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 $75K by having the homeless community do the work versus hiring a contractor.
● Making a Difference: We have 3 caseworkers on staff serving 52 members of the Sonoma City Area homeless community. That is a fourth of the total number, now on the road to success. Think what we could do with a facility, proper staff, and a fully funded operations budget. We are working in collaboration with many of the Sonoma Valley Nonprofits.
● Working Together : We have joined with 14 other Nonprofits to receive a County Grant to address mental health. We are in discussion with the City of Sonoma to receive funding from them. We received a unanimous vote of support from the Sonoma Valley Community Advisory Commission. We have held 3 neighborhood informational meetings and have received amazing support. The Springs is a very generous and compassionate community. Thank you.
● Fund Raising : I have attached our projected spending through November and as you can see we have quite a large deficit. I am wide open to any fundraising suggestions. Below are some ideas I have. If you can act on any of these items or are just willing to help with fundraising please contact Valli Viera at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me 707 304-0502.
Wineries could commit the proceeds of one or more days of wine tasting to our project.
Hold one or more neighborhood yard sales with HAS as the beneficiary.
Everyone receiving this newsletter could send our Go Fund Me information (https://gofund.me/dd17f501) to all your friends and family telling them you support this mission. If everyone on this list brings in 100$ 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!!