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Explore: Sonoma County

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Homelessness is a social issue that impacts all of our cities and communities in Sonoma County. It is an issue that requires a countywide, shared responsibility in planning and development of solutions. One of the critical factors in reducing homelessness is the recognition that the complex problems that lead to homelessness require specific programs and coordinated services directed to specific target populations. Sonoma County works together with other local jurisdictions to reduce homelessness through a variety of planning and funding processes.

Definition of Homelessness

H.U.D. defines homeless as:

  1. an individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; and
  2. an individual who has a primary nighttime residence that is -
    1. a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations (including welfare hotels, congregate shelters, and transitional housing for the mentally ill);
    2. an institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized; or
    3. a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

See also Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness 2010

Number of Homeless People in Sonoma County

To retain $2.5 million in annual federal funding for Sonoma County homeless programs, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development  (H.U.D.) requires a biennial Homeless Count.

New: 2013 Report on Homelessness in Sonoma County

The 2011 Sonoma County Homeless Count Survey was conducted on January 28, 2011 and found 4,539 homeless individuals.

2009 Sonoma County Homeless Count Survey


The Sonoma County 2-1-1 Community Resource Directory is staffed by volunteers who provide the link between people who have needs with the services that can alleviate those needs. Click on the link above or simply dial 2-1-1 on your phone.

The Sonoma County Taskforce for the Homeless publishes the Homeless Resource Guide listing many governmental agencies, housing authorities and non-profit organizations that provide housing and supportive services to homeless people throughout Sonoma County.

Sonoma County Funding for Homeless Programs

Sam Jones Hall: Jointly funded by the City of Santa Rosa, the Community Foundation Sonoma County, and the County of Sonoma, Sam Jones Hall is a homeless shelter in southwest Santa Rosa with transportation to and from downtown Santa Rosa. Clients must register at the Homeless Service Center. Sam Jones Hall is owned by the City of Santa Rosa and operated by Catholic Charities.

Funding Local Public Service Agencies: The Sonoma County Community Development Commission funds local public service agencies that provide homeless and related services using HUD’s Emergency Solutions Grant (E.S.G.) and Community Development Block Grant (C.D.B.G.) as well as Sonoma County’s General Fund. 

Sonoma County Continuum of Care

H.U.D. defines the Continuum of Care as a community plan to organize and deliver housing and services to meet the specific needs of people who are homeless as they move to stable housing and maximum self-sufficiency. It includes action steps to end homeless and prevent a return to homelessness.

Sonoma County’s Continuum of Care is comprised of a broad coalition of nonprofits, public agencies, business organizations and private individuals working together to combat homelessness.

Sonoma County Continuum of Care Planning ProcessPDF Icon

Continuum of Care Funding Received by Sonoma County Agencies

Sonoma County 10-Year Homeless Action Plan PDF Icon

Report on Year One of 10-Year Homeless Action Plan PDF Icon

Report on Year Two of 10-Year Homeless Action Plan PDF Icon

Sonoma County Homeless Management Information System

H.U.D. has been directed by Congress to work with jurisdictions to collect an array of data on homelessness, including unduplicated counts, use of services and the effectiveness of the local homeless assistance system. Sonoma County’s Homeless Management Information System is operated by the Sonoma County Community Development Commission.

For more information on any of the above, contact Teddie Pierce of the Community Development Commission at (707) 565-7541.

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