Funding for Affordable Housing, Child Care, and Homeless Prevention Secured in Sonoma County Grants

California Financial Assistance

The Sonoma County, California Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved grant funding totaling $7.14 million for a range of essential projects aimed at addressing critical needs within the community. These grants, awarded as part of an annual cycle, will support initiatives in affordable housing, affordable child care, and homeless prevention. Approximately 20 organizations have been recommended by the county’s Community Development Commission to receive funding.

The main objective of these grants is to assist Sonoma County residents who fall under the categories of very low income, low income, moderate income, or are homeless. The funding for these projects is sourced from federal programs administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), reflecting the commitment of the federal government to address pressing community needs.

Key Project Highlights:

  1. $2.4 million has been allocated to Mid-Peninsula the Farm, a nonprofit organization, to construct Summer Oaks, an affordable housing development consisting of 72 units in Sonoma.
  2. The Sonoma County Community Development Commission will receive $500,000 for housing rehabilitation efforts and the implementation of earthquake-resistant bracing systems.
  3. West County Community Services has been granted $486,051 to facilitate homeless outreach, provide health and mental health services, and support homeless prevention initiatives.
  4. Burbank Housing will receive $471,895 to construct Dry Creek Commons, a housing complex comprising 57 affordable units in Healdsburg.
  5. Homeless Action Sonoma has been awarded $375,000 for two projects known as Home and Safe Center and Home and Safe Navigation Center.
  6. Legal Aid of Sonoma County will receive $270,956 to support its housing justice program.

The application process for obtaining these federal funds involves meeting the criteria set forth by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Rhonda Coffman, the community development director for the commission, explained that the process began in December 2022 with the opening of the annual funding cycle. It includes technical assistance workshops, one-on-one meetings to discuss project proposals, a public hearing, and thorough application reviews before the final recommended projects are presented to the board.

During the board meeting, there was notable discussion regarding a grant proposal from WeeCare, a new child care services business. The Community Development Commission had recommended awarding $258,000 to WeeCare for its BOOST program, which offers digital resources to local child care providers. Executive directors from 4Cs Sonoma County, River to Coast Children’s Services, and First 5 Sonoma County submitted a letter objecting to the grant proposal, citing concerns about the company’s collaboration with local providers and the allocation of funding.

While some expressed reservations, Katherine Fuentes from WeeCare emphasized the program’s benefits, including access to a digital curriculum library, financial record tracking, and networking opportunities for child care providers. The board ultimately approved the grant but directed the commission’s staff to ensure WeeCare collaborates closely with local service providers, including 4Cs.

These grants signify the county’s commitment to addressing critical community needs and investing in the well-being and stability of its residents. By supporting affordable housing, affordable child care, and homeless prevention initiatives, Sonoma County takes an important step toward enhancing the quality of life for its residents and ensuring a brighter future for all.

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