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Numbers Matter - What are we spending on the unhoused?

The Short Answer: The City is spending less than $150,000 out of our $12.5 million budget for 22-23. Do I wish it were less? Of course. Am I VERY pleased its not more? That's a big yes! Are we getting quality service for that ~$150,000? That's a huge YES. 

The Details:

$150K in City Funding for Quality Services: $75,000 for a homeless outreach worker who connects the unhoused with County and other services and also acts as a liaison for our police department, and $73,000 for management of Park Village, the case managed affordable housing mobile home park in town. Effective and efficient services from the nonprofit West County Community Services. 

Federal/State/County $$ Covers the Rest: Aside from Park Village, we also have Horizon Shine and Elderberry Commons in our town. Neither is receiving City funding for its operations. They are operated by nonprofits that receive federal and state monies through the County. How about the portapotties and hand washing stations that were set up on Morris to serve the encampment that was there before Horizon Shine opened? Again, those did not affect our City budget because they were covered by a grant lined up by West County Community Services (the manager of Park Village). Even the funding the City provided to Horizon Shine at the outset of the program're seeing the pattern here...reimbursed to the City budget through County funding.

If you’re curious about the City budget, you can see it HERE. Pro Tip: If you download the pdf, you can search the document for specific words or phrases. As a seasoned budget reviewer, I can tell you it's a LOT easier to find information in this huge document if you use the search option.
  • Total City Revenue & Expenses Summary (pg 8 of the 22-23 Budget).
  • $75,000 for Homeless Outreach Worker (pg 48 of the 22-23 Budget).
  • $73,000 for Park Village Management Contract (pg 139 of the 22-23 Budget). 
  • $0 for Horizon Shine (pg 37 in the 22-23 Budget for the $80,000 County grant that covers the $60,000 expense found at pg 48).
In Closing: Homelessness is a huge and complicated problem. It's impressive how well we've dealt with it in our town. It's shown again that we have a big heart, but that we figure out a way to do what's right in a pragmatic, cost-effective way that leverages all the resources available to us. For a relatively small amount of money, we've addressed an issue effectively and compassionately. Is it perfect? No. Have we "solved" or "eliminated" homelessness? No. But we have done an amazing job that stays true to the values of our town!

Diana Rich, Sebastopol City Council
321 S. Main St. #60 
Sebastopol CA 95472
FPPC #1430199
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