General Update: We are on property fencing, grading, piping, trenching, and so much more. No more waiting for permits. I actually got to drive the BIG backhoe and think I found my next career! Really fun. It should not be such a man’s world.
Great News: A very generous friend of HAS lent us enough money to pay off the land and pay for all the work needed to put up the village. It is so exciting. Now we are rushing to get it done so it will be a very Merry Christmas for the most chronic homeless in the Sonoma City Area. The other side of the coin is we continue to need financial donations to pay back the loan and for the day to day operating cost which we estimate to be about $900K per year. I know that is no small pill to swallow.
Client Information: The best thing that is happening is that the homeless are trusting that HAS is actually going to make this happen. They are coming out from the woods (all from the Sonoma City Area) to sign up and finally get into the system. In the last two weeks we have enrolled 26 new clients. My three outreach people have been busy and I am very grateful to Hunter Scott at the COC office in Santa Rosa for being there to help. That said, we can only house 20, but we will increase the wraparound services to now include 82 clients. This of course will increase our operating expenses as we will need to hire a few more case workers and a program’s director. Just think, about half of the known homeless in the Sonoma City Area are talking to HAS and trusting us to work with them. Wow, Pigs Do Fly!!
New Programs: We are so excited about the programs that are coming together. Many are new and inventive such as having a medical team that will be on campus once a week to speak to all clients about chronic ailments and how they can be addressed.
We are working with Bill Schelilien to implement POPS (People Offering People Support) which is a tried and true program for mental health care. It involves getting trained group facilitators to guide group talks. Safe, easy and a way to hopefully stop small issues from becoming emergency room issues. Or worse, suicide by police which was attempted this week.
We are working with the hospital and Sonoma Valley HealthCare Center to establish a protocol that works for our clients and will then cut down on the use of the emergency room. We are working with Andrew Henning, who is the homeless czar, on a team to collaborate about all homeless issues which includes, the hospital, the Sonoma Valley Community Health Center, the police department, the fire department, mental health service providers, and all providers of homeless services. How great will it be to combine resources and best of all brain power? I am a great believer in synergy.
Grants: We are in the process of applying for two county grants and a state grant. We will need this support if we are going to build the permanent facility and have our beautiful dream come true. Kudos to B J Bischoff for leading us through this process and much gratitude to Susan Gorin and Dave Kiff of the CDC for believing.
Community Support: From day one, I said this can’t be done without the support of our Sonoma community. Every day, I am touched by the goodness of this community. There is Bon Marches Anna Bimenyimana who has continuously clothed the homeless, allowing them to shop for themselves with dignity. She also hires homeless individuals and trains them in how to be a good employee. As if that isn’t enough, she also donates a portion of her profits from her personal coffee sales. Her Gorilla Coffee is fabulous if you like a very rich, spicy, smooth, coffee. I’m hooked!
A shout out to Amy and Andy's Cup of Love. Not only do they get high marks for giving coffee and food to the needy but they treat all with respect and kindness. Great coffee as well. Find the by the 76 Station.
Jeff Martinez of the 76 station for his kindness and the tankfuls of gas he donates.
Of course my Sonoma Professionals Share.
Because of donated dental services, 10% of my clients can now eat bagels!! How great is that? A patient of Dr. Forstadt had heard about the work she was doing for Homeless Action Sonoma. He complimented her then gave her money to take another client. That is big, the process is having a life of its own!!!
Dr. Toig will be helping us set up our onsite healthcare protocols.
Yolanda of Personal Imaged has offered to come to the Village as needed to do haircuts.
I have a grief counselor who will do grief groups, a yoga instructor, and a volunteer to do art groups.
Janet Yelner and her fellow artists had an amazing event and made HAS the beneficiary.
Chef Alycia Librie who has catered a couple of events for us and makes the best, yummiest food ever.
Jim Simpson with his knowledge of cars has been wonderful when I have called for assistance.
We now have Gibby and Frank from Cogir who are media/film people and have volunteered to “make the movie”.
Howard Sapper who has Puskpak tours spreads the word on the tours and has offered my team, a team building tour. He is also one of the first 10 people to commit to a monthly donation!
There is the steady stream of friends of HAS who provide our clients with clothing, blankets, pillows, hygiene products. I will name you all one day, just know you are in my heart. The list is growing every day. Thank you Sonoma!!!!
We need volunteers. We need a volunteer coordinator, someone to keep track of everyone who wants to help and can connect jobs with volunteers.
We need another laptop or two for the new office space at 127 East Napa Street. Stop by and say hello.
We need a refrigerator, folding tables, and a closet space for inside the tent. As the tent will also be meeting and group space it will have to be easily reconfigured. We will need desks and chairs for the onsite managers .
We need more house parties. There are still many in the Sonoma City Area who do not know what we are doing or even who we are. We need the whole community onboard to be successful. Have a small neighborhood cocktail party and invite on of my board members or myself to attend. Contact Valli to get a date to have a party. Valli 707 280-2420. (I think Valli probably needs a work phone as well.)
We always need tampons, condoms, and cell phones.
Painting The Houses: It is time for the artists to get together and plan for the painting of the homes in the colors of the Springs. Ted Nordquist is coordinating this area so if interested contact Ted at 707 235-3986 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Project Manager: We are hiring Hector Gutierrez, the Project Manager and Operations Manager who got the SAVS facility in Sebastopol up and running. We are grateful to have such a man willing to come on board. He will be starting October 19 working with my present crew establishing the employee handbook, the tenant rules, and further develop the programs we have going.
