoma County, where they found room in a shelter and then, finally, an apartment of their own.
Their next project in Sonoma County will be on March 27th. Email them if you are interested in helping out.
Sonoma County Homeless Data Library
Long-time Sonoma County homeless advocate Gregory Fearon has put together a Sonoma County Homeless Data Library online where he collects and publishes his Public Records Act Request Information from federal, state, and local government. This is an important information resource for those who want to understand the situation and find solutions for homelessness in Sonoma County. [Read]
Spike in COVID-19 Found At Renton Homeless Hotel As King County Homeless Cases Rise
By Scott Greenstone, Seattle Times, December 29, 2020
Since mid-December, 30 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus at a hotel housing more than 200 homeless people in Renton, according to Public Health — Seattle & King County.
Webinar Recording Available – Preparing for the Coming Eviction Crisis: How Communities Can Prevent Eviction & Homelessness During COVID-19
Recorded on Wed, January 6, 2021, 10 am PT
In this webinar hosted by Andrae Bailey, Founder & CEO of Rethinking Homelessness, you can learn how your community can use groundbreaking research and innovative new strategies to prevent widespread eviction and homelessness during the unprecedented eviction crisis facing your region today. [Read more]
Fundraising for Cob of Wood Community Kitchen and Healing Space for the Homeless in Oakland
Our local hero “Sir Cobalot” Miguel Elliott is building a community kitchen and healing space for the homeless in West Oakland with Far Away Projects. The project began on December 10th. He needs your support to continue. Watch the video for details of the project. Please donate
Homeless Mortality Data Toolkit Published
The experience of homelessness has well-documented long-term consequences on health and well-being. However, due to a lack of national review or standardized data collection for homeless mortality, it is difficult to calculate the extent that homelessness is killing people.
In 2019, the National Health Care for the Homeless Council initiated the Homeless Mortality Data Workgroup to unite expertise on homeless mortality reviews across the county. The workgroup includes researchers, advocates, public health department officials, health center leaders, clinicians, government officials, and communities involved in homeless mortality reviews. The group is charged with sharing best practices on how localities carry out homeless mortality work, discussing how to best organize mortality data reports, and planning advocacy work that can be carried out with, and on behalf of, homeless mortality data. [Read]
As Millions of People Face Evictions, Here Is How People are Fighting Back
By Margaret Flowers, Clear the Fog Podcast, Popular Resistance, December 14, 2020
Margaret spoke with two people about what is being done in their communities. They provide examples for others in similar situations. Joey Lankowski is with Food Not Bombs Las Vegas. They are building tiny home communities to keep people sheltered and physically separated when they have nowhere else to go. Then she spoke with William X Nietzsche whose family was victimized by predatory lending practices about what they are doing to keep their home. Many people in the community have rallied around them, building an eviction defense camp around their house.
Judge Issues New Ruling on Santa Rosa Homeless Sweeps Ahead of Key Court Deadline
By Will Schmitt, Press Democrat, December 12, 2020
If a Santa Rosa police officer tells a homeless person camped on the sidewalk or in a public park to move along, does that count as “enforcement“? Santa Rosa and local homeless advocates stand on opposite sides of that question, and a federal judge gave them an answer last Friday. His guidance, essentially: Sometimes, but not always.
Reimagining How We House the Homeless Beyond the Shelter Model
By Daniel Malone, Seattle Times, December 11, 2020
A congregate shelter environment can be deeply stressful for people already living with immense personal suffering and uncertainty. It’s also a perfect environment for a virus to spread.
Plans for Sebastopol Inn Being Discussed at Dec. 15 Council Meeting
By Camille Escovedo, Sonoma West, December 8, 2020
According to a Dec. 8 city press release, county representatives will answer questions regarding the move “and will present plans for next steps, move-in dates and operations” at the Dec. 15 city council meeting at 6 p.m. over Zoom. Residents who want to provide input and ask questions can email
Indigenous-Led Patrol Keeps Peace, Assists People in Inner City
By Chad Powson, Popular Resistance, December 7, 2020
The Sweet Grass Clan patrol was launched last summer through the Aboriginal Front Door Society at Hastings and Main Streets. It aims to establish a community-based, Indigenous-led patrol much like Winnipeg’s Bear Clan patrol, which started small but is now a major presence keeping the peace and assisting residents in inner-city communities.
What Lessons Can Be Learned From Project Roomkey?
By Shannon McConville, Public Policy Institute of California, December 4, 2020
To date, Project Roomkey has provided a hotel room to more than 22,000 people. Governor Newsom recently announced an additional $62 million in one-time state funds to continue the program over the winter, given the current surge in COVID-19 cases. Though Project Roomkey was conceived as a short-term emergency measure, evaluating its impact and that of its successor, Project Homekey, could shed light on long-term strategies for tackling California’s homelessness crisis.
The Living Room Pivots From Shelter to Food
By Ursa Born, Made Local Magazine, December 1, 2020
The Living Room is a day shelter for women and children from Sonoma County who are experiencing homelessness. Once this courtyard was a bustling common area filled with women and playful children. But since COVID, the courtyard has remained mostly empty, as have the outbuildings where classes were held, laundry was washed, showers were luxuriated in, and naps were taken in large comfy barcaloungers—sometimes the only safe, solid rest these women would get.
After Months of Tension Managing Growing Homeless Population, Petaluma Getting More Shelter Resources
By Yousef Baig, Press Democrat, November 30, 2020
The homeless population in Petaluma, Sonoma County’s second-largest city with about 62,000 residents, is growing, according to the latest census figures released last week. In recent years, in the absence of preventive measures, most government contact has been some form of police enforcement. Over the past month, that reality has inflamed tensions between activists and Petaluma officials after evictions were carried out at Steamer Landing Park, and at least four homeless individuals filed claims against the city.
Santa Rosa Apartment Project Moves Forward at Former Water Agency Site
By Will Schmitt, Press Democrat, November 26, 2020
An abandoned government office complex is finally set to make way for affordable housing on West College Avenue in Santa Rosa, where a $60 million apartment project is advancing after years of development setbacks.
