The purpose of the Special Needs Assistance Program is to assist homeless persons with HIV/AIDS and other disabilities in obtaining decent, safe and sanitary housing by providing rental subsidies and supportive services. The Sonoma County Housing Authority (SCHA) provides the rental subsidies. Non-profit agencies provide supportive services. The SCHA has established successful partnerships with several organizations within the community.
The Special Needs Assistance Program serves a population that has been traditionally hard to reach - homeless persons with disabilities such as serious mental illness and/or AIDS and related diseases. The Special Needs Assistance Program was built on the premise that housing and services need to be connected in order to ensure the stability of housing for this population.
The Sonoma County Housing Authority currently administers four Special Needs Assistance Program grants. One of these grants is in partnership with the Sonoma County Face to Face AIDS Network and provide rental assistance to homeless persons with HIV/AIDS. The other three grants are in partnership with Social Advocates for Youth and Sonoma County Behavioral Health. All of the Special Needs Assistance Program grants are administered as required by HUD regulations. The SCHA received these grants in 1997 (formerly Shelter Plus Care). All of these grants have proven to be successful in assisting homeless persons with AIDS or other disabilities to obtain affordable housing through rental assistance.