Santa Rosa, California, is located 50 miles north of San Francisco in the heart of the Sonoma County wine country. The population is 128,000. The community is the center for medical, finance, shopping, and government for the County as well as a larger regional area.
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Funds: $1.6 million (including program income); Home Investment Partnerships Program (HOME): $588,000 (including program income).
After a joint study session with the City Council and Housing Authority, they approved a plan for citizen input. Staff held a series of focus groups around the issues of homelessness, youth services, housing needs, economic development, infrastructure, and other community needs. The City Council held a public hearing to review the comments and concerns of the focus groups and established the priorities for the CDBG process. The comments and concerns of the focus groups were considered by the Council subcommittee when developing recommendations for the CDBG program and the Homeless Assistance Program (funded from Redevelopment funds).
The City of Santa Rosa has been the seat of Sonoma County government since 1854. As such it is the hub of all medical, government, banking, and services for the County. Santa Rosa has an economic base consisting of services, retail, and manufacturing, with 36% of the workers in Sonoma County and 54% of the jobs. The retail sector employs approximately 20% of the labor force, with an increase predicted by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) to almost 68% by 2005.
Since 1980, Santa Rosa has experienced a 50% increase in its population. In 1980, the population was 83,000 and in 1994 was 125,000. During that time, housing production grew by 45%. Census information from 1990 shows an increase in ethnic and minority groups from 5% in 1980 to 15% in 1990. In 1994, the median annual income for Sonoma County was $48,400 for a family of four.
For the most part, Santa Rosa has been fortunate to have an aggressive capital improvement program over the years that has kept the infrastructure in relatively good condition. A redevelopment project in the mid 70's revitalized the downtown area which is still a thriving retail and office core for the community. About 33% of Santa Rosa residents leave the community to work, many of whom commute to San Francisco. The crowded conditions of U.S. Highway 101 that runs through the heart of Santa Rosa is considered by many the biggest single problem facing the community. There is a growing concern that, unless something is done, the economic future will be severely impaired.
Over the past 15 years, home prices have out paced incomes which has made it more and more difficult for low and moderate income people to buy housing. In January 1995, the average home price in Santa Rosa was $191,680. The average rents, excluding utilities, were one bedroom-$544, two bedroom-$696, three bedroom-$972, four bedroom-$1,268. In Fall 1994, the vacancy rate was 3.7%. While vacancy rates have fluctuated during the past few years, the vacancy rates for assisted rental units are virtually non-existent.
The census data reveals that the following households pay over 30% of their income for housing:
|Extremely Low (0-30%)||89%||63%|
|Very Low (31-50%)||83%||53%|
People with special needs are more often able to afford housing. Low income renters have extreme problems with finding affordable units, particularly those who need larger units. The data reveals that 1,005 of the extremely low income larger households have housing problems while 85% of the extremely low income seniors have housing problems.
It is very difficult to count the number of homeless persons. Surveys have been done by service providers. We also looked at the information contained in the census. The number of homeless is 673 of which 144 could not be sheltered in one of the city's homeless shelters. However, Santa Rosa has been very progressive in providing shelter for homeless people. Santa Rosa has ratio of 2.5 year-round shelter beds to every thousand citizens, whereas the average in the Bay Area is .65 beds/1000. Since 1987, the City has provided over $2 million either directly or through grants to homeless programs. However, it does not address the increasing need. Santa Rosa is fortunate to have a wealth of non-profits to help address the continuum of care issue. Shelter and homeless services range from the Homeless Service Center designed to be a place to get mail, take a shower, etc. to the Family Support Center that has a residential program that requires the residents to look for work, helps with getting assistance and helps find permanent affordable housing.
The following chart outlines the number of facilities and the number of beds available to help address this issue:
Family Support Center
|Community Support Network (CSN)|
|8 beds for mentally ill homeless|
|CSN - Grand Avenue House||5 beds for mentally ill homeless|
|CSN - Opportunity House - Transitional||13 beds for mentally ill homeless|
|CSN - South E Street House||6 beds for mentally ill homeless|
|Face to Face's Henry House||6 beds for AIDS patients|
|Homeless Service Center||10 beds for single men|
|Manna Home Residence||14 beds for women and children|
|National Guard Armory||120 beds during winter for adults|
|Redwood Gospel Mission||75 beds for men|
|Social Advocates for Youth (SAY)||6 beds for runaway teens|
|SAY - Ripley Street||6 beds|
|SCPEO - Chanate Shelter||10 beds for women or women with infants|
|SCPEO - Rinwood Shelter||4 families|
|Unique Place||18 beds for women with substance abuse problems|
|YWCA||22 to 30 beds (battered women and their children)|
|Innovative Housing||2 homes that are considered transitional house|
Section 8 Rental Assistance: The City has a total of 956 certificates, vouchers or moderate rehabilitation commitments for low income residents. In addition, 43 households have moved to Santa Rosa bringing their Section 8 vouchers with them. the city has over 6,000 households on the waiting list for Section 8 which is about a 3-5 year wait.