Sonoma County Releases Homeless Count as Economic Crisis Drags On
By Will Carruthers, Bohemian, September 25, 2020
On the morning of Tuesday, Nov. 17, Santa Rosa police officers accompanied a private security company in the latest sweep of an encampment within the city limits. All told, an estimated 60 to 80 individuals were removed from a private property owned by the Union Pacific Railroad, a private company, local press and homeless advocates reported.
Oakland Tiny Home Village for Homeless Youth Nears Completion
By Tessa McLean, San Francisco Gate, September 25, 2020
Formerly a decrepit parking lot, this artistic display will soon be the nation’s first tiny home village for youth, as it’s finally set to be completed in December. After delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic (it was originally scheduled to open in July 2020), the project will provide shelter to 26 homeless youth.
Sonoma County Awarded $6 Million State Grant to Buy Sebastopol Inn
By Tyler Silvy, Press Democrat, November 24, 2020
State housing officials have awarded Sonoma County $6.2 million to purchase the Sebastopol Inn for homeless housing, marking the second state-aided purchase of local lodging property in recent months to expand the supply of long-term shelter options.
New York Sued Over Homeless Shelters’ Internet Gap for Remote School
By Barbara Goldberg, Thomson Reuters Foundation News, November 24, 2020
Homeless families and legal advocates sued New York City on Tuesday, claiming a gap in reliable Internet service to 27 homeless shelters where thousands of students were struggling with remote schooling during the coronavirus pandemic.
Doors of Change Upcoming Symposium on Homeless Youth
KUSI, November 14, 2020
A Symposium on Homeless Youth will be held via Zoom on Tue, December 1, 2020 named “From Invisible to Invincible: Success Stories of Homeless Youth” – Ex Homeless Youth that are now a Doctor, Lawyer, Nurse, and Law Student! Register to symposium HERE.
There Are Enough Homeless Students in California to Fill Dodger Stadium 5 Times, Study Says
By Zoe Christen Jones, CBS, October 22, 2020
Well-known Seattle Homeless Shelter, Closed by the Pandemic, Might Never Reopen. Here’s What Will Replace It
By Scott Greenstone, Seattle Times, November 21, 2020
Virus Swells Montreal’s Homeless Camps As Winter Comes
By Jacques Lemieux, Yahoo News, November 21, 2020
Homeless Families Who Occupied Vacant El Sereno Homes Will Now Move Into Them Legally
By Zoie Matthew, LAist, November 16, 2020
“It is terrifyinig to face the reality that people with a full-time job have to have a home inside a tent.”
By Kenneth Dickerman, Washington Post, November 1,6 2020
Houseless Camp: “It’s A Sovereign Place”
By Stewart Huntington, Popular Resistance, November 15, 2020
California’s Roadmap HOME 2030
California’s Roadmap HOME 2030 is an initiative to develop and implement a “Marshall Plan” for statewide housing and homelessness solutions. This 10-year policy blueprint will illustrate how, with the right solutions and the will, we can create a California with homes for all. [Read and sign up for updates]
In Conversation with Richard Rothstein, Author of The Color of Law
This is a webinar recording on November 13, 2020 of a talk by Richard Rothstein, author of The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America is now available. [Watch webinar]
How Santa Rosa Residents Want to Spend the $95 Million from PG&E Wildfire Settlement
By Will Schmitt, Press Democrat, November 12, 2020
Overall, jump-starting affordable housing projects with incentives, repairing roads outside the fire zone and building new parks or fields were among the lowest priorities for respondents. And while about half of survey respondents agreed with using the money on homeless services, that option attracted the highest percentage of negative feedback in the form of people who indicated strong disagreement. The variety of priorities among the Santa Rosa community was reflected in suggestions such as affordable housing projects, mental health services and addressing racism. Some expressed support for spending the settlement money to create sanctuaries for people experiencing homelessness, while others suggested buying homeless people a bus ticket out of town.
City of Santa Rosa Wants Your Feedback!
To help evaluate the Safe Social Distancing Program in the Finley parking lot, the City of Santa Rosa will host a Virtual Community Meeting at 6 p.m. on December 7 to get feedback from neighbors and park patrons. This will be a chance to share your thoughts on the overall operation of the program. Zoom participation information for the meeting will be available soon from the City website HERE.
Unhoused Community Forms Tenants Union
By Jenn Schreiter, Popular Resistance, November 13, 2020
A tenants union was formed this past weekend by unhoused community members who have been living at the Extended Stay America hotel in Bloomington, MN. After a deal for Hennepin County to purchase the building unexpectedly fell through, residents say they are standing up for their rights as tenants.
Andrew Hening Anchor
This California Company Leases Backyards for 99 Years to Build Tiny Homes and Rent Them At Affordable Rates to Fight the Housing Crisis
By Mary Meisenzahl, Business Insider, November 14, 2020
OBY is a housing company that says it can fight climate change and the lack of affordable housing in California at the same time, using tiny homes. The model is that OBY, or “Our Backyard,” rents a backyard in the East Bay for 99 years. On that space, it builds a tiny home, which is rented out at below market rate. The homeowners make $500 per month in income, while OBY agrees to take on any maintenance on the homes and finds tenants.
Los Guilicos Residents Move Back to East Santa Rosa Homeless Shelter Following Glass Fire
By Tyler Silvy, Press Democrat, November 9 2020
In the aftermath of the 67,000-acre Glass fire, which destroyed more than 1,500 structures, including four tiny homes at Los Guilicos, the residents had been displaced, scattered into a variety of living quarters during the past six weeks. Six found permanent housing. At least one relapsed into alcohol addiction. But more than 50 came home Monday as forecast of rain is on the horizon.
A “Common Ground” Strategy to Save Our Economy is written by Bill Barberg, President & Founder of Insight Formation, Inc. who has been responsible for organizing housing summits for solutions to the homeless Crisis all over the country. The next event he is organizing is the SOLUTION SUMMIT for the Housing Crisis on Nov 17-19.
