Sonoma County homelessness agency reshuffles leadership amid surge in spending on crisis

9 March 2022

Volunteer Sherrie Vaughn helps a homeless person wake up with a drink of water in the Park & Ride homeless tent encampment near Roberts Lake in northern Rohnert Park on Monday, Feb. 7, 2022. (Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

Sonoma County’s joint homelessness agency — in charge of millions of dollars in public funding and key policy decisions — has for the fourth time in nearly as many years reshuffled its leadership board to better tackle the local crisis as unprecedented sums of state and federal money are now pouring into the region.

The entity, known as the Sonoma County Continuum of Care, has since its inception just over a decade ago been hampered by bureaucracy, mismanagement and poor communication, according to critics and a scathing 2020 civil grand jury report.

In hopes of building a more unified response to homelessness, the Continuum of Care, which includes county and city representatives, last week finalized the latest iteration of its now 17-member decision-making board. One of the main goals was to add members from smaller cities, giving them a stake in policy and spending decisions as California and the federal government are offering much more money — including $12 billion from the state — to launch and expand programs for the unhoused.

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