Sonoma County Addresses Homelessness

On August 25th, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors began the first steps to create affordable housing for up to 2,000 people throughout the county. This new effort was based, in part, around the release of their biennial Homeless Census and Survey conducted by ASR. The Census, which took place on January 23rd, found 3,107 individuals experiencing homelessness in Sonoma County, down 27% from 2013. Sonoma County is adopting the “housing first” approach of combating homelessness, focusing on finding housing for individuals experiencing homelessness before matching them with the services they need. It builds upon homeless data suggesting that the cost of providing housing for  homeless individuals is less than the cost of addressing side effects of homelessness, including emergency room usage and legal costs. The “housing first” approach has already had successes in local areas, including Santa Cruz, thanks to the local Project 180/2020, and is an exciting method of addressing homelessness.

In addition to Sonoma County, ASR also conducted a Census and Survey for San Francisco, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Marin, and Solano counties. These counties are in the process of evaluating their data and taking appropriate steps to reduce, and hopefully eliminate, homelessness. If you would like to view Sonoma County's report click here, or please visit ASR’s website to view the reports of all counties.

Stay tuned to future ASR Newsletters for an article featuring the combined survey data from all 9 counties. ASR conducted thousands of surveys of homeless individuals in these counties and the data they contain is vital to understanding the issue of homelessness.

If you have questions about the Sonoma Homeless Census and Survey, or any other homeless projects, please contact Peter Connery at Peter@appliedsurveyresearch.org or 831-728-1356.