This article explains his conviction that a “common ground” goal of good economic policy is to grow a solid, self-sufficient, and thriving middle class that generates economic value, lifting everyone in our nation. His goal is to reduce disparities, enhance quality of life in all types of neighborhoods, and help our nation grow stronger economically, offsetting the costs of the COVID-19 pandemic, and investing in our future. [Read]
Sonoma County Supervisors Poised To Give Final Approval For Purchase of Hotels in Santa Rosa, Sebastopol to Shelter Homeless
By Tyler Silvy, Press Democrat, November 8, 2020
Sonoma County is poised to spend more than $18 million to acquire Hotel Azura in downtown Santa Rosa and the Sebastopol Inn. While the Board of Supervisors is set to authorize the acquisition of both hotels Tuesday, the Sebastopol Inn deal will remain on hold indefinitely until the county obtains state funding to complete the purchase.
Measure P: Voters Overshelmingly Approve More Power for Sheriff’s Watchdog
By Nashelly Chavez, Press Democrat, November 4, 2020
Sonoma County voters handed a landslide win to advocates of greater civilian oversight of the Sheriff’s Office, expanding the powers and funding of the independent law enforcement auditor during a time of national reckoning over police accountability.
Homelessness: Who Is It Hurting the Most?
By ABC7, November 3, 2020
Depending on where you live in the United States, homelessness can seem like a never-ending problem or an issue that gets blown out of proportion. Geography does significantly affect homelessness, but race, gender, and what someone has done in their past life also play important roles.
2018 AHAR: Part 2 – PIT Estimates of Homelessness in the U.S.
Published by the U.S, Department of Housing and Urban Development, September 2020.
The 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR): Part 2 presents the most recent national estimates of homelessness, focusing on people who experience homelessness as individuals, as family members, and as members of specific subpopulations. For each of these populations, the estimates describe how homelessness has changed over time and provide a demographic profile of homelessness in America. [Read]
- 1,446,000 utilized homeless housing facilities during in 2018
- 945,000 single adults and 501,000 persons in families (approximately 310,000 children)
- 84.8% involed one adult households compared to 32.5% of US population
- 98.8 of adult-only households were single adult households
- 70% of one adult households are male, 30% are female.
- 206,981 (18.2%) have a chronic pattern of homelessness
- 29.7% of single adults exited to PH including family/friends
- 62.3% of families exited to PH including family/friends
- 396,072 persons living in PSH (66% one-adult households, 34% families)
- 105,820 (9.5% of heads) were military veterans
- 22% report a history of chronic homelessness
- 60,092 veterans and 88,392 total persons served by VA SSVF program
This report is the second part of a two-part series. The first part is called 2018 AHAR: Part 1 – PIT Estimates of Homelessness in the U.S.
First-Grader Starts Foundation to Feed the Homeless
By Mike Bush, KSDK, November 2, 2020
At first glance, Paris Williams is just like any other first grader. “Paris is very outgoing, she’s very caring. She likes to be involved in different activities,” explains her mom Alicia Marshall. But how many 6 year olds do you know that have their own charitable foundation?
Helping The Homeless Along River Street
By Cory Lum Honolulu Civil Beat, November 1, 2020
The medical team from the Hawaii Health and Harm Reduction Center is well known among the people who congregate around River Street weekday mornings in Honolulu. Twice a week the nurses tend to wounds, administer flu shots, and order medical prescriptions for Honolulu’s homeless. Since April, the mobile H3RC Wound Clinic has assisted nearly 200 people 600 times.
Homelessness Continues to Significantly Increase in California According to January 2020 Homeless Counts
By Joe Colletti, PhD, Hub for Urban Initiatives, Homeless and Housing Strategies for California, October 2020
Newport Beach Developer Seeking to Buy Sonoma County’s Chanate Road Property Quiet About Development Plans
By Tyler Silvy, Press Democrat, October 26, 2020
As expected, Sonoma County sold this property to the highest bidder which has no plan for development while we desperately need affordable housing in Sonoma County.
A Walk To Remember
Today, under a cool and grey sky, some 30 people came together to remember those who died while living outside here in Sonoma County. Arranged on four tables around a tree in Olive Park were photos of 38 men and women, elegantly displayed with flowers and candles. “These are essential lives and essential memories,” said Natalie Hogan, a healthcare worker. “By honoring them, we are making a stand for change.” For more photos of the event, click HERE.
Olive Park Memorial Honors Sonoma County’s Unhoused Residents Who Have Died
By will Corruthers, Bohemian, October 27, 2020
The event, titled “A Walk to Remember for Those Gone But Not Forgotten,” was organized by members of Sonoma Acts of Kindness, the Squeaky Wheel Bicycle Coalition, Mask Sonoma, Homeless Action!, the North Bay Organizing Project (NBOP), and Health Professionals for Equality and Community Empowerment (H-PEACE) with input from people living on the streets throughout the process. [Read]
Kingwood Students Build Tiny Homes to Help Homeless Veterans
By Matt Dougherty, 12 News, October 26, 2020
High school students in Kingwood are using nails and hammers to help veterans. The teens unveiled their second tiny home Monday they have built for a homeless vet. “I’ve been working on this house for two years,” C.J. Schoettlin, a student at Kingwood Park High School, said. In only 209-square-feet, students were able to fit all the essentials: a bed, dining table and chairs and cabinets. [Read] [Watch video]
We’re Not Doing Enough to Help the Homeless
By Nic Cochran, The Intelligencer, October 24, 2020
What are the main issues keeping people from obtaining permanent housing? Mental health issues, especially substance use disorder (SUD) and developmental/learning disabilities. What is our community as a whole doing to create a lasting and stable solution for our neighbors on the street? Nothing. Increasing rents, lack of access to mental health facilities and treatment for SUD, and poor-paying jobs are all barriers. [Read]
Homeless Community Finds, Returns Boy’s Stolen Bike
By Jennifer Dowling, KOIN, October 23, 2020
A homeless man stole a bike from a boy. The family canvassed nearby homeless camps. The campers they talked to said stealing something from a child was crossing a line. They promised the family they would find Will’s bike and bring it back within 24 hours. And they kept that promise. [Read]
Sacramento Homeless Crisis Seeks Tiny Homes, Communities As Emergency Option
By Velena Jones, CBS13, October 23, 2020
Sacramento City leaders are deliberating an emergency ordinance that allow tiny home communities and tent cities in several neighborhoods. “We cannot build permanent housing fast enough to address the very real, dangerous, unsafe, unhealthy out on our streets. We must have real interim solutions,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg. [Read]
How COVID-19 Helps Us Reimagine the Future of Housing, and The Role Density Can Play In It
By Rachel Lonto, Generation Housing, October 21, 2020
COVID-19 has raised questions about density and overcrowding leaving many of us wondering what cities can do to help improve the public’s health and curb the spread of viruses in the context of housing. Density does not necessarily have a good or negative health impact, but overcrowding does. [Read]
HUD Discussion on Federal Government’s Response to Homelessness – The Federal Government Response to Homelessness hosted by HUD Secretary Ben Carson
Webinar recording, 60 minutes, recorded on 10/21/20
“In a Nation as prosperous as ours, we can work together to lift our neighbors up off the streets and eradicate the threat of homelessness,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “Evidence shows us that current federal programs and policies intended to address homelessness need some serious improvement. The changes presented in the new USICH strategic plan should be implemented quickly so that we can reverse the trends we are seeing in homelessness across some American cities today and lead people back to self-sufficiency.” This roundtable will feature a discussion with homelessness providers, medical experts, faith-based organization leaders, and government officials. [Watch webinar]
The St. Vincent de Paul Free Dining Room will close on November 1st
An announcement was just posted on their Facebook page on October 20, 2020.
