The Homeless Outreach Services Team (HOST), which is funded by the City and operated by Catholic Charities, is preparing to launch expanded outreach services in downtown Santa Rosa. HOST is the City’s designated outreach provider and has served to engage persons experiencing homelessness into services, shelter, and housing since 2015. In October, the Santa Rosa City Council authorized increasing HOST’s contract by $100,000 for the remainder of the fiscal year ending June 30, 2024. The increase brought the City’s total HOST contract to approximately $1.13 million, which is funded with one-time American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds and does not impact the City’s General Fund.
HOST will use the increased funding to employ two additional dedicated outreach workers to proactively engage business owners, community members, and persons experiencing homelessness in downtown Santa Rosa to include Courthouse Square, Railroad Square, West End and St. Rose neighborhoods, and downtown parks. The outreach efforts will include helping refer and enroll residents experiencing homelessness in community resources, services, shelter, and housing; working with downtown business owners and community members to determine areas of concern; attending weekly meetings with the downtown ambassadors of NexStreet, a program of the Santa Rosa Downtown District funded through the Downtown Action Organization, and City staff; coordinating outreach with the Santa Rosa Police Department’s Downtown Enforcement Team; providing clean-ups in coordination with NexStreet’s efforts in the downtown services area; and participating in community meetings and special events at the request of the City.
HOST intends to build on its previous efforts which have successfully helped to reduce homelessness in Santa Rosa; between Fiscal Year 2021/22 and 2022/23, HOST increased the number of people served by 24% (504 to 627 individuals); increased shelter placements by 110% (137 to 288 individuals); and increased housing placements by 55% (71 to 110 individuals). These outcomes contributed, in part, to the progress Santa Rosa has made to reduce homelessness by 30%, as reflected in the 2023 homeless count.
Visit the City’s Legistar website for more information included in the staff report and resolution adopted by City Council on Oct. 24, 2023.