Sonoma County Buys Hotel To House Homeless Vulnerable To COVID


SONOMA COUNTY, CA — The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved the purchase Tuesday of a hotel in downtown Santa Rosa for $7.95-million. The hotel will house homeless people who are most vulnerable to developing COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Funds for the purchase of Hotel Azura, 635 Healdsburg Ave., were supplied by the state of California through its Project Homekey program, county officials said Tuesday in a news release.

Once escrow closes next week, the county will convert Hotel Azura into interim housing using Project Homekey funds secured by the county earlier this year.

Hotel Azura has 44 recently remodeled rooms in the center of Santa Rosa, with capacity to house 66 people.

“Adding Hotel Azura into our housing portfolio will give us the opportunity to bring more of our COVID-19 vulnerable individuals who are experiencing homelessness into supportive housing, with a path to permanent housing,” said Susan Gorin, chair of the Board of Supervisors Susan Gorin. “I applaud the state for helping counties pursue housing that truly meets people’s needs, with supportive services and access to grocery stores, medical services and transportation.”

The county will give priority for the housing resource to people experiencing homelessness who are most vulnerable to COVID-19.

Those housed at the hotel will participate in the county’s ACCESS — Accessing Coordinated Care to Empower Self Sufficiency— Initiative, which county officials described as an innovative program that provides individualized, integrated services to individuals experiencing homelessness based on their needs and supports.

The county and community programs provide wraparound and holistic care and interventions, which are critical to improving well-being and self-sufficiency, county officials said. Services include primary health care, behavioral health services and supports, economic assistance, food assistance, employment training and other services. These resources and services are key determinants of successful housing placement and the permanency of these placements, the county said.

Also on Tuesday, supervisors also approved the purchase of the Sebastopol Inn, pending funding from the state. Because of the large number of applications the state has received for Project Homekey, the Sebastopol Inn application is on a waitlist for funding.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Project Homekey in June, and in July made $600 million in funding available. Of that, $550 million has been provided to cities and counties by California’s direct allocation of the federal Coronavirus Aid Relief Funds, with an additional $50 million provided by the state to supplement the acquisition and provide initial operating funds.



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