Friends & Community Members:
It is with great sadness that the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has decided to discontinue operation of the St. Vincent de Paul Free Dining Room effective November 1st, 2020. The Board of Directors has been weighing this question for years, but finally decided to close the facility during their July Board meeting. The decision was based on declining volunteer and donor interest. When the Kitchen opened back in 1981, it was run almost entirely by dedicated volunteers and required little financial support from donors and net profits generated by the Thrift Store. Since then, as volunteer interest declined, SVDP has had to dramatically ramp up donor dollars to fund paid staff in the kitchen. For over 10 years, the Dining Room has run a loss of varying amounts between $100,000 and $200,000 per year. For the longest time, SVDP covered this difference by digging into its reserves to cover the shortfall. Looking back, SVDP has spent well over $1,000,000 in financial reserves. What’s more, we are now seeing new volunteer-driven grassroots organizations entering the food-provision space, such as Sonoma Applied Village Services (SAVS), Sonoma Acts of Kindness, Sonoma Food Runners, among many other organizations in the area. At some point, any nonprofit must assess its costs, realize its opportunity costs, and face facts when there are others out there who are doing the work more cost-efficiently. That said, there is a good ending to this long-running story. St. Vincent de Paul is in talks with a local all-volunteer food organization that is interested in using the space to continue meal service. Should this partnership materialize, SVDP will provide basic supports, such as the space, utilities, a refrigerated food truck, and cover maintenence costs. This cost-effective partnership will hopefully provide a seamless transition, enabling service to continue. This will be cost-effective and allow SVDP to continue to pursue housing and sheltering the homeless, but allow new organizations to step forward in the food space. Like SVDP aided in the incubation of the Redwood Empire Food Bank in the late 80’s by allowing use of our Rohnert Park warehouse, we hope that this move will help another emergent organization get a toehold and become an impactful force of change.
As for SVDP, we have opened a new home for transitional-age foster youth, and as that program grows, we hope to open more homes like it in the future. We also hope to introduce 54 units of permanent supportive housing this winter by completing construction on the Gold Coin Motel, which SVDP purchased in December of 2019. Finally, SVDP will continue to operate the Los Guilicos Shelter, Non-congregate Shelter at the Fairgrounds, among other programs, such as the Homeless Court, Vehicle Registration Program, and Disaster Services. We are deeply grateful to the innumerable volunteers, staff, and donors who have supported this Dining Room for the past 40 years.
SCV Homeless Experts Look Into Potential Overnight Parking Options
By Tammy Murga, The Signal Santa Clarita Valley, October 21, 2020
“This program would not only provide a safe place for people, but link them with case management services and meals,” said Edwards, adding that it would also need security guard services. “Safety is one of the primary concerns for people on the street.” [Read]
New National Homeless Plan Cracks Down On ‘Housing First,’ Puts More Emphasis On Rehab Programs
By Kevin Fagan, San Francisco Chronicle, October 19, 2020
A new national strategic plan on homelessness is mostly a get-tough document that is already rankling experts and program managers who favor giving hard-core street people housing with few conditions so they’ll stay inside. “The big picture is that the status quo is not working, and homelessness is increasing across the board,” interagency council Executive Director Robert Marbut, who led creation of the 29-page plan, said Monday. “We need change.” [Read]
What is ‘Housing First?” [Watch video]
Expanding the Toolbox: The Whole-of-Government Response to Homelessness
A new strategy plan was released by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USIH) on October 19, 2020. The strategic plan emphasizes addressing the root causes of homelessness and prioritizing trauma-informed care to support the success of each individual and family experiencing homelessness. The plan also focuses on the importance of promoting self-sufficiency across federal agencies as a way of ending the cycle of homelessness and dependency. “The status quo is not working, and homelessness is increasing across the board with many cities in crisis. Real change needs to occur to truly reduce homelessness,” Dr. Robert Marbut, Jr. Executive Director of USICH. [Read]
Marin Still Developing Plan to Shelter Homeless in Winter
By Richard Halstead, Marin Independent Journal, October 19, 2020
Marin County is on the brink of acquiring two commercial buildings to house the homeless, but its plan for winter sheltering remains a work in progress. No decision has been made yet about how the county will provide for emergency shelter for the homeless this winter if the weather turns especially cold or rainy. “Our goal is to get people into permanent housing,” Ashley Hart-McIntyre, the county’s homelessness policy coordinator said. “Too much focus on shelter can really impair our ability to do that, but we also need to make sure people are safe when it is cold and wet.” [Read]
Updated Framework for an Equitable COVID-19 Homelessness Response
The newly-updated Framework for an Equitable COVID-19 Homelessness Response contains the most comprehensive changes to this document to date. The Framework has now been restructured around five Action Areas: Unsheltered People, Shelters, Housing, Diversion and Prevention, and Strengthening Systems for the Future. The new version brings greater focus to the future vision we all need to strive for in our responses, and more clearly expresses the priorities for strengthening systems for the work that lays ahead. [Read]
Shipping Containers in Los Angeles Becoming Homes for the Homeless
By Paul Vercammen, CNN, October 18, 2020
Recycled shipping containers are a cheaper alternative and faster way to provide much-needed housing to homeless families and veterans, and others who may be experiencing hard times, including during the coronavirus pandemic. Builders say shipping containers can easily be moved and stacked, allowing the units to fit varying and odd sizes of land parcels. [Read]
Hard Lives Made Harder by COVID: Homeless Endure a ‘Slow-Moving Train Wreck’
By Anna Maria Barry-Jester and Angela Hart, California Healthline, October 7, 2020
This was supposed to be the year that California finally did something about its epidemic of homelessness. COVID-19 upended that promise. [Read]
Broad Street Ministry Helps Homeless Individuals Cast a Ballot in Upcoming Election
Capital-Star, October 17, 2020
At 60 years old, Weems, who is experiencing homelessness, said he intended to vote for the first time in the presidential election. “I feel like it’s crucial this time to vote because of all the things that are going on in life,” Weems said. “There certainly needs to be a change.” [Read]
