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Welcome to the Sonoma County Gazette ARCHIVE of PAST EDITIONS. Our NEW WEBSITE is up and running, so GazExtra is serving as your path to archived articles. Thanks for being part of our Sonoma County community...stay in touch...e-mail me - VESTA

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

OUR County - October 2011

Shelter for the Homeless
If you’ve been following the homeless issue in Guerneville, you probably know that 16 people have been meeting since February to come up with a permanent solution to the problem of housing shelterless people each Winter.

For decades, there have been “emergency” shelters put together most years by dedicated volunteers and non-profit groups to address the needs of local unsheltered residents without a place to get out of the elements.  The people appointed to the River Area Shelter and Downtown Task Group (RASAD), have been meeting in 4-hour blocks every two weeks to work through the issues, agree on priorities, and find an agreed upon long term model for the future.
 At a well attended meeting in August, community members heard a presentation about potential service delivery methods and other topics and research related to serving the unsheltered.  The task group also presented 3 potential sites for a future permanent service center which would also act as the emergency shelter.  The input given at this meeting was evaluated and incorporated into the task group’s work.

On November 3rd from 6:30-9pm, the RASAD Task Group will host a second community meeting at the Guerneville Veterans Hall and share its recommendations for the delivery of homeless services to the lower Russian River area.  Prior to this meeting, the task group will release its recommendations so that the public will have an opportunity for review prior to the public meeting.

You will be able to find the task group recommendations after October 31st at the Guerneville Chamber of Commerce, Guerneville Public Library and online at  The task group looks forward to an open and productive discussion and your feedback.  If you are a lower Russian River resident, I hope that you will be able to join us at the public meeting and contribute to the discussion.

Ours to Protect
During August, Don McEnhill, the Russian Riverkeeper, Riverkeeper volunteers, and Sonoma County Regional Parks staff led by Steve Rickabough installed signage along Russian River beaches from Cloverdale River Park to the lower Russian River.  These “Ours to Protect” signs notify recreational river users of restrooms, trash disposal sites, and other services available along the River.  The signs feature a heron and a stream and convey the message that we are all responsible for protecting the valuable natural resourcer.
There will also be a new map and brochure which can be used by recreational visitors as they travel down the river.  Thanks go to Riverkeeper Park steward Victoria Wikle, who raised this concern at a public meeting last year, The City of Santa Rosa,  Sonoma County Water Agency, Regional Parks,  and to all of the people who worked on this project to protect our River.

Keep Your Home
Have you heard about Keep Your Home California?  Keep Your Home California’s program is one slice of a $2 billion effort to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure.  While this program is long overdue to help people who have lost their homes during the last few years, it is designed to address one or more aspects of the current housing crisis by doing the following:

• Helping low and moderate income homeowners retain their homes if they either have suffered a financial hardship such as unemployment, have experienced a change in household circumstance such as death, illness or disability, or are subject to a recent or upcoming increase in their monthly mortgage payment and are at risk of default because of this economic hardship when coupled with a severe decline in their home’s value.

• Creating a simple, effective way to get available federal funds to assist low and moderate income homeowners who meet one or all of the objective criteria described above.

Qualified homeowners could be eligible for up to $50,000 in assistance from one Keep Your Home California program, which requires the mortgage investor to match dollar-for-dollar the amount provided by the program.  For instance, if the program agrees to reduce the principal by $50,000, then the mortgage investor must match that $50,000 reduction, resulting in a total $100,000 reduction

Unlike most Federal programs, income thresholds are set higher to reflect the high cost of living in California. Find out more at