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Department of Health Services

For Immediate Release

Sonoma County to transition homeless shelter sites; annual survey shows decrease in homelessness

September 12, 2023

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors today voted to replace the Emergency Shelter Site at the County campus with housing systems that are longer-term. The discussion came as the Supervisors received a report that showed the number of homeless individuals in Sonoma County decreased by 22 percent from last year.

The 2023 Point-in-Time Count showed that a total of 2,266 homeless individuals were counted during the one-day census taken on Jan. 27, 2023, compared to 2,893 individuals counted in 2022. It was the largest year-over-year decrease in homelessness since a 27 percent decrease in 2015.

The board’s decision will lead to closing the Emergency Shelter Site, established in March in a parking lot at 2550 Ventura Ave., as the County creates a 2.4-acre site on Russell Avenue that can accommodate a mix of RV and trailer parking with tiny homes. It will also lead to the phase–out of 3.5-year-old pallet shelters at Los Guilicos Village in favor of refurbished dormitories on the east Santa Rosa site.

“We have made ending homelessness and creating affordable housing our priorities in Sonoma County, with investments in new shelter facilities, expanded supportive services and the development of current and new affordable housing projects,” said Supervisor Chris Coursey, chair of the Board of Supervisors. “We have more work to do, and we won’t let up on our commitment to achieving ‘functional zero,’ which means any episode of homelessness is rare, brief and non-recurring.”

The annual PIT Count report showed the number of homeless individuals in unsheltered circumstances decreased from 2,088 in 2022 to 1,291 in 2023. Conversely, the number of individuals in sheltered circumstances increased from 805 in 2022 to 975 in 2023. The reduction in unsheltered individuals reflects an overall increase in the number of beds available at new housing projects in the county.

The transition of the two shelter sites, expected to take place by the end of the year, is estimated to cost about $3 million. The Russell Avenue site will add 50 beds through RV/trailer parking and up to 24 beds in 12 tiny homes. The refurbishment of two vacant dormitories at Los Guilicos will add up to 140 beds, with the 60 individual shelters being removed, for a net addition of up to 80 beds.

The full Sonoma County’s 2023 Point-in-Time Homeless Count report can be found on

Media Contact: 
Gilbert Martinez, Communications Specialist
(707) 565-3040
575 Administration Drive, Suite 104A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403