Tenants Selected: We have chosen the first 20 tenants already, by consensus. When everyone knows each other it is easily known who cannot survive another winter outside. The clients were great about it. I had anticipated complaints from those who were first in line not getting first in a house. Glad to be wrong.
Property Event: This Sunday we are going to have an event on the property. We will have the photo opportunity ground breaking by dignitaries. The grounds will be blessed by the Native Americans, a local Priest, and Rabbi Steve who will represent the Council of Churches. We will present the construction timeline as accurately as we can. We will talk about what it is going to take to be housing our clients by Christmas. It will be a time for you to see the conception of the physical project and together as a Community we will bless this endeavor. My wish is that every one of you would attend and that you bring a friend or two. That would be a dream come true for me. There will be limited parking on site. Please leave it for those who can’t walk a few blocks. Do not park at Baker and Cook.
Kudos: This month I want to acknowledge an institution that has been following the practices of good inclusive community behavior for much longer than I have been part of Sonoma. I think the finest place for kindness to all, inclusive behavior by all employees, and welcoming to all members of the Sonoma City Area is (drum roll deserving) the Sonoma Public Library. They are the kindest group of people who do such good things for the homeless,( as well as the housed). They treat all people like human beings. My clients tell me it is one of the few places they feel welcomed, and safe. They can use the computers, they can ask for help using the computers, they can charge their phones, they can use a very nicely kept up bathroom, they can hang out and not get chased out or off property, and my favorite is that there are free tampons in the bathroom. May we all learn from the Sonoma Library.
Homeless Action Sonoma, Inc.
Agenda for Sunday October 23rd Event “Our Community Can”
1:00 - 1:30 Meet and greet. The Board will be available to talk with you. There will be snacks and drinks.
1:30 - 2:00 Representatives from the Springs, the City of Sonoma, the County of Sonoma, and the CDC will shovel the symbolic shovelful of soil and a few words will be said.
2:00 - 2:15 One of our clients will read a poem.
2:15 - 2:45 Native American Medicine Man, Father Alvin Villaruel, and Rabbi Steve Finley will bless the ground and the project.
2:45 - 3:00 Annie Falandes - President of Homeless Action Sonoma, Inc. will wrap it up.
Hope to see you all and all of your friends.
General Update: It has been three months since I have sent out newsletter. To those of you who like getting them I am sorry I have not been able to send. First, I got discouraged. How often have I said “We are waiting for permits to move forward” I am sure some of you stopped believing we will ever get them. And second, I sold my house on the east side, bought a condo on the west side: Bought, Sold, Moved, all in one month. Whee. I have got to say that the cat and I are very happy in a much smaller space in a more bohemian neighborhood, walking distance to the square and around the corner from coffee shop and a bar! What could be better.
Great News: We finally have all the necessary permits from the county after paying $35K and waiting a really long time. Once the contractor gives us his final numbers to do the work we will start grading the property!! The amazing part is we just might be on property before Christmas as I promised (Just a year later). The delay was actually good, as we have had time to get more of our other ducks in a row such as the operations side of things. Today I met with a very interesting/helpful man who was the Project/Operations Manager for the Sunshine Village in Sebastopol. He is willing to lend his expertise to us. I also talked to the new team that does data compilation and entry for the COC, VI-SPDAT, HMIS, and probably other acronyms I don’t understand. We had a lovely meeting and they are excited that we are getting on property and are willing to help however they can. We are working hard to form collaboratives with the other non-profits in the valley. This is really exciting as we have come to realize that we can save money by sharing. Everyone wins.
We have also hired BJ Bischoff who is a grant finder and writer extraordinaire! We are so fortunate to have her added to our team.
Client Information: Presently we are working with 56 clients. The young man with his grandfather’s truck has made real progress. One, it is out of my yard, and two it runs, and three it is titled!! Need to get it registered and to pass inspection. His friends Joe and Simon are helping him and he is learning to budget to pay for this. Another one of our clients is now housed and working. Sad news is that there is a gang of young men on bicycles who have beaten up three members of the homeless community. I think that the last time they were caught on camera as they beat up a homeless man in MacDonalds. Don’t know yet: standby.
Client Statistics: Working with Andrew Henning, the homeless czar, we came up with some interesting statistics.
· Of our 56 clients 47 have lived in Sonoma more then 20 years,
· there is only one vet,
· only 9 were willing to leave the Sonoma City Area for housing,
· they all felt that food was not an issue in Sonoma. These are the things we are doing well.
· about half the population used the Emergency Room and the SVCHC for medical needs.
· About half had an EBT card and Medical. These are things we are working on.
· 51 say they are not getting help for mental illness
· 45 are not getting help for disabilities
· 47 have other health issues they are not getting help for
· 44 have suffered or are suffering ongoing trauma
· All clients stated that finances were the #1 cause for their homelessness.
Making a Difference: Dr. Forstadt just called and will take a THIRD client through the Sonoma Professionals Share Program and the amazing Dr. Groff is on his FIFTH (or is it sixth?) It is truly remarkable the good these dentists are doing and how grateful the clients are. Noticed some really nice smiles at the BBQ on Sunday as well as these people able to chew which is big for health issues!!
One of our board members had loaned us the money to get the Home and Safe Village up and running. I can’t begin to express my gratitude. We will start serious fundraising once we are on property to start to pay him back.