Lawsuit and 101 Freeway Underpass Evictions Lead to Shelter For Some
Los Angeles Daily News, October 16, 2020
More than 335 people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles have left the streets and entered housing since June. Of the target homeless populations, shelter has been provided for 20 people previously located within 500 feet of a freeway, 36 indigent individuals aged 65 or older, and 282 otherwise vulnerable people. [Read]
Three Years Later, $38.5 Million for Post-Tubbs Fire Housing Available to Santa Rosa
By Will Schmitt, Press Democrat, October 13, 2020
More than three years after the October 2017 firestorm, Santa Rosa finally has a line on $38.5 million for affordable housing to help rebuild from the Tubbs fire’s destruction. [Read]
Los Guilicos Campus Suffers Bulk of County’s Glass Fire Damages
By Kevin Fixler, Press Democrat, October 13, 2020
Included among the saves were the vast majority of prefabricated metal-framed huts that make up the Los Guilicos Village homeless encampment just north of St. Francis Winery. Only four of the tiny homes, valued at $10,000 apiece, would end up burned to the ground, with two of the adjacent vinyl-sided units also scorched and rippled from the heat of the fire. [Read]
COVID-19 Has Shelter Providers Scrambling To Protect Homeless People Against the Coming Winter Weather
By Scott Greenstone, Seattle Times, October 12, 2020
Like King County, Washington, cold and wet weather is just around the corner. In a typical year, their churches would be opening shelters for those who need to get out of the cold. But many churches are older and not well-ventilated to protect against the virus. [Read]
The County of Sonoma has developed a COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program for renters and landlords – announced on October 14, 2020
Who is eligible?
– Renter Households having trouble paying rent or utilities due to COVID-19 job loss or reduced hours; have a COVID-19 positive exposure or diagnosis. (Households must be at, or below, 80% of Sonoma County Area Median Income).
– Landlords who have tenants behind on rent due to COVID-19 job loss or reduced hours; or have a COVID-19 positive exposure or diagnosis.
Local Agencies include:
– Sonoma Valley FISH Sonoma La Luz Center
– West County West County Community Services
– Santa Rosa Catholic Charities Community Action Partnership
– Windsor & North Sonoma Co. Corazon Healdsburg
– Rohnert Park/Cotati/Petaluma Petaluma People Services
Download a printable flyer – click here – https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/CDC/PDFs/CARES-Flyer/
Researchers Gave Thousands of Dollars to Homeless People. The Results Defied Stereotypes
By Francesca Giuliani-Hoffman, CNN, October 9, 2020
You’ve heard this refrain before — giving money to homeless people is not the best way to help them because it might be squandered, or spent on harmful habits. But a new Canadian study makes a powerful case to the contrary. [Read]
Solutions to Homelessness on Trails
By Taylor Goodrich, American Trails, October 2020
In August of 2020 American Trails held a webinar called “Balancing Recreational Area Use with Homelessness and Vagrancy.” This webinar discussed how the city of Modesto, California dealt with the challenge of homelessness and vagrancy in their parks and trails. These are some key takeaways from the webinar. [Read more] Watch the webinar here [Watch]
Tiny House Nation
This is a series of video documentaries which is into its 4th season with 26 episodes. In “Tiny House Nation,” renovation experts and hosts, John Weisbarth and Zack Giffin, travel across America to show off ingenious small spaces and the inventive people who live in them, as well as help new families design and construct their own mini-dream home in a space no larger than 500 square feet. From a micro-apartment in New York City to a caboose car turned home in Montana to a micro-sized mobile home for road tripping – this is a series that celebrates the exploding movement of tiny homes. From pricey to budget friendly, “Tiny House Nation” is not a typical design show, but one that proves size doesn’t always matter – it’s creativity that counts. [Read and watch full episodes here]
Angela Struckmann to be Appointed as Human Services Director
The Human Services Department is Sonoma County’s largest department with more than 900 staff members and an annual budget of more than $350 million. Struckmann, who joined the Department as Assistant Director in August 2018, has overseen the department’s Human Resources and Information Technology functions as well operations of the South County Center in Petaluma. succeeds Karen Fies, who is retiring after serving four years as director. [Read press release dated Sept 23, 2020]
New Documentary Explores Homeless Camping Issues in Spokane
By Brandon Jones, KREM2, September 30, 2020
A new documentary filmed in Spokane is focusing on the issues that homeless people face. Filmmaker Maurice Smith, “A documentary is not going to solve homelessness in Spokane,” he said. “Hopefully, our documentary will get people’s attention and will get them motivated and involved.” [Read]
In Conversation with Richard Rothstein, Author of The Color of Law
An event organized by Generation Housing and Los Cien, Thursday, November 12, 2020, 6 pm (PT). The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America is a New York Times Best Seller and also received numerous book awards. It is an explosive, alarming history that finally confronts how American governments in the twentieth century deliberately imposed residential racial segregation on metropolitan areas nationwide. Author Richard Rothstein argues with exacting precision and fascinating insight how segregation in America—the incessant kind that continues to dog our major cities and has contributed to so much recent social strife—is the byproduct of explicit government policies at the local, state, and federal level. [Register here]
Other sources of information about Rothstein and his book:
• Richard Rothstein’s lecture at Columbia University, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, September 23, 2019. (1:10 hr)
• Interview at NPR, May 17, 2017
• Article in the New York Times, June 20, 2017
If We Realised the True Cost of Homelessness, We’d Fix It Overnight
The Conversation, September 21, 2020
It’s the story of two Nevada police officers who spent much of their day dealing with homeless people such as six-foot-tall ex-marine and chronic alcoholic Murray. They regularly picked up Murray and drove him to hospital, drying-out clinics, the police lock-up and mental health facilities. Those two Nevada policemen did something that is rarely done anywhere – they calculated (OK, roughly) the cost to the taxpayer of one man’s homelessness. And, in doing so, they showed, as Gladwell pointed out: The kind of money it would take to solve the homeless problem could well be less than the kind of money it took to ignore it. [Read]
She was Homeless and Living in a Store’s Parking Lot. Then the store hired her.
