May 10, 2017
By Jeffrey Scott
Effective May 13, non-profit agency North Sonoma County Services (www.northsonomacountyservices.com/) will be known as Reach for Home as it ramps up fundraising to assist homeless individuals and families. The new name, along with a new logo, are designed to more effectively convey the Reach for Home mission to help people in the area who are struggling with, or are at risk of, losing housing.
Reach for Home will formally launch its new identity at the second annual exhibit of student artwork on homelessness at the Paul Mahder Gallery on May 13 at 5:00 pm. Research found the previous name was an impediment to public awareness and fundraising for critical homeless services.
Homelessness in Sonoma County is three times higher than the national rate for similar regions. According to the 2016 Sonoma County Homeless Census and Survey, nearly 3,000 adults and children live in Sonoma County without stable housing.
Sixty-seven percent of the area’s homeless cited high rent as a reason why they could not obtain stable housing. The cost of housing in Sonoma County is 59% higher than the national average. Newly released guidelines from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development show a family of four in Santa Rosa is classified as “low-income” if the annual household income is below $70,500.
“Today our Outreach team serves approximately 220 people daily. They deliver food, emergency equipment and supplies, assist in arranging and providing transportation to medical appointments, and offer guidance on solving crisis situations,” said Tom Hartfield, Board Chair, Reach for Home. “For people without housing, the need for assistance is urgent. In collaboration with the Committee on the Shelterless (COTS - Committee on the Shelterless - COTS) we’ve placed 24 families in the Family Transitional and Rapid Re-Housing programs over the past year. We would like to do so much more. With the help of residents and public and private partnerships, so much is possible.”
“Behind all the statistics are real individuals and families. Our new identity highlights the success people can achieve when they engage in action plans and work hard for positive outcomes, especially learning the life skills needed to attain permanent housing and independence,” said Reach for Home’s Executive Director Colleen Carmichael.
She added, “In early 2017 we received a private grant to conduct stakeholder research and make bold moves based on the results. We learned that although our team is perceived as dedicated and effective, we are challenged by a tendency in the community to deny the existence of the homeless problem along with confusion about our name and a lack of awareness about what we do. This combination limited our ability to raise funds and carry out our programs.”
PHOTO: Tom Hartfield, Board Chair of Reach for Home, and Colleen Carmichael, Executive Director of Reach for Home, are joined by the rest of the Reach for Home staff.
More information about Reach for Home is available at www.reachforhome.org. Reach for Home is based in Healdsburg.
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