Gen H Monthly News and Updates | Oct 2020
A message from Generation Housing Executive Director, Jen Klose
Last year, Mayor Tom Schwedhelm and I, wearing my then-Santa Rosa City Schools board president hat, went to local high schools to take questions from high school juniors and seniors. The majority of their questions to both the mayor and me were about homelessness and housing. One young woman told the mayor pointedly that she was afraid that after graduation she would be forced to leave the County or risk becoming homeless because of the lack of affordable housing. I asked the group of high school seniors how many shared her concern: by a show of hands, it was roughly 80 percent. 

In a fall 2019 survey by the YouthTruth organization, 96% of the 16,000 Sonoma County respondents, including elementary, middle, and high school students, said that “affordable housing” was our community’s number one concern. Just last month, YouthTruth followed-up with a COVID survey and of Sonoma County’s 4,500 high school-aged respondents, 71% said that they were experiencing “anxiety about the future” and that it was the number one obstacle to distance learning focus and success.....

Read the rest of the message here.

Victor works two different jobs, has an internship, and is a full-time political science student at SRJC. Growing up, Victor never had his own room; his family has always lived in small, crowded apartments. Victor’s family loves and wants to stay in Santa Rosa. But with rising rent costs, it is becoming more and more difficult for them to thrive in their community.
Even working two jobs, Victor can only afford to rent a shared room in an apartment with four other people. With frustration in his voice, Victor stated how “this is ridiculous, something has to be done, [and] we need to deal with this now and find a solution.” Although he is only 18, Victor is already thinking about the housing market. He is worried that even with an education, he won’t be able to pursue his dreams here...

Read more about Victor and other housing stories here.

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How COVID-19 Helps Us Reimagine the Future of Housing, and the Role Density Can Play In It

Part of Generation Housing’s Youth Voices Series
Written by Rachel Lonto
COVID-19 has raised questions about density and overcrowding leaving many of us wondering what cities can do to help improve the public's health and curb the spread of viruses in the context of housing. To better understand these questions, we must first understand the differences between density and overcrowding, which are often conflated. Density is the number of people in a given area or space, whereas overcrowding is the presence of more people in a space than is appropriate, safe, or allowable.

Read the full article here.
Melissa Gomez
Communications Coordinator

Melissa Gomez Esquivias was born in Santa Rosa and raised in Tepatitlan, Mexico, returning to Petaluma at age 7. At a young age, Melissa became passionate about social justice, originating from the lessons and values instilled by her immigrant parents: hard work, compassion, and humility. 
Melissa received three Associate Degrees in Sociology, Psychology, and Social Sciences from Santa Rosa Junior College in 2018, then transferred to California State University, Long Beach, where she completed a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 2020 as a first generation college graduate.

Read Melissa's full bio here
Luke Lindenbusch
Project and Policy Coordinator

Luke was born and raised in Sonoma County, a product of Sebastopol public schools and a third-generation student of Santa Rosa Junior College. Luke serves on the Sebastopol Planning Commission, and advised the City of Santa Rosa’s recent Downtown Station Area Specific Plan.

Luke’s commitment to housing solidified when he campaigned for Proposition A, San Francisco’s historic $600 million affordable housing bond measure approved by voters in 2019. Inspired by strong momentum in San Francisco and the opportunity to create meaningful housing diversity in Sonoma County, Luke was thrilled to join Generation Housing.

Read Luke's full bio here
Announcing the 2020 Inaugural Generation Housing Research Fellows
Fall 2020 | Sonoma County, CA
Generation Housing created the Research Fellows program in 2020 to recognize and support outstanding graduate students whose goal it is to influence the future of housing by pursuing
exceptional research in public policy and related fields. In our inaugural year, Generation Housing is excited to be joined by two outstanding fellows, Sharon Jan and Germysha Little,
who bring a breadth of experience and insight to the local discussion about how to improve housing affordability for residents of Sonoma County.
It is our ongoing goal to continue to support budding public policy professionals as they make
their mark on the world. A warm welcome to this year’s cohort of extraordinary research fellows!

Read more about Sharon and Germysha here.
Upcoming Events

Youth and Housing Town Hall | Date and Time TBD

Stay tuned to our social media and email blasts for updates on this event.

