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Community Development Commission

Sonoma County Housing Authority

For Immediate Release

2018 Sonoma County Homeless Count Launches

Santa Rosa,CA | February 16, 2018

The Sonoma County Community Development Commission is coordinating the 2018 Point-in-Time Homeless Count. The Homeless Count will include a “street count” of people who are living outside in all census tracts in the County, as well as counting those staying in shelters, jail or institutions on the night before the street count. The Count helps Sonoma County access needed federal and state resources to help people who are homeless lift themselves out of life on the streets and along the creeks.

Starting at 6:00 AM on February 23, 2018 over 150 volunteers and paid homeless guides will meet at one of 5 deployment centers located throughout the County to receive their team and location assignments. Teams will then canvass the streets on foot or by car, and tally as many people who are homeless as can be found in each area. A specialized effort will be undertaken in the afternoon to count teens and homeless youth ages 18-24. The data from the street count will be supplemented by a survey of approximately 600 homeless persons to be conducted over the following two weeks. Final results of the Count are expected to be published in a report issued in June 2018.

This year in addition to the street count, an effort will be made to estimate the number of individuals and families who are unstably housed, couch-surfing, or living in doubled-up circumstances. Approximately 2,000 households will be contacted during the week after the count. The goal of this telephone survey effort will be to estimate the number of persons at risk of homelessness and in need of preventive assistance. This will also include an assessment of the impact of the 2017 wildfires on individuals who are unstably housed.

Training sessions for volunteers and homeless people who will serve as guides, held over the past week, have shown that there is tremendous community support for the project. Homeless guides will be paid for their time, and coordinators will rely on their knowledge and experience to obtain more complete information for the Count. The Sonoma County Community Development Commission is coordinating the Homeless Count as part of its planning responsibilities as the lead agency for the Sonoma County Continuum of Care, the planning framework of shelter, housing, and services available to homeless persons in Sonoma County. About $3.3 million in federal grants comes to Sonoma County annually through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development due in large part to an accurate count of people who are homeless.

For more information call (707) 565-1977.