By Cathy Free, Washington Post, September 16, 2020
“We were all feeling empty from the uncertainty of the times,” he said. “All we really have are each other.” [Read]
Ending Homelessness One Step at a Time
By Tianna Kelly, National Alliance to End Homelessness, September 10, 2020
A homeless youth wants to see homelessness ended during his lifetime. He decided to do it one step at a time – walk 550 miles from Virginia to Boston College, document his journey on an Instagram page, and raise funds for the homeless on a GoFundMe page. “I hope people who see my story give the homeless a second thought, and hopefully find it in their heart to be kind to them. I want to see homelessness completely fade away in America, and I will keep finding ways to bring attention to it until the problem is extinguished.” [Read]
A Master Plan for Aging – Goal 2: Livable Communities & Purpose
Published in August 2020, The Master Plan for Aging provides the catalyst needed to prepare for the reality of an older population. To have truly livable communities, California must address the systemic disparities inherent in our built and social environments by intentionally advancing solutions that build toward equity. To be truly livable, communities must value people of all ages, races, and backgrounds and fully integrate them into the social world. [Read] Read the background to the creation of the Master Plan for Aging here.
Webinar Recording – Business Responses to Homelessness & COVID-19: The Good, Bad, and Ugly
An informative webinar organized by the National Homelessness Law Center, September 2020
It is extremely important that homeless advocates learn how to work with businesses. Both sides want to see no more homelessness on our streets even though we approach the end result in different ways. Private businesses can play a powerful role in addressing homelessness. Join us to hear about businesses around the country that have used their influence and resources to help house, feed, and serve America’s growing unhoused population, and business efforts to keep unhoused people safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. You will also learn about the harmful ways that businesses and Business Improvement Districts have contributed to the rise and enforcement of policies criminalizing homelessness. (1:31 hr) [Watch webinar]
House Keys Not Sweeps – A Campaign for Dignity and Respect
By Western Regional Advocacy Project, Homeward Street Journal, September 2020
Over the course of their research into local ordinances and Constitutional protections, each of the interns remarked on how — while technically and theoretically unhoused people maintain rights the state must adhere to — basic civil rights are uniformly ignored, violated, and worked around. Court decisions that are supposed to protect the rights of unhoused people often lead to the opposite outcome: a whack-a-mole strategy in devising schemes to harras with them. People who are unwanted in public because they are homeless are stripped of the straight-forward claim to their right to exist in public spaces. [Read]
Sonoma Developmental Center Specific Plan
The first Community Virtual Workshop for the SDC Specific Plan, the first of five planned workshops, will be held on Wednesday, September 30, 2020. It will consist of a brief presentation about big takeaways from the Background Report and small group discussions responding to proposed guiding principles and brainstorming a vision for the SDC site. [REGISTER HERE]
Background: In 2015, the Sonoma Land Trust and other community members partnered to create Transform SDC, a group committed to identifying future uses of the site and preserving its important ecological functions. Transform SDC held a community visioning workshop in May, 2015. Communication conversations and surveys were conducted and reports published. All project documents can be accessed HERE.
Tent City? Tiny Homes? What’s the Solution to Salt Lake’s Homeless Camp Cleanups?
By Katie McKellar, Deseret News, September 10, 2020
Protesters call cleanups an inhumane ‘Band-Aid.’ County officials say they’re needed to address public health issues. [Read]
Countywide Food Emergency Is Growing
By Rollie Atkinson, Sonoma West, September 20, 2020
The lines at free food giveaways are the longest ever with wildfire victims, thousands of unemployed workers, the chronic homeless, fixed-income seniors and families with school-aged children cued up in drive-thru, no-touch vehicle distribution points. Grocery store prices are high and some food inventories are spotty. Many local community leaders are saying these food-related emergencies will be with us for many more months or years to come. [Read]
Panel Discussion on Report “Cited For Being in Plain Sight: How California Policies Being Black, brown and Unhoused in Public“
Wednesday, September 20, 2020 at 10 am (PT) [REGISTER HERE]
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area is excited to invite you to a panel discussing our new groundbreaking report, Cited for Being in Plain Sight: How California Polices Being Black, Brown and Unhoused in Public.
Police in California issued over 250,000 non-traffic infraction citations in 2019 for offenses that primarily criminalize everyday behaviors such as standing, sleeping, owning a dog, and crossing the street. The result is hundreds of dollars in fines and fees people cannot afford to pay, and, in some counties, warrants and arrests for people who do not either pay or appear in court. This ongoing form of police harassment of Black, Latinx, homeless and disabled people is the cause of ongoing trauma, and enforcement of minor infractions has led to significant police violence.
