Update on Homelessness Services/Programs Meeting on 2.11.2020

Message from Rev. Curran Reichert — President of SOS

Greetings on behalf of the SOS board, and the Sonoma Valley Interfaith Ministerial Association,

A few years back I heard the author of Just Mercy Brian Stevenson give a presentation to a group of concerned citizens. He said two things that have stayed with me:

“A society should be judged not by how it treats its outstanding citizens but by how it treats its criminals.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The second was that is we cared about changing an issue we must get proximate to that issue. That means not standing outside of it but becoming deeply engaged with it in order to create solutions.

Homelessness and its attendant consequences is one of the issues I have spent the last decade of my life getting close to and like many of you, I have discovered that that there is no one size fits all solution.

People without permanent shelter are as diverse as any group and the trustworthiness or lack of trustworthiness cannot be based on the behavior of a few individuals.

What is clear is that where homeless in our Valley is concerned, have reached a boiling point, this population is growing faster than our ability to come up with solutions and many of us are frustrated and scared because we don’t know what to do. If that is true for you and me, imagine how much truer it is for the homeless themselves.

I realize that it is no one’s intention here to demonize the homeless, everyone is interested in creating a sustainable response to this mounting crisis. I suggest that in all areas of our discussion we might be mindful not to create polarities, when we catch ourselves saying they do or they did- it is a signal that we are creating chasms rather than bridges. There is no us and them, there is only we.

Besides, boiling points are not necessarily bad things, for it is there that we often come up with the most creative solutions. I believe that the answers we seek can be found in gatherings like these, but only if we are able to create safe containers for people to have honest and heartfelt conversations. And only if the emphasis is on responding to this crisis rather than reacting to it. Thank you for coming tonight.

A Sonoma County Homeless Census & Survey 2019 Executive Summary and Community-Wide Telephone Survey 2019 Executive Summary was handed.. (see attachments).


Homeless Survey #1

Homeless Survey #2

Telephone Survey