Meal Get Togethers: The BBQ’s continue to be good. I can’t wait until we are on property and can have them there. That will be awesome!. We have been meeting at Maxwell Park for the warm months as who wants to be indoors at 5 PM on a Sunday? We give away a fair amount of clothes, Norcan and fentanyl test strips and food. I continue to get donations, thank you, thank you, thank you. I no longer have the big garage, I actually no longer have a garage at all so donations need to go to the new office for now. Contact Valli to coordinate delivery. 707 280-2420.
· I did a presentation at Cogir and it was wonderful to find how much talent is there and how many are willing to help. I am excited to be tapping this great source of volunteers. Thank you all.
· Valli is working on contacting all of you who have voiced an interest in doing volunteer work for HAS. Hopefully she can get a good data base so that we can use all of you more efficiently as we move forward into this construction phase.
· My life is 2-4 meetings a day. They are about learning, fundraising, grant writing, and pushing my poor Project Manager, Steven Telleria to get things done!! If there is a heaven he will go for not cursing me out on a daily basis.
In Closing: We are so much closer and my optimism is coming back. I need to thank my board for getting me through this hard time when I had lost my whole hearted belief and had to move all in the same month. It has been a very tough few months but I think we are through to the other side. Lets hope it is a good side! We will be having an open house once we are on property and I hope I see every one of you there.
Homeless Action Sonoma, Inc.
Volunteer of the three months because she is so terrific. Sierra Nadeau. This young woman has to work for herself but finds time to put on a party for HAS, sell HAS to everyone she meets (and thats a lot) bring in more volunteers than the rest of us put together, do graphic design work for us, and every now and then dare to say "Annie, do it this way." That is the tip of the iceberg for what Sierra has done and we have invited her to do even more by putting her on our Board of Directors. Welcome Sierra and THANK YOU!!
The Dentists of Sonoma Professionals Share - A Salute!!
Can't begin to tell you how much it means to have the Sonoma Professionals Share Program. It is working. Today I would like to tell you about the dentists who participate. They each signed up for one client and they have all either taken a second, third, (Dr. Groff I think is on #4) . It is an amazing process and has worked wonders in so many ways. Chronic tooth pain is excruciating! An ugly mouth is debilitating. Tooth disease is life threatening. Our dentists have worked wonders.
1. Shayla - A young beautiful woman with wisdom teeth infected and painful. Terrified of getting them removed. Dr. McMahon made it painless. She now doesn't have to go to the emergency room every few months to get antibiotics to deal with the pain as there isn't any.
2. Greg - A lovely man whose dentures got washed away in the flooded creek which he was camping nearby. Dr. Groff made him new dentures. He now has his smile back and can sing, which he loves to do. He is an old song and dance man by profession. Greg also has cancer and has been having chemo and radiation treatments. He has lost a lot of weight. He is so grateful to be able to eat solid foods with his new teeth. He feels they have saved his life. He also looks years younger which appeals to his vanity!!
3. Maria - A young woman who has recently gotten a really good job. She is trying to prove herself and works hard wanting to get her and her children housed. Dr. Tom Halliday has been fixing her smile for which she is very grateful. Feels it will help her be more professional looking at work and help her present well when looking for housing. And yes, she is a young beautiful woman and enjoys looking pretty again.
5. Christine - Thanks to Dr. Groff, Christine is getting her teeth replaced and infections cleaned up. She was in pain and needed dental care. Christine feels it will help her get a job as she will be able to present well.
6. Chance - A young man who had mangled front teeth. He now has a beautiful smile and self esteem, Thanks to Drs. Forstadt and Boynton. He is studying to get his driver's licence, has his grandfather's truck he is restoring with help from Sonoma Professionals Share, he is working and thinking when he gets his licence and truck he will start his own landscaping business. Wow. AND, he now has a girlfriend!!!!
7. Barbara - Sunday night Barbara came to me with her hand over her mouth and said "look"! When she removed her hand she had a beautiful smile again. She was almost crying as she told me how amazing it was not to be in such dental pain. She had broken her leg, lost her job, and ended up homeless with chronic tooth pain. She says now she can think about other things besides the pain and how ugly she was. She is excited about getting her life together.
So, you get the idea. The program works on many levels. Tooth pain and infections are very dangerous, unhealthy, and so harmful to both body and soul. This program has given these and others a step in a good direction. They have a bit of hope, a bit of trust, and a bit of self-esteem returned. I can't say enough good about the dentists who are participating and looking forward to other professionals to salute!!
Article in the Sonoma Index Tribune:
Homeless Action Sonoma, Inc.
May 2022 Homeless Action Sonoma Newsletter
● County Requirements Huge Cost Increases: If there is a time we could use a financial boost it is now. We were ready to erect our small home village in January. We had raised the project’s $800K cost from Grants and the Community. We were in the permitting process when things changed. The County would not let us on the property without doing the entire grading of the property for both the temporary village and the permanent facility we were planning to build in the future. This triggered Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association (BASMAA) requirements, which means we had to grade for the 100 year flood. Now it gets complicated. To get a grading permit for BASSMA you need to have design, engineering, and architectural plans complete for the permanent facility as well as the temporary. We hired a dozen experts and went to work. We are working with the water company, PG&E, Caltrans, Sewage, and the fire department in order to install the infrastructure needed when grading the property. We now need to build retaining walls, bioswale, fire hydrants, change the size of the water pipes and install a holding tank for sewage for an overflow in case of flooding. It is daunting, interesting, and very expensive. Our $800K project has gone to a $2.5 million dollar project.
