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November 2022 Homeless Action Sonoma Newsletter
General Update: It has been quite the ride these last few weeks. Getting on property and seeing daily changes in the infrastructure. Drive by and have a look. We are building walls and fences, putting in bioswales, and leveling the property so it doesn’t drain into the neighbor’s yards in the rain.
We hope to pour concrete this week, which is the big part of the job. If the weather cooperates there is a chance we will have an amazing Christmas Party. The tenants will need help assembling furniture, and moving in. I will let you know when that is and we can make it a community event. We have hired Hector Gutierrez, former Project Manager for Horizon Shine Village in Sebastopol. He has been busy interviewing clients for the village and establishing a protocol. We are so fortunate to get him on board.
Winter Shelter: With the rain and cold here many people are exposed to the elements without shelter. There is no shelter in the Sonoma City Area at this time. Last year there were hotel rooms for the worst of the weather days, but there is no funding for hotel rooms this year. We are working with SOS to coordinate those who are willing to be housed in Santa Rosa or Petaluma. For many, lack of shelter means trips to the ER to treat them for exposure. We urgently need winter shelter, at least until I can get the houses on property and up and running. I have asked everyone I can think of if we can use an empty building, open up the Haven again, use the Community Center, use the Veterans Building, open the churches: and there are many reasons but the bottom line is always no. My contractor says that we could put up our dining tent on the property and make it a warming station. Of course now it needs to be approved by Permit Sonoma and they said no.
My heart is gladdened by those of you who have decided to take action. One of my board members is now running a F&B. (floor and breakfast) and another has offered up his guest room. Jeannette picked up the man lying on the sidewalk and tried to get him shelter, another person has offered her pool house and yet another has offered her spare room. A communal space of course would be ideal to serve all, but if we can’t find a communal space we have to use what is offered. Now I can hear the naysayers “Isn’t that dangerous and irresponsible?” All I can say to that is, I have been taking into my house for the last two years fellow human beings in need, and have never had a problem. If you can provide temporary shelter this winter please contact me.
What we need:
Special recognition: I want to give special recognition to Jeanette Scharich. This woman was driving through the Springs and sees a man lying on the sidewalk. She stops to see if he was alive, dead, sick or what. He was laying there on the cold cement because he had nowhere to go and was tired. She offered to take him to The Haven, thinking it was still a homeless shelter. Doors were locked so she brought him to the police station. They told her he had to go to Petaluma or Santa Rosa for shelter or she could just let him go in the park. She was surprised that was the truth so she called me and volunteered on the spot! I am looking forward to working with her. Thank you Jeanette, if everyone had your heart and understanding the world would be much improved!
Second thanks goes out to Jessica Mansfield and her family. She works for me as an outreach worker and is training to be a full on caseworker. She is taking classes and still tending to the homeless community. She does wellness checks, takes clothing and supplies to people in need, and her family also takes in people who need a place to stop and get warm. Jessica is the one who gets the phone calls saying someone needs a ride here, needs a meal, needs a coat, ran out of gas, and it is never during easy hours. Her and her mother Yvonne are making dinner this Sunday so stop by and have dinner and say hello to Jessica and Yvonne.
A shout out to all the volunteers, supporters, city council, and the not yet friends of HAS!
I am more positive than ever, that together, we can end homelessness in the Sonoma city area.
Homeless Action Sonoma, Inc.
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