The City of Sonoma has its first-ever Homelessness Strategic Plan. The Sonoma City Council voted unanimously on Wednesday, May 3, 2023, to approve the Three-Year Action Plan to End Homelessness (Plan) which was a year in the making. The goal of the plan is to reach “Functional Zero” homelessness in the Sonoma Valley by June 30, 2026. To achieve this goal, the plan calls for the City to work with the County of Sonoma and local service providers to create a highly coordinated, housing-focused system of care that is sustainable and enduring.
The City’s Homelessness Consultant Andrew Henning presented an overview of the homelessness crisis, an analysis of the current system in Sonoma Valley, key findings, and a set of recommended strategies to use to implement the Plan at the meeting. Henning advised focusing efforts on the following six areas to effectively reach Functional Zero homelessness:
- Coordinate outreach in line with the County’s Continuum of Care Strategic Plan,
- Centralize services around the Hwy 12 corridor,
- Coordinate with broader community efforts to address the upstream causes of homelessness (e.g., food insecurity, affordable housing development, mental health, healthcare…).
- Expand more local affordable and supportive housing,
- Increase non-congregate shelter capacity, and
- Increase and improve the organizational and financial capacity of local service providers.
As outlined in the plan, “Functional Zero” is defined as the idea that even though a homeless system of care might not be able to fully reform the upstream issues causing homelessness, it can house every person experiencing long-term homelessness (more than 90 days) and ensure homelessness is rare, brief, and one-time for anyone who becomes homeless thereafter (less than 90 days).
The Plan will help guide and coordinate efforts to prevent and address homelessness within the City of Sonoma and Sonoma Valley, including funding decisions related to homelessness initiatives and support for non-profit service providers that focus on the unhoused. Staff will be exploring various options for implementing some of the objectives of the Plan in coordination with Sonoma County’s 5-Year Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness for the coming fiscal year.
View the plan and watch a recording of the meeting on our CivicWeb Portal.