These expenses were in our long term budget but not anticipated until we started the permanent facility. We have completed and submitted our grant request to HomeKey (State Grant). The grant request does include the above cost, but we don’t expect to hear if we will be awarded the grant until something in July. In the meantime we have spent most of the money we had acquired for the temporary shelter and are scraping by with daily donations.
● On a Positive Note: While all this is going on, we are still doing amazing operations work. We are seeing hope and trust in the homeless community due to our programs. With Community Support the homeless are building relationships and learning how to help themselves out of homelessness. Just one example that I am very proud of is that we have an unprecedented number of long term drug and alcohol abusers asking for rehab. I believe they have found hope. Another lovely indication is that a team of homeless people volunteered to clear the property for us. They worked for a week cutting trees and clearing brush, digging out trash, and hauling it all to the dump. Altogether they took 12 full trucks to the dump. They believe together we can succeed and want to help! We saved about $75K by having the homeless community do the work versus hiring a contractor.
● Making a Difference: We have 3 caseworkers on staff serving 52 members of the Sonoma City Area homeless community. That is a fourth of the total number, now on the road to success. Think what we could do with a facility, proper staff, and a fully funded operations budget. We are working in collaboration with many of the Sonoma Valley Nonprofits.
● Working Together : We have joined with 14 other Nonprofits to receive a County Grant to address mental health. We are in discussion with the City of Sonoma to receive funding from them. We received a unanimous vote of support from the Sonoma Valley Community Advisory Commission. We have held 3 neighborhood informational meetings and have received amazing support. The Springs is a very generous and compassionate community. Thank you.
● Fund Raising : I have attached our projected spending through November and as you can see we have quite a large deficit. I am wide open to any fundraising suggestions. Below are some ideas I have. If you can act on any of these items or are just willing to help with fundraising please contact Valli Viera at email@example.com or call me 707 304-0502.
Wineries could commit the proceeds of one or more days of wine tasting to our project.
Hold one or more neighborhood yard sales with HAS as the beneficiary.
Everyone receiving this newsletter could send our Go Fund Me information (https://gofund.me/dd17f501) to all your friends and family telling them you support this mission. If everyone on this list brings in 100$ that is $30,000. Wow.
In Closing: Homeless Action Sonoma, Inc. has a 4 pillar approach: Educate, Innovate, Integrate, Create. We have proven the first pillars essential and successful. Now we are anxious to Create a transitional facility to “end homelessness in the Sonoma City Area, make the movie, and franchise the concept.” We have a filmmaker interested, and we have two sites interested in the concept already!
Homeless Action Sonoma, Inc.
The Below projected balance sheet for the next eight months is attached to give a clear picture of what we are facing.
Volunteer of the month is Doug Loskot who edits and makes this newsletter attractive. He also is my tech support when I have computer issues: even when on vacation in Hawaii. Thanks Doug!!
April 2022 Homeless Action Sonoma Newsletter
· Phase I Project Scope Expanded: With the county grant money had come lots of new requirements. We had planned to do a phased approach with phase 1 being clearing and leveling part of the property and put up the small houses. Then Phase II grading the rest of the property and building the permanent building. The County is requiring us to do an entire BASSMA grading for the entire project. This involved hiring many professionals: architects, structural engineers, water engineers, fire engineers, civil engineers, electrical engineers, an expeditor, a project manager, a contractor, a dry utilities engineer, a designer, and more. We have done all that and have submitted all required requests for permits. We are waiting for the county to issue the permits so we can actually start doing the work. The County has assured us we are on a fast track for review. The county requirements have caused Phase I to go from a $800K project to a $3M project.
· The Good News: We are presently working with 52 of the Sonoma City Area homeless. We have three caseworkers doing really good work. We have 4 clients in rehab or in the process of getting rehab, we have 3 more with dentist appointments, we have housed another 3. Sunday dinners have increased to about 50 meals and friendships are being made. A client needing chemo and radiation treatments is staying with his friend and we have arranged rides for him for his treatments. To save money a crew of homeless volunteers are clearing the property for us. Crew members told me, “it feels good to be part of the process.” Sonoma Optometry has taken their first pro bono client.
· Faces of Homeless Event: We had a very successful event, FACES of HOMELESS, at the Sonoma Community Center in collaboration with SOS, Human Rights Org, Homeless Action!, and SAVS. If you missed it stay tuned as it will be coming out on YouTube!!
· Food Distribution: In collaboration with Whole Foods we get food on Fridays and distribute to the homeless to get through the weekend. We get food from the Redwood Empire Food Bank on Mondays to distribute to the marginally housed on Mondays.
· Building Community: We have submitted for an ARPA grant in collaboration with SVCHC, Hanna Boys Center, The Girls and Boys Club, SOS, Pets Lifeline, School District, La Luz, SCC, and Center 4 Wellbeing. We have been forming relationships with all the nonprofits. We are in talks with the SVJC trades program to get our clients into the trades programs there. We presently have MOU’s with Homes4theHomeless, SAVS, Pets Lifeline, and working on more. We are doing a phone give away this week in collaboration with SOS. We are building community.
· Moving Forward: We will have a Community Question and Answer event at La Luz on April 24th. On April 27th we will be presenting to the Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission (SVCAC). Mary Courtney who is putting on the Showcase House Project has named us one of the recipients of that fundraiser. As soon as we are on property we have arranged for classes in our tent for AA, NA, Homeless Court, Job Readiness, Grief Counseling, Yoga, Risk Reduction, Financial Training, Medical Consultations, and will continue to ask clients what else they would like. The village “Home and Safe” will run as a community with 2 site managers, and 3 case workers on staff so someone will always be on property to help.
