Published: August 26, 2019
The Sonoma County Community Development Commission has developed a new three-year strategic plan to identify its role within the County of Sonoma and to guide its work efforts in a rapidly changing environment. The long-standing affordable housing shortage in the region, made significantly worse by the 2017 wildfires, has increased demands on the Commission beyond its historic role. In order to meet these increasing demands responsibly and serve greater numbers of vulnerable Sonoma County residents, the Commission – with full support of the Board of Commissioners – has spent the last several years increasing capacity and deepening collaboration across multiple sectors.
While these efforts have resulted in many successes for the community, they have not been carried out within a strategic framework, nor with the needed clarity of purpose for its longer-term role and value within Sonoma County. This strategic plan provides that framework. Broadly, its goals are to foster a strong staff team, to build trust throughout the community, and to create better pathways to permanent, stable, and supported housing for those who need it.
As part of its greater strategic planning process, the Commission has also commenced an Equity in Housing Project to help Sonoma County address longstanding disparities in housing. Federal, state and local government policies have perpetuated these disparities, while the current political climate has made it more difficult to reach certain populations. Recently, immigrant community members have become even more reluctant to seek housing resources for fear of immigration enforcement, despite often needing those resources the most. This has resulted in a lack of representation from non-English speaking and communities of color in some Commission programs.