Why is the County buying homes to help the homeless crisis?
The County is purchasing homes that will be used as Shared Housing. Shared Homes are common in many communities – including our own – and help people experiencing homelessness transition into permanent housing. Shared Homes provide a stable environment with services tailored to each individual, to support their successful transition into their new home – this is called permanent supportive housing.
Data shows that 95% of individuals remain housed after one year when they receive permanent supportive housing.
How can the County justify paying for these homes?
The County is prioritizing funding for these homes because of the urgent need to house vulnerable people experiencing homelessness. Research shows that public costs incurred by those experiencing extended homelessness are often significantly higher than the cost of providing individuals with a path toward housing and support services. In addition, the cost to purchase these homes is a one-time expense. Going forward, the homes will be assets as well as additions to our system of care, and available to house vulnerable people for years into the future.
How is the County paying for these homes?
The funds to purchase the residential properties located at 866 Sonoma Avenue, Santa Rosa and 8190, 8192 and 8194 Arthur Street, Cotati are provided from a State of California grant program called “No Place Like Home” which allocated up to $3.8 million for just such purchases. No Sonoma County General Fund tax dollars were utilized although the county acquires a real asset and the ability to offset much larger costs to society and taxpayers.
Will the residents pay rent at these homes?
The rent structure of these homes will be 1/3 of each participant's monthly income. Rents collected will be used to offset costs of ongoing maintenance at property.
How will ongoing costs for these homes be handled?
In addition to the acquisition and closing costs, staff estimates the rental income stream will not be sufficient to cover repair, maintenance, and overall property management costs. Therefore, an additional $35,000 per year per property in costs is expected. 5 years of property management costs totaling $525,000 and $50,000 for improvements each or $150,000 overall are placed in reserves for future costs. These ongoing costs will be financed with current fund balance and reimbursed with funding from the State of California’s No Place Like Home grant and/or Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention program.
How will individuals be selected for these homes?
Individuals experiencing homelessness are thoroughly assessed and carefully matched with the right housing solutions. We strive to make people to be successful in their housing placements.
How many people will be in each house?
The house on Sonoma Avenue has two bedrooms, two cottages, and a large detached garage. The property on Arthur Street is multi-unit, containing a two-bedroom, two-bathroom cottage, and a duplex containing two units, each with two-bedrooms and one-bathroom. Each room will be occupied by an individual or a couple.
How will the homes be managed, and rules be enforced?
The County will hire a property manager to oversee activities like rent collection, maintenance, and enforcement of lease agreements. Lease agreements for shared homes typically establish rules such as noise restrictions and visitor policies, and reiterate laws such as no smoking on the property or any illegal activities. The lease agreements for the Shared Homes are not yet developed. When more information is available we will share it here.
Violating rules established in leases could result in the termination of a lease.
What services will residents receive in Shared Homes?
Residents of the shared homes will benefit from daily case management services to support their transition to being housed. These include employment and benefit counseling, as well as many other individually-tailored services.
What will happen to current tenants?
The County is aware that some of the properties have current occupants. Should the County elect to exercise its right as the property owner to relocate any occupants, the County will abide by all applicable laws and requirements, including any applicable landlord-tenant and/or relocation assistance obligations. This means moving assistance, help finding a new unit, and financial support to cover any increase in rent at their new home.
Are there other Shared Homes in Sonoma County?
There are over 60 homes, apartments and shelters located throughout Sonoma County. They are in every city, and numerous unincorporated areas. In particular, there are six large shared homes and dozens of apartments in the community housing multiple individuals. Sonoma County Housing Authority has approximately 54 clients living in shared housing, and Santa Rosa has approximately 67 clients actively leased in shared housing.
View a map of the general locations of the over 60 homes, apartments and shelters in Sonoma County.
What outreach is the County doing to inform residents and businesses near these properties?
Due to the dynamic and fast paced developments on this topic the County has not been able to implement the normal amount of communication we like to provide for our residents and neighbors.
On Wednesday January 8th, the County notified residents and businesses within a 300 foot radius of the homes. Moving forward, the County will continue to share updates, answer questions, and address concerns.
The County will also help neighbors establish communication with the property managers or other onsite individuals as appropriate.