· Documenting The Journey: We have recently been contacted by a filmmaker Nico Chavez with OMA Creative, an Oakland-based production company who is interested in our story!
How Can You Help?
More Friends: Come to Sunday dinner and make friends and dine with us. Or volunteer to take a Sunday and cook!! If you would like to volunteer to cook please Contact Ted Nordquist at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteers: We have a need for many different types of volunteers such as fundraising, distributing brochures, recruiting Sonoma Professions to dedicate some of their time, someone to represent us at the COC meetings, and many more opportunities. If you would like to volunteer to help contact Valli Viere at email@example.com
Donated Stuff: We need condoms, tampons, men’s athletic shoes (size 9, 10, 11). We need 22 pillow protective covers. We need 20 of the colorful plastic Adirondack chairs for outside the shelters.
Rides: We need volunteers to take clients to appointments. Greg has at least 2 more weeks of chemo and radiation. Others need rides as well for dentists, doctors, EBT cards, ID’s. Contact Valli Viere at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can provide a ride to one of our clients.
Support our Neighbor: Please stop by Baker and Cook and have coffee and breakfast and lunch. They have been great neighbors and with construction upon them it will be trying times for their lovely patio space. Let them know we sent you.
Money: This project has gone from a $800K project to a $3 million dollar project with the need to do all the grading and utilities for the permanent site before we can install the temporary village. All good in the end, as this was money that we would have had to spend for the permanent structure, but crunch time right now. We have a Go Fund Me campaign going on: Please send to your Facebook or mailing list this link Gofund.me/a5a910ba. Or of course you can donate directly to Homeless Action Sonoma, Inc. P.O. Box 482, Sonoma, Ca. 95476.
Volunteer of the Month: Our volunteer of the month is Rabbi Steve Finley. He has been coming by on Sundays to chat and make friends. Last week he became the dishwasher. Thank you Rabbi Steve!!!
The Director’s Thoughts: It has been a daunting month for us in some ways and in the operations area we have excelled. The short of it is we have finally gotten all the permits needed into the County. There were many roadblocks to overcome, some created by my naivety and others by not having the right team on board from the get go. I feel really bad as I had promised shelter by January, and couldn’t wrap my head around why it was so difficult. I went to visit the Sebastopol project that is up and running and was amazed. They are presently sheltering 28 individuals happily, without city water, electricity, sprinklers, fire hydrants, plumbed bathrooms, showers, grading, or ADA compliance. The cost was less than our original proposal so I learned it can be done and I was not so far off mark. Why can it be done in Sebastopol and not in Sonoma? We are dealing with the Sonoma City Area with the County as our entity and the rules are different. Pending any more unforeseen issues we are hopeful. I refuse to set a date AGAIN as I have been wrong so many months in the past.
We are making a difference: One of our, now working homeless, offered $5K to help out, now that he has a good job. We have trust and are building a team and more importantly building one community. It is not easy. We have had 4 deaths in the last 6 months in the homeless community. Fentanyl is prevalent in everything and killing people. We did a risk reduction class and now have Narcan and fentanyl test strips to help save lives. Think how much better we could do with a facility!
In Closing: Thanks to our loyal supporters, volunteers, professionals who have signed up, donors, and to the homeless who have given us their trust. We can’t do this without all of you. Thank you for your continued support, together we can truly do this.
Homeless Action Sonoma, Inc.
March 2022 Homeless Action Sonoma Newsletter
What’s New. 1St: Along with the county grant money comes some new oversite. This is causing us to make major changes in our plans and schedule. The county is requiring us to grade and prepare the property for the entire project versus our original plan to grade part of the property for the QuickHaven/NewLife small shelters. This involves hiring a civil engineer, fire, Caltrans, water department, and sewage to put in the infrastructure for the permanent facility as well as the small shelters. This includes retaining walls, drainage, trenching for water, sewage, fire hydrants, and power. We have hired the required experts (structural engineer civil engineer, surveyor, architect, and dry utilities engineer), but it will take at a least a month if not longer. We have managed to keep the most vulnerable in hotels through February and are hoping the County will extend into March. We have also hired an expeditor/project manager to get all the needed ducks in a row and submit for permitting ASAP.
2nd: While we work to meet the county requirements we continue to move forward with operations. We have two outreach people working with the clients and have hired a caseworker to get them enrolled in the HMIS Homeless Management Information System). We are presently an Access Point entity for HMIS and we are doing the training to be entry point for CES (Comprehensive Site Access Training). Being Access Points to these systems will help our clients get available government services, as well as being a big plus for future grants. We also are scheduled to get training in risk reduction (avoiding and treating overdose) and Homeless Court. We are getting calls from new clients and have been able to get immediate help for them using available resources.
3rd: We have formed a relationship with the local VFW’s. The VFW will help our clients that are veterans get government help they deserve. They are presently working with two veterans we have as clients.
4th: On March 18th we will have a photo exhibit at the Community Center with a reception where I will speak! Put it on your calendar and join us, it will be a good one. (6-8 PM at Sonoma Community Center).
5th: Sunday dinners are going well, we now have 3 guest chefs taking a Sunday a month. We have been distributing hygiene packages which were donated and COVID home tests. We have a steady supply of clothing which we also give out on Sundays. The best is that we have a working relationship with 48 clients in the Sonoma City Area and are working hard to transition them even without a facility. We have two staff, with life experience, doing amazing outreach work. They have the trust and the pulse of the homeless community and have done much to create trust in our system.