The City has over 7,000 units that have received some sort of local assistance or support through the variety of Housing Authority programs. Santa Rosa has an inclusionary housing policy (Housing Allocation Plan) that anticipates that a maximum of 150 affordable units per year which will offset any loss of bond/density increase units that would be available at market rents.
Santa Rosa is fortunate to have a vast number of non-profits who serve the special populations. They work closely with the Housing Authority in providing housing to their clients. However, since many of those in the special population are also very low income, affordable housing continues to be a problem for these residents.
Santa Rosa, like most communities in California, is under pressure to slow down growth. Santa Rosa adopted a growth management program that limits growth to 1,000 units per year. Although due to the recession in California, this has not been a recent issue. Once the economy picks up, it could force the price of housing to increase. The City also has an adopted scatter site policy which requires that affordable housing be scattered throughout the community. Since some areas of town have higher land costs, this could be perceived as a barrier to affordable housing. To balance all of this, Santa Rosa is fortunate to have a non-profit housing developer who aggressively seeks opportunity to develop new affordable housing and has been fairly successful.
Santa Rosa funds an organization called Sonoma County Rental Information and Mediation Services (SCRIMS) which assists in landlord/tenant mediation, provides outreach services and helps promote fair housing opportunities. NOTE: Since the plans adoption, HUD has published their regulations on Fair Housing and the City is working with a Task Force to develop a comprehensive fair housing plan.
Lead based paint compliance is addressed through the Housing Authority. All staff is knowledgeable about the appropriate measures to be taken when lead based paint is suspected. The Sonoma County Health Department has indicated that lead based paint is not a significant problem in this area.
Like every community, Santa Rosa has a wide variety of community development needs ranging from more jobs to more after-school recreation problems targeting at-risk youth. When this section was looked at, the needs appeared to be overwhelming. However, as mentioned before, the strength of the non-profit community to provide a variety of services once again was the community's best asset. In recent needs assessments, the biggest community need appeared to be housing and homelessness. Other areas identified were more jobs for residents; affordable medical care; programs dealing with substance abuse issues; direct financial aid to those living near or below the poverty level; youth gangs; quality education and child care services. For the past three years, the City Council has placed a high priority on using CDBG funds on youth related services. Recently the community foundation was bequeathed almost $14 million to help fund programs for homeless single women with children and Santa Rosa youth.
For the most part, Santa Rosa sees its role as a facilitator of services rather than a direct provider of services. The City works closely with county-wide task forces addressing homeless needs, human service related needs, youth employment needs, and child care needs. Partnerships between non-profits, the City, the schools and the business community continue to grow as the community needs outstrip the community's ability to provide services.
The overall goals are to develop and sustain a viable community by providing decent housing and a suitable environment and expand opportunities for low income people. To accomplish this it is necessary to promote and strengthen partnerships among the public and private sector.
The City will provide support to the non-profits who provide support services such as counseling, skill development, and housing to low income and homeless residents. Currently the City is using CDBG funds which support not only emergency and transitional housing but a host of support services such as mentoring, counseling and job development to our residents.
The following identifies the existing public and private resources available for meeting community needs.
Since the City of Santa Rosa does not own any housing, they look very closely at the non-profit and for profit developers for how they coordinate their services with others in the community. The City serves as an active partner with the groups to ensure the supply of affordable housing.
City staff is encouraged to be involved in the community, serve on Boards, and do volunteer work for non-profit agencies. This helps ensure coordination with the non-profit sector. Through numerous ad hoc groups and task forces the City facilitates the community problem solving process. The Chamber of Commerce will be a key partner in addressing the economic development concerns. The schools will provide a key role in assisting with youth related programs and services.
|Affordable Housing Development Assistance||$759,728|
|California Parenting Institute||$7,389|
|Children & Family Circle||$11,299|
|Routes for Youth - Teen Court||$14,696|
|Routes for Youth - Teens Teaching Thru Theater (T-4)||$4,000|
|SCPEO - South Park Youth Program||$26,495|
|Volunteer Center - Graffiti Program||$3,696|
|YWCA-A Special Place||$9,839|
|Community Resources for Independence||$10,271|
|Homeless Service Center||$63,213|
The majority of the programs listed above with the exception of the South Park Youth Program and the Comstock Partnership are city-wide.
The lead agencies will be the Housing Authority, the City Manager's Office, and the non-profits.
Affordable Housing Development Assistance: 458 households city-wide
Residential Rehabilitation: 55 households city-wide
MAP 1 Map of the City of Santa Rosa showing points of interest;
MAP 2 Map of the City of Santa Rosa showing points of interest and an outline of low-mod areas;
MAP 3 Map of the City of Santa Rosa showing low-mod outline and ethnic breakdown;
MAP 4 Map of the City of Santa Rosa showing low-mod outline and unemployment;
MAP 5 City of Santa Rosa street level map showing projects with low-mod outline and unemployment.
Name: Patricia Fruiht
Title: Community Development Coordinator
City of Santa Rosa
P.O. Box 1678
Santa Rosa, CA 95402
Phone Number: 707-543-3023
Fax Number: 707-543-3030