Sonoma County has joined Santa Barbara and San Francisco counties as the second cohort of communities in the state to accept Gov. Gavin Newsom's 100-day challenge to address homelessness. The 100-day challenge seeks to end homelessness for specific targeted populations such as veterans or youth, utilizing the $650 million in homeless emergency aid made available by the governor in fiscal year 2020-21.
Representatives from each county met to determine county-specific goals and focus. Sonoma County has settled on the ambitious goal of connecting 65 transition age youth (TAY) to housing.
The county seeks to have a specific focus on youth who identify as LGBTQ+ and identify as Black, Indigenous or as a Person-of-Color. In addition to providing housing for these 65 youth, the Sonoma County 100-Day Challenge will aim to reshape and reimagine the homeless response system and ensure housing accessibility to the maximum number of youth possible.
The three sponsor-mentors of the 100-Day challenge are Amber Twitchell with On the Move, Anita Maldonado with Social Advocates for Youth, and Tom Bieri with Community Support Network.
"I am thrilled to see all of the agencies who support youth in Sonoma County bringing new resources to the table and finding creative new ways to collaborate," Bieri said. "I am confident that the team will not only meet the 100-day goal but will continue to utilize the new resources and enhanced communication avenues to house more youth once the challenge is over."
Martha Cheever, the housing authority manager with the Sonoma County Housing Authority, and Bella Ortega, SAY's Street Outreach Coordinator, will be the team leads for the Sonoma County 100-Day Challenge team.
"I am excited to be a part of this cohort and am looking forward to seeing the collaboration between Sonoma County agencies to better help serve our TAY population that is experiencing homelessness," said Ortega on her involvement with the 100-Day Challenge.
The 100-Day Challenge team includes the following partners: Buckelew Programs, Interfaith Shelter Network, Sonoma County Housing Authority, Beacon Health Strategies, Legal Aid Sonoma County, Social Advocates for Youth, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa, Petaluma Health Centers, Sonoma County Behavioral Health (Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol Services), Cloverdale Community Outreach, Petaluma People Services, Sonoma County Public Health Services, Committee on the Shelterless, Reach for Home, Sonoma Overnight Support, Community Action Partnership, Red Cross, The Living Room, Community Support Network, Redwood Gospel Mission, Veteran's Resource Centers of America, County of Sonoma Human Services, Saint Vincent de Paul, Volunteer Center of Sonoma County 2-1-1, Drug Abuse Alternatives Center, Santa Rosa Health Centers, West County Health Centers, Face to Face, Sober Sonoma, West County Community Services, Family Justice Center, Access Sonoma Interdepartmental Multidisciplinary Team , Young Women's Christian Association of Sonoma County, San Francisco VA Healthcare Care System, Overland, Pacific & Cutler, LLC , TLC Child and Family Services, Sonoma County Family Youth and Children's Division, Santa Rosa Housing Authority, VOICES, Positive Images, LGBTQ Connection, Sonoma County Department of Education, and the Sonoma County Probation Department.
The 100-day challenges were developed through the Rapid Results Institute in coordination with the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness and have spurred innovative ways of tackling homelessness in several communities across the country.