HAS February Newsletter 2021
Well January has passed and we still don’t have a winter shelter. We worked hard with the Alliance Church but in the end it was appeasing the neighbors that shut us down. It is so difficult to learn that this town doesn’t value humans as much as they value dogs and cats. Waiting is. I am looking forward to being able to start the seminars again. The hospital is down to the 84 year old for the vaccine! Yeah!!
Many good things are happening. The website, hassonoma.org is coming along. We now have a donate page set up so we are ready if any of you want to donate your stimulus checks that you don’t need.
The BBQ’s are still going strong. We are set up under my solar panels for bad weather days and have been serving hot soup and chili. It is fun, and so good to see trust building. Can always use help for those: a desert, appetizers, and beverages are always needed. My juicer broke down so I can’t be making the fresh juice that is loved every week. Anyone have a juicer they are not wanting anymore?? The BBQs are on Sunday at 1PM these days.
Bob Khan is doing well with the furniture. You can see some of the things he has finished and are for sale on the website. I am planning a HAS Benefit yard sale as soon as I can be sure of good weather. My garage is full of his stuff, need to make room, and Bob would like to make some money!!
With winter and COVID “little bit of everything” is slow on work but Amber now has a truck to use and is able to take hauling jobs as well as her landscaping and housework. They cleaned my yard and garage of all the stuff I no longer wanted and what a lovely feeling it is to get rid of stuff, and so easily! Call her if you need lightening 707 309-8539.
The Be-friending is going well. We have volunteers working with medical appointments, Ted is helping a young man study for his driver’s license, I have a young man needing help to get his GED, there is another young man who heard about Ted and wants to be next in line. (I haven’t asked Ted yet but it is fun and I make awesome pancakes). We had a young man with some legal issues which we have worked with him and got all that behind him. He now has a drivers license, a car, three jobs, and a relationship with his daughter. This has been a real community action. He accepted the help of our life coach, therapy, and his mentor, now he wants to mentor!!
My kitchen is in desperate need of reconditioning. There has been a young couple, Sam and Shayla, who come over about three times a week to make meals. Sam has a job with Quick Haven but for now very part time. I get them food from the foodbank where I work twice a week. They have been coming to my home for a year now and cooking meals when they can’t get to The Grange for the free meals. They are trying so hard to get out of homelessness and are clean and lovely. Does anyone have a spare kitchen they could use? A guest cottage or extra kitchen? I will vouch for them and HAS insurance would cover any problems. They need a place to keep their food and cook on those days.
Sam also needs a phone so he can communicate with Quick Haven. Would anyone sponsor him for a phone? Right now I get the work messages and have to go find him to deliver. They are so close to success, and it is such a struggle when worried about food and phone and living in a tent. Quick Haven should be up for full production in a few months and he would have job security and be able to take on his bills. In a few months my kitchen will be usable again and I would take them back in a heartbeat.
Therapy is ongoing and “bless her heart”, one of our volunteer counselors has just asked for a third pro bono client! She really likes working with the homeless and their very real problems. She thanks me!!!!! Other relationships are growing and I see changes.
The store is booming. My garage has become well known for having what is needed, thanks to your generosity. We got a slew of wonderful winter coats and raincoats that came in and went out. We are set for now with toothbrushes and toothpaste, razors, and deodorant. Can’t keep men’s socks and underwear in stock. Also need men’s tennis shoes and boots. Blue jeans also come and go quickly. There is a woman who has contacted me saying she is opening a free store and I am hoping that we can come to an agreement that she takes it all over. But, for now I am happy to have my garage store. A lovely many from Bloomfield called and asked if we wanted furniture moving blankets. I thought they would be great for the winter shelter as sleeping pads so he brought me 40 of them. Unfortunately they are sitting in my garage but are slowly going out the door as they are very warm, washable, and great for tent lining and sleeping pads.
Barbara Lemme, after much work on her part has sealed a deal for insurance. We are getting more official by the moment.
Although we haven’t given up on winter shelter it is time to refocus on the big picture of ending homelessness in Sonoma. We are talking to Quick Haven a new company in Sonoma that makes easily assembled small shelters. They have hired Sam a young homeless man to work on assembly. Sam is so excited and when they get up and rolling he is looking forward to getting established. He now wants to study with Ted to get his drivers license!!! Hope is such a wonderful thing. Quick Haven has found a site on 8th Street for their production. Should be up and running soon. They have put us on the list for early options so we need property to put them on to get our facility going.
HB has found an architect to do pictures of our dream facility so we can get our sales package together. Very excited about getting the package together so we can get it out to the community and build support. It has been a busy and frustrating year but with COVID what else do we have to do? Find property that is acceptable to the community, raise enough money to build the facility, keep the programs going, and still pounding the pavement looking for winter shelter.
Good things have happened even though we did not get a shelter. We have good communications with both Susan Gorin and Logan Harvey now. They have both been supportive of our efforts. Being the new kids on the block it has been difficult explaining why we are doing what we are doing, when there is SOS in the town. They do wonderful things and feed lots of the hungry. They get the people, who are willing, slots in shelters in Petaluma and Santa Rosa. We believe that the sons and daughters of Sonoma who want to stay in their community are entitled to, and with a hand they can be productive members. Educate, Integrate, Innovate, and Create. Thinking outside the box!
Next month we hope to have the “package” together to show you all. We also hope to have the Share Program going. It is on our website but needs to be sold door to door. Any volunteers? It is a program where we ask all professionals in town to provide for one client. Hairdresser takes one client for a year, restaurants feed one client once in awhile (to be determined) for a year, lawyers, therapists, accountants, teachers………………… Clients need services, but the push is to get the communities to know each other. We are all human beings deserving of respect and love. Without that respect and love between the members of one community no amount of money can end homelessness. Still determined to be the poster child. With cooperation everything is possible. Please help.