Transform Lives & Our Community

Four naming opportunities that will save and transform lives in the lower Russian River.

West County Community Services (WCCS) is seeking progressive social investors whose values align with ours: strengthening our community one person at a time.

WCCS is poised to transform George’s Hideaway, a shuttered former tavern and restaurant located on Highway 116 along the lower Russian River, into a housing and mental health center. The new facility will contain a peer mental health center, service navigation center, and 21 apartments for formerly homeless individuals. Within this complex, we’ve created four naming opportunities to pair your generosity with a proven approach to lifting neighbors out of homelessness and into independent living. Funding from naming rights will provide unrestricted funds to directly support the project’s mental health, employment, and housing navigation services.

The impact of your gift is both immediate and lasting. It reaches beyond the individuals we serve to help mend the fabric of our community.

The Impact of Your Gift: 4 Naming Opportunities

$1,000,000 George’s Hideaway Main Building
$500,000 Supportive Housing Complexes (21 Units)
$250,000 Peer Mental Health Empowerment Center within the main building
$250,000 Homeless Services Navigation Center within the main building

This is Our Opportunity

George’s Hideaway Permanent Supportive Housing and Peer Mental Health Center offers comprehensive help in one location.
WCCS raised $9.5 million to develop and complete a practical solution to homelessness in the lower Russian River.

George’s Hideaway will combine:
  • 21 permanent supportive housing units
  • The Main Building, which includes:
    • The Empowerment Center (peer mental health walk-in site)
    • Service Navigation Center
    • Learning Kitchen | Bathrooms | Laundry | Office Space for Staff
    • Flex space that allows for medical team visits from partner agency West County Health Centers
    • Behavioral health and housing services

Each housing unit is a fully contained studio apartment including a bathroom, kitchen, and living space.

Life expectancy in Sonoma County is 82 years. For the homeless, it is 55 years—the span of a full generation!

When Luis lost his job following a cancer diagnosis, he and his family—wife Maria and their two children, ages 6 and 8—moved into a shed on a West County property. They were allowed access to the house bathroom and given a single bulb for the shed’s one light socket. The hospital, now aware that Luis was homeless and living in a place “not fit for human habitation,” cancelled his chemotherapy, fearing liability due to unmonitored side effects. Luis’s situation is not unique. West County Community Services (WCCS) was alerted to the family’s situation and, within a few weeks, was able to house Luis’s family. Today, Luis is healthy, and both Luis and Maria have returned to work.

Housing is healthcare.

Naming Opportunities

The Main Building: The Main Building will house all elements of supportive services for the residents of George’s Hideaway, including kitchen, bathroom, and laundry facilities. The Empowerment Center and Service Navigation Center will occupy the largest sections of the Main Building.

The peer mental health Empowerment Center will occupy the western end of the building. It will be staffed by WCCS employees who, while in mental health recovery themselves, are trained to provide individual and group counseling to their peers living onsite and those who walk-in for services. Overseen by a licensed mental health professional, the program will provide each resident access to more than 30 hours of weekly mental health services.

The Service Navigation Center will occupy the eastern end of the building. An onsite Service Navigator and Case Manager will provide the newly housed residents, and any walk-in clients, with assistance in re-engaging with employment, social services, family connections, and healthcare resources. An additional flex space within the Center will provide an office for partner agencies, particularly West County Health Centers, to provide specialized onsite services.

The Supportive Housing Complexes include 21 fully self-contained units with kitchen, toilet, shower, and living and sleeping area. Each unit will house 1-2 previously homeless individuals.

The project location is ideal:
  • The 2.1 acre site lies above the floodplain and is not subject to frequent evacuations.
  • Monte Rio and Guerneville businesses are subject to homeless individuals loitering in public and depressing commerce. Even if not living onsite, the Service Navigation Center will offer a healthy daytime place for people without homes to be indoors and receive mental health and housing navigation services.
  • Employment and shopping opportunities within Guerneville are only 1.6 miles away. The WCCS Employment Specialist will support clients with resume development, job readiness, and employment searches. In addition to the free public bus that stops frequently at the site, we will provide a shuttle in the morning and afternoon.

This is Our Community

The Lower Russian River is home to 1% of Sonoma County’s total population. 6% of the County’s homeless live here.

A shortage of affordable housing, combined with mental health and addiction challenges, are the main drivers of homelessness. Once homeless and living outdoors disconnected from the broader community, people weaken mentally and physically. The problem is particularly acute on the Lower Russian River. Currently, only 14 of Sonoma County’s 1,016 supportive housing beds are located in the lower Russian River. That’s 1.3% for 6% of the County’s homeless population…

Housing the homeless saves individual lives AND public money.

Study after study confirms that it costs less to bring a person out of homelessness than to leave them on the streets, where many rely on emergency services and the jail system to provide their lifesaving needs. Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) is the most cost-effective method of reducing homelessness. PSH links housing with services that address causes of homelessness like addiction and mental illness, and that build skills for a sustainable home, social, and work life. In June 2023, the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative published the most comprehensive study on homelessness since the mid-1990s, Toward a New Understanding: The California Statewide Study of People Experiencing Homelessness. The study’s #1 recommendation is to “Increase access to affordable housing to extremely low income households.” In other words, housing is the key to ending homelessness.

You can help end homelessness in your community today with a gift to WCCS. Thank you for your generosity and support.

Join us in saving and transforming lives in our lower Russian River community!

Learn more about the game-changing impact and legacy of lending your name to George’s Hideaway. Phone Tim Miller at 707-823-1640 x101 or email tim.miller@westcountyservices.org.

About West County Community Services, Operator of George’s Hideaway

Founded in 1978, WCCS is a highly regarded public service non-profit organization based in western Sonoma County. The agency manages multiple housing and homeless services sites and effectively integrates these programs with its employment, senior, and mental health services. The WCCS homeless housing site, Mill St., was rated by Sonoma County Continuum of Care as the county’s top-ranked housing project three years in a row. WCCS also manages the only four walk-in peer mental health sites in Sonoma County, including the Empowerment Center in Monte Rio—where people in mental health recovery are trained to support their peers. Overseen by a 12-member Board of Directors, WCCS employs 70 full and part time staff and manages a $6 million annual budget.

WCCS is uniquely positioned to manage GH and provide cost-effective and impactful responses to the main drivers and impacts of homelessness:

  • Lack of affordable housing
  • Addiction and mental health
  • Social disconnection from supportive services

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