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.