Sonoma County supervisors last week approved $450,000 for projects targeting homelessness on the lower Russian River where a growing number of people have been living on the streets and in roadside encampments in recent years.
The projects are part of a community effort to alleviate homelessness and its impacts, with the stated goal of placing 50 people from the area into permanent, stable housing by January 2019.
Most of the approved projects received only half the money they requested, according to Guerneville School Superintendent Dana Pedersen, who serves on a community task force on homelessness assembled by 5th District Supervisor Lynda Hopkins.
“There are many opportunities still there,” Pedersen told the Board of Supervisors last week.
The board unanimously approved five funded proposals. They include $221,000 to West County Community Services for identifying housing and getting homeless individuals housed; $100,000 to the Russian Riverkeeper/Clean River Alliance for environmental education and promotion of trash collection to prevent camp waste from polluting the watershed; $58,000 to Social Advocates for Youth for outreach to young adults struggling with a lack of housing; $50,000 to the Russian River Alliance for emergency relief for hospitality and service workers; and $20,000 to Russian River Area Resources and Advocates for coordination of community efforts to housing access.