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Sonoma County supervisors approve five-year strategic plan to combat homelessness

PIX Now -- Thursday morning headlines from the KPIX newsroom
PIX Now -- Thursday morning headlines from the KPIX newsroom 06:02

SANTA ROSA (CBS SF/BCN) – The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted to approve a five-year strategic plan to reduce homelessness put forth Tuesday by the Continuum of Care, the county's collaborative effort on homeless services. 

County officials said the plan is the result of more than 18 months of meetings with stakeholders, the public and individuals who have experienced homelessness in Sonoma County.  

Last year, 2,893 homeless individuals were counted in the county's annual point-in-time survey of people without shelter. The county conducted this year's survey last week and the results should be released later in the year. 

The county has three major goals to reduce homelessness over five years. First, the number of available interim beds would increase by 200, with at least 100 added this year, along with 1,000 permanent housing beds with at least 200 added this year.  

Second, the county wants to provide stronger supportive services such as health care, job training and substance recovery. 

Finally, the county would like to see one coordinated system operating between local government, providers and stakeholders instead of multiple, disparate outlets acting somewhat independently.  

The current process of prioritizing certain populations will be revamped as well, the county said. The goal is achieving more equitable placements for Black, Indigenous and other people of color experiencing homelessness. 

Mental and physical health care services would also be expanded and supported living staff would receive a living wage for Sonoma County, which rose to $17.25 on Jan. 1.  

The strategic plan also asks for a redesign of the county's street-level outreach, so that all areas of the county are covered by qualified teams that can assist clients with higher needs.  

"This is a pivotal step in increasing the housing stock and providing the necessary resources to successfully keep individuals housed," Supervisor Chris Coursey said about the plan in a statement released Tuesday.  

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