6th: We have put a woman, and her 6 year old son, fleeing domestic violence, in a safe house. We have another young woman who has decided it is time for rehab and is going into a three month facility next week. Chances truck is running, thanks to a volunteer who is helping him and Chance is studying to get his drivers permit. We were able to share COVID test kits with La Luz. We have a client with cancer housed in Santa Rosa while he gets chemo treatment. We have three more dentists for our Sonoma Professionals Share Program and one doctor. We have opened a relationship with SRJC (Santa Rosa Junior College) with the hope of enrolling clients in their trades program. We have a team working with other nonprofits to access ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funding. We have sent a client to Las Vegas to meet up with his brother.
7th: We have met with Continuum of Care to contribute our information for a County Strategic Plan to End Homelessness. We have met with Homes4Homeless to possibly get needed shower and bathroom facilities on property. We have a committee formed to work with other nonprofits to get APRA funding for joint ventures to serve the homeless community.
How Can You Help?
Volunteer : We need more volunteers to distribute brochures, help with fundraising, identify potential grants, attend Sunday dinners and make friends. Contact Valli Viere to sign up. email@example.com.
Professional Services: We always need professionals i.e. doctors, dentists, barbers, etc to volunteer services to at least one homeless person pro bono. If you know a professional ask them if they are willing to help. We are in need of an arborist to help us with the trees on the property. Contact Valli Viere to sign up. firstname.lastname@example.org
Chefs: Guest chefs for Sunday dinners at La Luz. The more guest chefs we have the less each chef has to do.
Money: There is always the need for financial help. You matched and surpassed the $100K challenge grant by generously donating $126K giving us a total of $226K, however the added required engineering and contractor costs for the total grading of the property was an unexpected expense at this point in time. We are also is seeing a rapid expansion of clients. We are working hard on the Homekey Application (state grant) as we are anticipating the permanent facility to cost 8 million or more. We are doing really good work for the community and feel closer than ever to ending homelessness in the Sonoma City Area.
A brief idea of where the operations money is being spent:
Clients: a truck, emergency dental and medical, gas expenses, hotels, Sunday dinners, quick loans: 8K this month.
Salaries: Administrator Assistant, Caseworker, 2 outreach workers 5K/month
Mis supplies: office space, computer, supplies: 1400/this month.
We have no other fixed expenses – the rest is going to the construction process.
Donated time estimates
Board of Directors/Advisory Board hours: 800 hrs./month
Volunteer Hours: 80 hrs./month
Donations in Kind: enough goods and services to keep clients in clothing, hygiene products, food, and hope.
Donor of the Month of March goes to Jill and Cowboy Kamahele for bringing food every Friday that they collect from Grocery Stores. Thank you, it gets a lot of clients through the weekends.
In Closing: Thanks to our loyal supporters, volunteers, professionals who, donors, and to the homeless who have given us their trust. We can’t do this without any of you. Thank you for your continued support, together we can truly do this.
Homeless Action Sonoma, Inc.
Thought for this month. Drugs, alcohol, disabilities, and/or mental illness does not cause homelessness. They are often a result of homelessness. Financial “Climate Change” causes homelessness.
February 2022 Homeless Action Sonoma Newsletter
1St: Unfortunately the shelters are not yet installed. The hang up is all the permits needed through the County planning commission. They have been wonderfully helpful and working with us as hard as possible. Susan Gorin has been right there to answer every question, as has the members of the CDC, coordinated entry, and the numerous people in the permits and planning department that we are bothering every day. It may not be moving as fast as we would like but everyone is working hard to get everything completed properly.
2nd: Almost all clients are ready to be entered into the HMIS system which is required per the grant we received. We have hired Kathline Caauwe from Catholic Charities to oversee the submission of this accumulated data to the County as it is critical to have less than 5% error. So happy to be able to hire her.
3rd: Most of the small homes, are finished. They are being built on property on Napa Road so that when we finally get the green light from the County we can quickly move them, and they can be occupied immediately
4th: We got extended vouchers for hotels for another month so our people are not out in the cold. That is a bit of relief for me as I had sworn I would go outside with them this winter if I could not get them shelter. Whee!!.
5th: Allison Davis is creating a data base for us: much needed. Madeline Whittaker has been our tireless volunteer handing out brochures on an almost daily basis, and Sabina Cesear is now joining her. Thank you ladies, it is not an easy job. One result is that a young woman fleeing from domestic violence with her 6 year old son found a brochure in the library and called me for help. I was able to hook her up with Verity and they gave her two nights in a hotel as it was Saturday and the shelters don’t take clients on weekends. They then got her into a shelter and are putting her in touch with all services. Hopefully this has given her the support she needs to break an ugly cycle.
6th: We have been working with the VFW posts to insure veterans get sheltered and are working to get a memorandum of understanding with them.
8th: We have contracted with Micahs Hugs, a nonprofit, that works in harm reduction, and will be doing training in fentanyl strip testing and Narcan administration to prevent deaths due to drug overdose.
Volunteers and Donations: There have been so many volunteers dropping off donations, sending in needed money, and helping with the Sunday night dinners. You are a huge blessing to all. If you drop off donations please leave a note with the donation so I can send you a Thank You Note! They are very much appreciated.
How Can you Help?
Needed: Men’s pants and shoes and condoms.