82 California Public Records Act (PRA) requests were sent to County Courts, Police Departments, and Sheriff’s Departments. Data were pulled data from 8 counties across the state.
Denver, Co. City Arrests and Takes Property Of Homeless People With No Notice
By Jonathan, Western Regional Advocacy Project, September 10, 2020
Today, September 10th 2020, the police arrested two black homeless men – one for being 6 minutes late to move his stuff, the other for supposed threats – after sweeping them from the block. [Read]
$492 Million in Prop. C Money Unlocks for SF’s Homeless
By Annika Hom, Mission Local, September 9, 2020
Some $492 million dollars held in escrow, pending a final legal decision on Proposition C, can now flow to city homeless and housing services after the California Supreme Court today declined a legal challenge to the 2018 ballot proposition. [Read]
Homeless Californians Face New Crisis: Living Outside In Smoke-filled Air
By Vivian Ho, The Guardian, September 7, 2020
“They’re saying people like me with vulnerabilities need to be in a safe place, but I don’t have a home,” Sant’Anna said. “Now I have two hazards to face.” [Read]
Denver District Judge Rules Against Denver County Judge On Survival Ban: The Fight For Survival Continues…
By Jonathan, Western Regional Advocacy Project, September 8, 2020
In December 2019, the Denver County Judge Barahas ruled that the Denver Camping Ban law was unconstitutional – cruel and unusual punishment. The City appealed it to the Denver District Court where Judge Eric Elliff just ruled the opposite – ruling the ban is constitutional. This Judge’s ruling is wrong. This fight will continue to a higher court. [Read]
He Ran Restaurants in Cotati and Petaluma and Now Cooks For Free, And Loves It
By Chris Smith, Press Democrat, September 5, 2020
“It’s my favorite time of the week typically,” Markey said of his regular volunteer shift in the kitchen at The Living Room. That’s the ambitious day center for women and children on Santa Rosa’s Cleveland Avenue. [Read]
Voting Is A Challenge For the Homeless. Advocates Are Trying To Make It Easier
By Justin Wm. Moyer, The Washington Post, September 10, 2020
“It’s really hard to find a politician to stand beside someone homeless and say, ‘This is our neighbor,’ ” she said. “If we still have in most parties an elitism . . . that excludes people who are homeless, that refuses to back their dignity, their humanity, their rights, why would someone who is homeless choose to participate in that process anyway?” [Read]
Candidate List for November 2020 Election
Published by Sonoma County Registrar of Voters Office
A final list of candidates will be posted prior to September 1, 2020. All terms are 4 years, unless specified. (Scroll down for candidates for individual cities and districts). [Read]
Download PDF of Santa Rosa City Council candidates and contact information HERE.
Additional information about District 1 candidates:
– Eddie Alvarez
– Duane De Witt
– Jorge Inocencio
– Elizabeth Valente
Additional information about District 5 candidates:
– Hanna Azmina
– Chris Rogers
Additional information about District 7 candidates:
– Eric Christensen
– Daniela Pavone
– Natalie Rogers
Homeless Californians Face New Crisis: Living Outside In Smoke-filled Air
By Vivian Ho, The Guardian, September 7, 2020
As wildfire smoke chokes the state, residents without shelter or protective masks face dangerous, extended exposure. [Read]
Portland Woman Giving Back to Shelter That Helped Her Transition Out of Homelessness
By Christelle Koumoué, KGW8, September 7, 2020
Christell Smith once battled drug addiction. She eventually lost everything and ended up homeless. One day, she got tired of struggling and decided to change her life. Taking back control started with a connection to Transition Projects, an organization helping people go from homelessness to housing with programs and resources. [Read]
Cooling Center will be opened in Santa Rosa on Sunday and Monday at Steele Lane Community Center
The City of Santa Rosa will activate a cooling center on Sunday, 9/6 and Monday, 9/7 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued an Excessive Heat Warning for Labor Day weekend for Sonoma County, including Santa Rosa, and the City-operated cooling center is being activated to offer residents a place for relief during the heightened conditions. [Read]
Census Workers preparing to Count Homeless People
By Tiffany Tan, Bennington Banner, September 4, 2020
Homeless people are among the population groups that the bureau considers “hard to count,” because they can be hard to locate and contact. Advocates believe these factors lead to their being undercounted in the census. [Read]
The System Is a ‘Revolving Door’ Says Homeless Study
By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, KQED, September 4, 2020
Unhoused people in San Francisco say the city’s system for helping them creates a “revolving door,” shuffling homeless people into shelters and right back out again. The entire homeless system needs to change, they say. Throw it out. Reinvent it. Take police out of the homelessness response entirely, replace overcrowded shelters with service-oriented tent encampments and provide rental subsidies to tenants on the verge of eviction. Those are the top-level findings of “Stop the Revolving Door,” a study conducted of homeless people, by homeless people, who were trained by academics from universities across the Bay Area, including UC Berkeley, Santa Clara University and San Francisco State University. The report was organized by the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness. [Read article] [Read report]
Addressing Homelessness in Oakland
Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley, September 4, 2020
Appointing an administrator is an effort by the City of Oakland to centralize the myriad departments and agencies that intersect homelessness. Like his role coordinating COVID-19 response, Daryel works with human services, housing and community development, public works, fire, and police, and others. At weekly task force meetings, he oversees the entire system and coordinates between departments, making sure they’re keeping lines of communication open and not duplicating efforts. [Read]
With 380 Homeless Sleeping Outdoors in St. Paul, Officials Race To Find Them Shelter Before Cold Sets In
By Mara H. Gottfried, Twin Cities Pioneer Press, September 4, 2020
The city is hiring downtown ambassadors — they’ll be picking up trash, and able to provide people with basic information about where they can find a bathroom or someone to talk with about getting help — and should be on the streets in the coming weeks, Cervantes said. St. Paul is also looking into partnering with a social service provider to open a daytime space where homeless people can take showers, do laundry and meet with case managers, Tincher said. [Read]
Berkeley Mayor Vows to Set Up Sanctioned Homeless Camp as Willard Park Conditions Worsen
By Emilie Raguso, Berkeleyside, September 4, 2020
Six months into the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen an increase in homeless campsites around town, Berkeley is stepping up efforts to tackle problematic behavior and firming up plans for its first sanctioned camp. [Read]
Barstow Community College Students Homeless No More Thanks to Partnership
By Rene Ray De La Cruz, Victorville Daily Press, September 4, 2020
School partners with New Hope Village to address issue affecting 19% of community college students in California. [Read]
Let’s Tackle Homelessness Together. Help Pass AB 1845 Today!
