Mar 31, 2017
The Sebastopol City Council approved an agreement to partner withWest County Community Services (WCCS)and affordable housing advocacy organization Group of Advocates (GoA) to begin providing housing and supportive services to the approximately 65 current residents of Village Mobile Home Park (VMHP)as well as for an additional eight homeless or precariously housed Sebastopol-area families at the city-owned property this summer.
The project hopes to reduce the City’s current costs of operational management of the property, while working to create a sustainable housing solution for some 30% of the city’s homeless population. In addition, the project provides for capital improvements to the city-owned Village Mobile Home Park located at the eastern entrance to Sebastopol on Highway 12. The property was purchased in September 2007 with the intent of converting it to a public park. A portion of the park, which had been previously operated as a campground, was converted to Tomodachi Park; the balance of the property continues to operate as a mobile home community as part of the City’s commitment to affordable housing.
In addition to addressing the issue of homelessness in Sebastopol, the project provides for much-needed capital improvements to the VMHP facility, which is an important part of the City’s affordable housing resource. The City Council is proposing to increase the amount it budgets from its general fund for operating the facility from the current-year amount of $75,000 to $95,800 in fiscal 2017-18.
West County Community Services (WCCS) has provided community services for 40 years in the West County area. Current Sebastopol-based programs include providing supportive services at Sebastopol’s Petaluma Avenue Homes, senior peer counseling, a youth diversion program, and counseling at four Sebastopol area schools. WCCS also manages Mill St. Housing in Guerneville and provides supportive services to Fife Creek Commons, also in Guerneville.
The agreement offers the City and community of Sebastopol a cost-effective and sustainable solution to house a significant number of its homeless residents. Continuum of Care data show that, on average, the cost of housing a homeless person in Sonoma County is $31 per day. Expense projections suggest that the VMHP project may provide housing and supportive services to the formerly homeless, as well as supportive services to the other 60+ residents of the park at less than $15 per day. The three program partners, City of Sebastopol, WCCS and GoA, have stated that they are proud to collaborate, and are committed to working together to engage the people of Sebastopol and the donor community to make the project a long term success and serve as a model for other communities.