Sunday Dinners: Every Sunday is like Christmas with the donations from individuals and the Democrats Club. . Chefs and servers are always welcomed. I want to thank our guest chefs Beth Bierman, Pat Coleman and Rick Suerth, great chili and wonderful jambalaya. This Sunday is roast chicken with beans and rice. The guest chefs have signed on for one Sunday a month but that means we have at least 3 other Sundays to
BeFriend: This program involves a housed person befriending an unhoused person and is amazingly rewarding. Joe and Simon Cutler have taken on restoring Chances truck. You should see the smile on that young man’s face. He is working hard studying to get his driver’s license and has been picking up jobs to save money for registration and insurance. Looking to the future. Thank you Joe and Simon.
Ted Nordquist is tutoring his friend who has a reading disability. Mary Courtney has donated hearing aids and Johns friend is bringing him to get them fitted. Thank you Mary. It will change Johns life.
If you are interesting in BeFriending please contact me.
Sonoma Professionals: Dr. Gary Toig is volunteering some of his services and he has already helped one client, a young lady who had never been to a gynecologist and was terrified. Dr. Toig was able to help her with her issues.
Dentist, Dr. Thomas Halliday, has signed on to help and Dr. Forstadt has offered to help a second client. Dr. Groef is on his third client. It is so heartwarming to see the community coming together. These donated services are rewarding for both client and professional.
Do you have a professional service can you offer / donate?
Speaking Engagements: I am always looking for opportunities to talk to the community about homeless and ways to help. Ken Brown invited me to be on his radio show. Thank you Ken. I have been invited to be on the Contribution Revolution Podcast. I talked to the Sonoma Human Rights Group, the Sonoma Valley Housing Group, and the Sonoma Valley Collaborative. With education comes understanding.
And of Course we need Money: We need to hire an architect, structural engineer, electrical engineer, soils engineer, mechanical engineer, landscape architect, and so many more. We have raised about half of the 100K challenge grant. Thank you all. If everyone on this list gives just $150. we can keep all of the 100K. Please help.
In Closing: Finally I wish to thank all of you who have contributed. It is so heartwarming to know so many in the community have compassion and are willing to share your good fortune. We will end homelessness, make the movie and franchise the concept. Thank you.
Homeless Action Sonoma, Inc.
January 2022 Homeless Action Sonoma Newsletter
1. We received a $400K grant from Sonoma County. The county requires HMIS reporting. If you know how to do HMIS reporting and would be willing to help with the reporting to the County please contact me.
2. The Cultural Studies are complete and permit applications filed, waiting for the county to review and give us accounting for permits. Contractor is ready to start work as soon as we have permits.
3. Quickhaven houses have been purchased, waiting for the site to be readied before assembling houses. We also have a garage full of furniture to go into the house when they are assembled.
4. Most of our clients are in hotel rooms thanks to the County, a real blessing with this cold and wet weather.
5. Thanks to Dr. Groff we have two more clients with smiles restored. It is a wonderful ego booster to have teeth again!
6. We now have a relationship with the Redwood Food Bank, which allows us to shop there for our Sunday dinners. This is saving us considerable money as the cost of dinner from the grocery store was coming to about $200/week.
7. We have reached an agreement with SAVS, another non profit that works with housing the homeless to have them help us with the wrap around services as well as mentoring us throughout this whole process. Thank you Marion, Gergory, and Adrienne!!
· I had a wonderful talk with the Human Rights Commission of Sonoma County. I am touched by the Proclamation that I received from them. Wonderful to see young people involved in this group! Thank you Howard Sapper for your kind words.
· I met with Nancy King of Pets Lifeline and talked about how we can work together to get the pets in the homeless community the care they need.
· For all the turkey cookers, thank you. It was a beautiful Christmas dinner. We served 41 people, secret Santa Constance Grazzill make wishes to Santa come true, and the Democrats Club supplied the necessary socks and underwear that always rounded out my Christmas Presents growing up!! 5 turkeys were cooked to perfection and delivered so our crew only had to make all the sides. Thanks to Jill and Cowboy Kamahele we had lovely appetizers and desserts. It was truly a community dinner with housed and homeless dining side by side!!
· Met with the interfaith group and discussed homelessness and how as educators they can help us spread the word. Thank you Rabbi Steve!
Outreach: We need volunteers to do outreach (deliver brochures). Madeline Whittiker has been working tirelessly trekking them everywhere and she could use some help
Sunday Dinners: We can always use help in this area. Chefs and servers are always welcomed. I want to thank our guest chefs Beth Bierman, Pat Coleman and Rick Suerth, great chili and wonderful jambalaya. They have signed on for one Sunday a month but that means we have at least 3 other Sundays to cover.
Trailer: Still need a trailer for the live in site manager. Loan, rent, or buy????
Grant Writer: Need another grant writer. Doug Fryday is working tirelessly on the daunting Homekey Grant application and does not have time to work on any other grants.
Silverware: We don’t like wasteful plastic. Since our numbers on Sunday are increasing we need more silverware to serve them.
Auto Mechanic: Chance (one of our HAS clients) still needs someone to help him fix up his old truck. Chance is a great kid and really wants to get his truck running (and I would like it out of my yard!)
MONEY: Projects like this always need money. Although we had a successful fundraiser last month, we are about $200K short of what we need for the next few months. We had unexpected fees for permitting, appraisal, engineering, and now unforeseen salaries. In order to utilize the Homekey Grant process we need to get the plans and preliminary permits for the transitional facility in the pipeline now which is expensive.
We have 4 positions to fill:
1. Case Manager. Someone who is familiar with all the available services and has an understanding about the homeless population.
