“Dream Property” in Santa Rosa Will House Homeless Youth

Sutter Health last week transferred ownership of the former Warrack Hospital in east Santa Rosa to an organization with plans to convert it into transitional housing for disadvantaged young adults.

Sutter, which closed the Summerfield Road hospital in 2008, completed the donation of the property, valued at $9.5 million, at no cost to Social Advocates for Youth.

The social service organization plans to convert the building into up to 63 units of affordable housing and other services for 18- to 24-year-olds who are former foster children or at risk of homelessness.

The project, dubbed the Dream Center, sparked fierce opposition from some neighbors but enjoyed strong support from city and community leaders.

Matt Martin, executive director of SAY, said the organization had a lot of work to do behind the scenes to make sure the property transfer went smoothly.

“It’s a really valuable gift, so we just wanted to make sure it was done right,” Martin said.

The project is moving forward despite a lawsuit brought by neighbors who claim the environmental analysis of the project was flawed, Martin said.

Homelessness disproportionately effects LGBTQI youth, many of who are rejected by their families.  SAY is aware of this problem and tries to refer those who identify as LGBTQI to groups that may provide additional support,

The next steps are to get permit approval from the city and launch a fundraising campaign, he said.