Feb 28, 2018
by Mark Emmett, River Community Advocates
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors appropriated $1m in the 2017-18 fiscal year to address homelessness in the Lower Russian River area. $250,000 of that money was granted to West County Community Services by the Board of Supervisors for rapid re-housing. Supervisor Hopkins then convened 16 local experts, stakeholders and community members as the Lower Russian River Homeless Task Force to guide decisions about how to spend the remaining $750,000. $450,000 worth of grants have since been approved.
$221,000 was added to WCCS’ $250,000 for rapid re-housing efforts, totaling $471,000. $100,000 was granted to the Clean River Alliance for trash collection; $58,000 was granted to Social Advocates for Youth for outreach to young adults struggling with a lack of housing; $50,000 to the Russian River Alliance for emergency relief with rent for local workers; and $20,000 to Russian River Area Resources and Advocates for coordination of community efforts to housing access.
Members of the Lower Russian River Homeless Task Force reconvened on Feb. 22nd to look at how to spend the remaining $300,000 in county grant money available for projects related to reducing the homeless population in the area. Members received an update on the current efforts underway by grant recipients, and well as a timeline for allocating the remaining $300,000 in grant money available.Chuck Mottern from CDC gave the Task Force an update on the progress made since the beginning of the year by the grant recipients.
Progress: WCCS reported that they were currently serving 10 households, or 51 people with their rapid re-housing efforts. They have helped place 8 adults and one child into housing, and are working with one other adult who is approved for a housing unit effective March 1st. They have helped 16 adults and 10 children maintain housing, and are “working with” an additional 11 adults and four children.
The Guerneville Community Alliance reported that they have currently served three households, or five adults and one child with emergency rent to prevent them from becoming homeless.
The Russian RiverKeeper/Clean River Alliance reported that they collected 6.94 tons (13,880 lbs.) of trash in the month on January, which included cleaning up the Summer Bridge encampment. They said it was an unusually large amount due to the cold weather and the shelter opening. They anticipate on average cleaning up 2,800 lbs. per month, and are currently working with approximately 38-40 people in the area from Mirabel to Monte Rio.
Social Advocates for Youth reported that they are currently partnering with HOST on supporting a mom and her 20-year-old son, who are currently living in a trailer. They have also contacted 7 young people who have been screened in the last 6 months from the lower river area, three of which are being followed-up with for case management.
RRARA has reconvened monthly meetings among various groups trying to identify housing solutions.
The CDC plans to open another RFP to take proposals from groups to provide services that help with housing or other solutions to reduce homelessness in the lower river area beginning March 5th, with a deadline of April 2nd.
The Task Force will meet again on April 19th or 20th to select their recommendations to the Board of Supervisors, who will review the recommended proposals at the BOS meeting on either May 22nd or June 5th. All vendors submitting bids will be vetted by the CDC staff prior to proposal review by the Task Force.
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