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Sonoma supes expand homeless services, affordable housing

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved allocations to expand capacity at winter emergency homeless shelters in the county.

The Board allocated $65,000 to Samuel Jones Hall in Santa Rosa, $114,286 to the Guerneville shelter and $155,000 to augment overall shelter operations in fiscal year 2016-2017.

The funding for the shelters was among three agenda items dealing with the housing crisis in the county. The board also approved allocating $4 million to develop affordable housing in 2017.

The $4 million includes $1.8 million for 34 extremely low income studio units on West Hearn Avenue for homeless veterans and veterans about to become homeless, and $1 million toward an $18.7 million 40-unit senior complex in the Fetter Hot Springs area of the Sonoma Valley.

The county also appropriated $510,000 toward the 14-home, second phase of a 44-home $7 million project north of Santa Rosa for farm workers who will pay only 30 percent of their income for rent.

The Board also approved $537,500 funding toward a $35.8 million 75-unit affordable housing mixed-use project in Roseland near Santa Rosa.

The supervisors also received an update on the “point-in-time” homeless census conducted on Jan. 29. It showed the number of unsheltered people decreased slightly by 6.5 percent since 2015. The numbers do not include people who are “couch surfing” in the past year because of increased rents in the county.

Board Chairman Efren Carrillo said the homeless shelter and affordable housing actions before the board represented “incremental” progress.

“We are making a dent, but the crisis is not over,” Carrillo said.

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