For Immediate Release
‘Housing Heroes’ recognizes local residents helping with the housing crisis
SANTA ROSA, CA | September 13, 2022
The County of Sonoma and City of Santa Rosa are teaming up to celebrate “Housing Heroes” in an effort to encourage greater participation in housing rental assistance and home-sharing programs offered across Sonoma County. Too many residents are challenged to secure quality housing, even when they have housing vouchers in hand.
The “Housing Heroes'' campaign will feature profiles and testimonials of homeowners, property managers and tenants who have participated in housing rental assistance and home-sharing programs. Participants in the campaign will demonstrate the various ways in which housing programs can improve the lives of residents while meeting the needs of property owners. Some homeowners have opted to share their home with a fellow senior citizen or college student, for example, to help pay the mortgage, bring in extra income or to have companionship.
Due to the high cost of Sonoma County’s rental market for median-income residents, those who rely on rental assistance programs or other subsidies often struggle to find adequate housing. According to county and city housing officials, more than 300 individuals who have qualified for housing vouchers are currently looking for places to rent. More than 150 housing vouchers in the county expired between 2021 and this year - many because the tenant could not find housing available to them.
“We want to take the myth out of home sharing and the housing rental assistance program and empower property managers and clients to build relationships that will help house people, including those at risk of homelessness,” said Supervisor James Gore, chair of the Board of Supervisors. “Everybody deserves a home, and, with the community’s help, we can make that a reality for many.”
Through stories and testimonials about successful relationships between property managers and tenants, the County of Sonoma and the City of Santa Rosa seek to encourage property managers and homeowners to accept tenants who participate in rental assistance programs such as those who hold Section 8 housing vouchers or seek to participate in home-sharing options.
“Vouchers are an excellent tool to help address our local housing crisis,” said Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Rogers. “This program can not only help get our community’s most vulnerable stable, but it can also help struggling homeowners bring in the additional income they need to live in our high-cost area.”
Who is considered a Housing Hero?
- Those who have opened their homes or rentals to tenants with housing vouchers or who have raised their voices in support of helping those who are low income, homeless, or disabled find safe and affordable housing in our community.
- Those who share their voices to combat the stigma that to be low income, to be homeless, to be disabled means you are less deserving of or less desiring of a safe home.
- Community leaders, innovators, and change makers who make affordable homes available and advocate for homes for everyone.
Sonoma County’s shelters are frequently at capacity. Overall, the county has a shortfall of affordable housing units, including permanent supportive housing units, for families and/or individuals experiencing homelessness.
There are roughly 300 clients who hold housing vouchers but can’t find a place to rent. Housing vouchers offer guaranteed rental income to willing homeowners and property managers. Properties are inspected to make sure they are decent, safe, and sanitary. For minor repairs, the Housing Authority may have funds to assist with correcting the issues.
To afford the average asking rent of $1,934 a month in Sonoma County, renters need to earn at least $37.19 per hour, which is more than twice the living wage in Sonoma County. According to the Portrait of Sonoma, median individual earnings for 2021 was $40,531, which breaks down to $3,377 in median income per month. Typically, housing should be 30% of a person’s income, but here in Sonoma County the average monthly rental amount ends up costing more than 50% of the median individual income.
“Housing Heroes” extends an invitation to housing advocates, property managers, faith-based groups, and homeowners across the region to help provide more housing options. Local housing authorities plan on holding educational seminars so property managers and homeowners can learn about the rental assistance programs available in the community. Please visit regional housing sites to learn more about programs and initiatives:
Sonoma County Housing Authority: https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/development-services/community- development-commission/divisions/sonoma-county-housing- authority/housing-heroes
Santa Rosa Media Contact