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. firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. email@example.com
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.