Housing California, September 4, 2020
Assembly Bill 1845 (L. Rivas/Chiu), which establishes a cabinet-level Office on Homelessness, has passed the Legislature with bi-partisan support, and Governor Newsom should sign it. Period. Right now, 13 independent state agencies providing homelessness support and resources have no single point of authority overseeing their activities. It’s wasteful & inefficient. We need one state Office to End Homelessness that will give structure and coordination to California’s currently fractured response to homelessness. [Read]
Native American Homeless Encampment Grows At Haiwatha and Franklin, Community Demands Housing Support
By Jessica Miles, KSTP, September 3, 2020
“You’ve been told so many times and you get shut down so many times you learn to put your head down and walk away you become empty and hopeless,” the woman shared. The County told KSTP, “Increasing access to affordable housing remains the only permanent solution to homelessness. So far in 2020, more than 1,200 people transitioned from shelter or unsheltered homelessness to permanent housing in Hennepin County. We continue to work in new and innovative ways to create and preserve affordable housing in our communities that meets the needs of our most vulnerable residents.” [Read]
We All Should Stand With Our Unsheltered Neighbors
Media Misfits SoCo, September 2, 2020
I was one of the volunteers who came out to help people move their possessions, and I asked the residents I worked with if they knew where they were going to go. Most of them said they weren’t sure. The city keeps proposing solutions that are more hot air than substance, and when new encampments form it’s a matter of time before the cops send another eviction notice. Police and city employees brought construction equipment to destroy any possessions that people couldn’t move with, callously dumping the remnants into enormous metal crates. This is more than kicking a can down the road, this is kicking people when they’re down. [Read]
Coalition for the Homeless Statement on Recent NIMBYism
Posted by the Coalition For The Homeless, September 2, 2020
The Coalition for the Homeless is the nation’s oldest advocacy and direct service organization helping homeless men, women and children in New Yor City. They believe that affordable housing, sufficient food and the chance to work for a living wage are fundamental rights in a civilized society. In a statement published on September 2, 2020, “The critically necessary relocation of homeless individuals from crowded congregate shelters to hotels as a life-saving measure during the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a wave of disgraceful and inhumane NIMBYism from certain members of our community…” [Read]
Fremont Park Eviction
News of the North Bay, September 1, 2020
For the second time in just over a month, unsheltered campers at a downtown park were ordered to vacate by the city of Santa Rosa.The order to vacate Fremont Park came just over a month since city officials ordered half the encampment to leave on July 29th, citing fire hazards.This time the order cited illegal camping on the park site which is public property, and ordered that residents pack up and vacate by 6 am. By midday, a half dozen police officers moved in to insure campers were moving along. The encampment at Fremont Park had grown tremendously since downtown Santa Rosa underpasses were cleared of unsheltered tents in late June. Staff from the city’s Homeless Outreach Services Team, operated by Catholic Charities, were on hand to offer housing assistance. According to those present, a few residents were offered space at Sam Jones Hall, a few others at the Finley social distancing site, and some others at the Sandman Hotel. However homeless advocates assisting on-site say many of those present need special accommodation that was not being immediately provided. Among the organizations assisting unsheltered park campers to relocate and find services on Tuesday were Sonoma County Acts of Kindness and Sonoma Applied Village Services, or SAVS. At present, the city of Santa Rosa operates two main shelter sites, Sam Jones Hall, and the Finley social distancing site on West College Avenue which will operate until the coronavirus emergency ends. During the coronavirus crisis they have also made downtown hotel rooms available to some sheltered individuals considered at greatest risk of COVID-19. [Watch video]
Young Woman Helps Local Homeless Population
By Gregory Pollak, News4 San Antonio, September 2, 2020
Ever since she was a little girl, helping the homeless is something Summer Vinton has always loved to do. She just turned 13 and now she helps the local homeless community with a free little pantry. [Read]
Talks On Hold For Lodi Tiny Homes For The Homeless
By Emily Maher, KCRA3, September 2, 2020
A vote on the location for tiny homes in Lodi to help those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless was put on hold. The City of Lodi received a $1.25 million grant from the San Joaquin County Continuum of Care Homeless Emergency Aid Program. The delay will likely push the project back several months. The city must spend the grant money by June 30, 2021, or lose it altogether. [Read]
CalHome Program Notice of Funding Availability
The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) is pleased to announce the release of the CalHome Program Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for approximately $57 million. Please visit the CalHome webpage for application materials.
Applications are due October 29, 2020 by 11:59 p.m.
Register to attend the NOFA webinar on September 22, 2020, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
People Experiencing Homelessness Can Now Obtain Free Identification Cards
This is a piece of “old” news now valid since January 2016, but it is worth sharing again. Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 1733 into law. Under AB 1733, Californians experiencing homelessness, as defined further in the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, are eligible to receive at no cost, a certified record of live birth or a state-issued photo identification card. Consequently, as of January 1, 2016, a homeless person, child or youth will be able to get a free new or replacement California identification card from the Department of Motor Vehicles subject to several conditions. [Read] Also, visit this California DMV webpage to to apply for a no-fee ID card.
This is a collection of local, regional, national, and international news and media reports on homelessness in the form of an Excel spreadsheet which can view it on your browser, searchable, sortable, with clickable hyperlinks, and downloadable. It is being updated continuously. Please check back often. Click here.