The purpose of the emergency winter shelter is to provide a basic, life-saving place for homeless adults in Western Sonoma County to sleep indoors during winter months.
The shelter population will be limited to individuals from West Sonoma County. Individuals seeking shelter from outside West Sonoma County will be allowed up to one night of shelter and will receive a bus pass to access other shelters in the County.
The shelter will be open 2-4 months from approximately mid- November/December to February/March.
The Winter Shelter will be located at the Vets Hall at First and Church in Guerneville.
Shelter Hours of Operation and Services
The shelter will be open to homeless individuals from 5 pm to 7 am daily. At least one meal will be provided to residents daily. Services at the shelter are minimal. Floor mats and bedding will be provided. Referrals to employment, substance abuse, counseling, and other services will be made when staff are available. Once a week a health outreach worker will provide basic medical screenings and referrals to the local Russian River Health Center.
The shelter will operate as a Behavior-Based program whereby individuals who are willing and able to agree to a set of behavioral standards while in the shelter and in the community will be granted access to the shelter. Those who cannot adhere to the behavioral standards will be temporarily or permanently prohibited from receiving shelter services (based upon the severity of the issue). No alcohol or drugs are ever permitted on site and a violation of this policy will result in expulsion from the shelter.
The emergency shelter is minimally funded with a combination of Community Development Block Grant funds (through a competitive application process) and affordable housing sub-funds (discretionary funds assigned by County staff coming from TOT revenues). Funds pay for rent, utilities, staff, and supplies for the shelter.
Addressing a Misperception
We sincerely apologize for the misperception that WCCS staff had promised the community a shelter that would exclusively serve “Guerneville Homeless”. For over 6 years the shelter has had a mission to serve West County homeless adults. The WCCS responsibility to our funding agency is to serve the entire region. There has been a concerted, committed effort by WCCS to pre-screen and promote the shelter to ONLY those local to West County – and a promise to deny shelter access to anyone from outside of the West County region. That promise to the community is unwavering and will be upheld throughout the winter season. To date, 22 individuals are pre-registered and 100% of them are from the Lower Russian River.
Community Input & Communication
We need and want your partnership and feedback to keep our Shelter Director Jan DeWald and Executive Director Katrina Thurman in the loop with any questions or concerns that you have during this shelter season. We are committed to safe neighborhoods and healthy communities and we will address every issue to the best of our abilities.