Community Foundation Sonoma County has long been involved with the issue of homelessness and became increasingly committed to addressing this challenge when Charles DeMeo left us a bequest with the provision that we devote a portion of his gift “…to benefit the homeless people of Sonoma County, with a primary emphasis upon mothers with young families…to enable them to better provide for themselves and their families and to become full and meaningful participants of society.”
While no single program can eliminate homelessness, the Foundation has embarked upon a five-year plan to develop a significantly different approach to this chronic problem and is currently engaged with Catholic Charities, Committee on the Shelterless (COTS) in Petaluma, Community Action Partnership, Women’s Recovery Services, and the YWCA. Over the course of the past two years, the Foundation has held a series of meetings designed to help these organizations share knowledge and resources and identify measures that will guide program work and goals.
All involved believe that in working together, a system can be implemented that will address the reasons families become and remain homeless and that through this work, families who are currently homeless will be able to find permanent housing and break the cycle of multi-generational homelessness. The value of working together cannot be overstated. While each of us understands a piece of the puzzle, it is through a collaborative effort that solutions will be found and implemented.