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Human Resources Department

Commission on Human Rights

Resolution in Support of Increased Services for Sonoma County's Homeless Youth Population

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WHEREAS, the right to housing is recognized in Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, stating that “everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control,” and in Article 11(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) which guarantees the right to housing as part of the right to an adequate standard of living; and

WHEREAS, homelessness is a problem of crisis proportions in Sonoma County reflected in declarations of the existence of a housing emergency by both the Santa Rosa City Council and the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors; and

WHEREAS, sufficient options do not currently exist in Sonoma County to address the needs of all those without shelter, including the significant portion of homeless youth who require special accommodations due to increased vulnerability within adult homeless populations; and

WHEREAS, the National Alliance to End Homelessness reported an epidemic number of 12,396 homeless and unaccompanied children and youth statewide as of 2018; and a disproportionate lack of beds for youth of approximately 78%;

WHEREAS, of the 694 homeless teens and youth surveyed in the 2019 Sonoma County Youth Needs Assessment, 94% reported being unsheltered;

WHEREAS, of the above mentioned teens and youth population, significant co-morbid factors leading to increased vulnerability exist through the following statistics: 21% reporting history in the foster system, 25% reporting prior or current emotional or psychiatric conditions, 49% reporting prior or drug or alcohol abuse, 31% reporting having completed less education than a high school diploma/GED, and 9% reporting suffering from prior or current PTSD; and

WHEREAS, the National Network for Youth reports that research from numerous studies have found human trafficking rates among youth and young adults experiencing homelessness ranging from 19% to 40%; and

WHEREAS, intensive, wraparound support programs like those provided by Social Advocates for Youth, TLC Child and Family Services, Community Support Network and VOICES have recently demonstrated an 84-92% housing retention rate with the homeless youth they have housed and served;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Sonoma County Commission on Human Rights strongly urges the Board of Supervisors to take steps to allocate funding and support for increased permanent supportive housing, rapid rehousing, and other permanent interventions which are essential resources for Sonoma County teens and youth experiencing homelessness.

THE FOREGOING RESOLUTION was duly adopted this twenty-eighth day of January 2020, by the following vote:


Ayes: 4 Noes: 0 Absent: 2 Abstain: 0