2. Operations Manager. Someone to be in charge of all the wrap around services that we will offer and be in line for the Executive Director position when we get the transitional facility open.
3. Live on Site Manager. We will provide a trailer home for them on site and they will be responsible for the day to day operations of the winter shelter.
4. Site “Mother”: We will also have an on site “mother” to work as the conduit between the clients and caseworker.
Looks like I have my 2022 cut out for me. I am grateful for the Board Of Directors, the Advisory Board, and for all the volunteers and people who have supported HAS in so many ways.
“I believe that we can so we will!!” I got two favorite Christmas presents: one was a bracelet so inscribed and the second was a silver heart from a homeless person who told me I give hope!
Happy New Year, let's end homelessness!!
Homeless Action Sonoma, Inc.
December 2021 Homeless Action Sonoma Newsletter
First: We Now Own the Property!!!!
Second: We Have a Signed Contract with Quick Haven for the tiny houses!
Third: We Have a Construction Contractor Ready to Start Work!
Fourth: We Have An Engineering Firm Ready to Go!
Fifth: We Even Have A Timeline. If all goes as planned our first clients housed before Christmas.
Sixth: We have a hairdresser willing to come on some Sundays and give haircuts. A Huge Thank You to Yolanda Contreras.
Seventh: We are now an AmazonSmile Non Profit! This means when you shop online through Amazon you can designate Homeless Action Sonoma as the Non-Profit to receive donations based on your spending. So next time you are on Amazon select AmazonSmile under your account and select Homeless Action Sonoma as your charity. There is no cost to you.
There are 15 homeless people who have signed up for Thanksgiving dinner so I will be picking up dinners from the Community Center and bringing them to Maxwell Park around 3 PM so those with no where to go for dinner can meet and have a lovely meal.
We will learn on December 7th if and how much we will get from the County Grant we have applied for. We are working around the clock with Homekey, the State Grant available for eliminating homelessness. We have a great team and are very hopeful that we can get through this process in a timely manner. That will give us money in March to work on the transitional facility. Wow, it is all becoming real.
How Can you Help?
Property Clean Up: Saturday, November 27th we are having a “clean up the property” event. Starting at 10 AM. Need a truck or two to go to the dumps. There is some garbage and mostly brush that needs to be cleared. The project manager will be there with pictures and diagrams and will explain in detail the plans for the winter shelter and transitional facility. Everyone is welcome. If enough volunteers show up it should take about 1 hour for the clean up. We will have coffee and pastries available to keep you going!
Pay for a Quick Haven House: You can pay for one or more of the 18 Quick Haven houses we plan for this winter.. Each house cost $13,500. You can also buy part of a house. If you buy one you can name it!!!
Furnish the Inside: We are also looking for money to furnish the inside of each house. The cost is about $600 to provide a bed, bedding, chair, desk, lamp, TV, and a small heater.
Support Sunday Dinners: We are having the Sunday Dinners at La Luz now and they are growing. We need a guest chef or two. They are costing about $200/week now and we are serving 20-50 people each Sunday. It is a fun evening and we make all the latest details on the construction available. We can also use food donations if you just want to make a dish and drop it off. We can always use appetizers and desserts. If you want to donate or help with meals please contact me for details.
Provide Warm Clothing: Winter is closing in, the need for warm clothing, socks and underwear is big. You can either drop them at my house or bring them by La Luz on Sunday and have dinner with us.
Distribute Our Brochures: We now have brochures both in English and Spanish. We could use a few more people to take them around and distribute. We need to canvas the neighborhood near our property as being good neighbors is essential. As we have always believed it will take the community to make this a success. To help with brochures call Valli or visit at the office over the Sebastiani Theatre. (enter through real estate office and go upstairs,) You can contact her at email@example.com.
In Closing: It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. There has been so many hoops to jump through and unbelievable issues as we grow and become more and more successful. What started out a dream, not long ago is becoming a reality. I am almost able to imagine we are that magical community that ends homelessness!! It can’t be done without you. Thank you,
Homeless Action Sonoma, Inc.
November Homeless Action Sonoma Newsletter
Wow, November is upon us and until a week ago winter felt stalled with no rain, then the skies opened up.
First: THE BIG THING is that the County has unanimously voted to be our sponsoring entity for Homekey funding. This could potentially fund our facility for the next 4 years. Our grant writer is working around the clock to get our application in with lots of help from the state, County, and team. Does anyone have any experience with grant proposals? If so let me know, it is a daunting job.
Second: We have been working closely with the County to expedite the process for winter shelter. MIG, Inc. from Berkeley has signed on to help us with outreach, planning and permitting, as well as working with Homekey.
Third: We have reached an agreement with the property seller and should close escrow maybe tomorrow or the next day, how exciting!
Fourth: We have a contract with Quick Haven Houses to start delivery as soon as the property is graded and fenced. Can’t happen soon enough for the unhoused with winter weather upon us.
Now For the BIG picture.
Many people got washed out in the rains. We always need warm socks. We will need 18 single mattresses, pillows, and considering bunk beds (sleep up and storage under or sleep under and storage up.) We will be talking to the people who have signed up for the shelters and asking type furnishings they would like to have. When I know I get this data I will put it out there.
Volunteer Services We Can Use.
We will be having a ribbon cutting ceremony in the near future followed by a lot cleanup day involving the community. We will need a lot of volunteers for the cleanup and trucks to make dump runs. If this is to work, we will need to pull together.
Thank you all for your continued support.
Homeless Action Sonoma, Inc.