For Immediate Release
Sonoma County to host first-ever job and resource fair for homeless on March 22 in Santa Rosa
SANTA ROSA, CA | March 13, 2023
Sonoma County will host its first-ever job and resource fair for people experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless on March 22 at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building, 1351 Maple Ave.
The job and resource fair, which will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., will feature 47 local employers and service providers offering support with housing and other resources, including a drop-in resume clinic and free lunch. The event is a collaborative effort between Sonoma County Job Link and more than a dozen community organizations.
“Our goal is to help people who are currently homeless or at risk of becoming homeless get on a path toward stable, dignified housing,” said Supervisor Chris Coursey, chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. “A good job is a crucial step on that path. This event will connect participants with local employers and resources to develop the skills they need to get hired, along with critical support services that can help stabilize their lives.”
The county’s annual point-in-time count identified 2,893 people experiencing homelessness in Sonoma County last year, an increase of 5 percent from the 2,745 individuals counted in 2020.
“The unhoused don’t just need employment,” said Antonio Vigil, a supervisor with Sonoma County Job Link. “They need help with Social Security, food, medical and mental health support — what we call wraparound services. That’s why this event isn’t just a job fair, it’s also a resource fair.”
In addition to connecting participants with support services, the event is designed to help unsheltered people find work or move into a better job. Sonoma County Job Link, a program of the county Human Services Department, has connected 37 unhoused individuals with employment in thelast two years. Some individuals were able to afford housing after getting a job.
“At Job Link, we believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to achieve their full potential and live with dignity and respect,” said Katie Greaves, director of the Employment and Training Division in the Human Services Department. “This event will provide resources and potential pathways to employment, a core building block to stable income and ultimately housing. We value our partnerships with local employers and community organizations as we work together to break down barriers to employment.”
The event at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building will include services tailored for military veterans from Nation’s Finest, a Santa Rosa nonprofit that provides supportive services to veterans and their families. Veterans can experience conditions such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, substance abuse and other conditions that place them at increased risk for homelessness. Last year’s point-in-time count identified 191 homeless veterans in Sonoma County.
“Our mission is to support America’s military veterans and their families with a comprehensive approach to housing, health and employment that helps them achieve self-sufficiency and reach their full potential,” said Mary Haynes, regional director with Nation’s Finest for Northern California and the Central Coast.
More than 150 $25 gift cards will be given away thanks to generous donations by Sunrise Rotary Club members, who will also be serving a free lunch and snacks to participants.
Supervisor Coursey, who represents the 3rd District, will be speaking at the event. The job and resource fair is produced by Sonoma County Job Link, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa, Committee on the Shelterless, Department of Rehabilitation, Goodwill Redwood Empire, HomeFirst Sonoma County, Homeless Outreach team Victim Services, Interfaith Shelter Network, Micah’s Hugs, Nation’s Finest, Petaluma Family Resource Center, SHARE Sonoma County, Sonoma Applied Village Services, SonomaWORKS, and Community Support Network. Each of these agencies will be providing on-site service connections at the fair.
Pre-registration is not required. For more information about the job and resource fair, e-mail Maureen Fifer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kristen Font, Communications Specialist
Sonoma County Human Services Department