In Conversation with Richard Rothstein | Nov. 12 6:00 PM

Generation Housing and Los Cien are proud to present, as part of the Housing Equity Series: “The Color of the Law”, A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by author & speaker Richard Rothstein. 

In THE COLOR OF LAW, Richard Rothstein argues with exacting precision and fascinating insight how segregation in America—the incessant kind that continues to dog our major cities and has contributed to so much recent social strife—is the byproduct of explicit government policies at the local, state, and federal level. 

Visit for more information and to register!
Advocacy Update
We've got exciting news to share about the County's big investment in affordable housing and a wrap up of our first Future of Housing Candidate Forum Series.

County Allocates Funds for Affordable Housing

On Tuesday October 6, the Sonoma County supervisors voted to allocate $10 million in PG&E settlement funds to housing solutions is a huge win for our community that will have generational impact. 

The County’s $10 million is conditional upon the City of Santa Rosa matching the amount from its PG&E settlement. The combined $20 million would seed the Renewal Enterprise District housing fund, a revolving loan fund that works to bridge financing gaps for housing construction.

Read the rest of our advocacy update here
Demystifying Housing Policy:
Five Housing Terms Everyone Should Know

Housing affects all of us, yet the terminology used to discuss housing can be fraught with insider lingo and it can be difficult to fully grasp. So we’ve compiled a brief list of some of the most common terms used in the housing policy world to help everyone better understand and engage in the housing conversation.

The percentage of unoccupied units in a particular rental building or complex. A desirable low vacancy rate is generally considered to be 5%. Generally, in boom times, vacancy rates fall; while in recessions, vacancy rates rise. Low vacancy rates often are a signal for market providers to raise rents.

A loosely defined term covering a number of housing facilities that serve the formerly homeless, people trying to get off welfare, or people released from institutions. Usually the term of stay is restricted to one to two years. The most common form is apartments or shared living facilities for the formerly homeless or single female parents with children. When treatment and supervision is involved, a facility is usually called a halfway house or group home.

Single room occupancy units. The traditional SRO unit is a single room, usually less than 100 square feet, designed to accommodate one person. Amenities such as a bathroom, kitchen or common areas are located outside the unit and are shared with other residents.

A colloquial term for a program, usually run by a nonprofit group or local government, that purchases abandoned or substandard properties, repairs them and sells them to lower income homebuyers.

This is a HUD (federal) program that provides grants to cities and states to undertake community development efforts. Affordable housing is a common use, and many cities subcontract with nonprofits to run the programs.

Visit our website to learn more housing terms at our Publications and Resources page and check out our Housing Glossary.
Sonoma County Housing News Digest

Generation Housing is committed to keeping you in the know on Sonoma County housing news!
Sonoma County Selects Village Partners As Top Bidder For Chanate Road Property | Patch
“The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors today voted to select Village Partners, LLC as the high bidder to purchase the 71-acre Chanate Campus property, the former home of Sutter Hospital, for nearly $7.8 million.”

Sonoma County tenants, landlords face challenges as home evictions resume in pandemic | Press Democrat

“David Kiddoo, 58, sees the world in a different light with the threat of eviction looming. The longtime Santa Rosa resident, a handyman with a disability who relies on Social Security, received a 30-day notice from his landlord in late August, days before eviction courts statewide resumed on Sept. 2. Significant job losses early in the pandemic made it difficult for thousands of Sonoma County residents to pay rent, and they are still struggling in the absence of additional government aid. State and federal mandates had protected tenants affected by the coronavirus, physically or financially.”

120-unit downtown Santa Rosa apartment building gets approval to move forward | Press Democrat

“A seven-story, 120-unit apartment project immediately south of Santa Rosa’s Old Courthouse Square that was panned by city appointees this spring over its design has cleared hurdles that will allow developers to move forward with the roughly $50 million project.”

Sonoma County secures nearly $11 million in state funding to buy Santa Rosa hotel to serve homeless population | Press Democrat

“Sonoma County has secured nearly $11 million in state funding to buy a downtown Santa Rosa hotel to shelter homeless individuals, adding momentum to local efforts to transform several lodging properties into permanent housing.”

Sonoma County agrees to spend $35 million of PG&E settlement on fire prevention, affordable housing | Press Democrat

“Capping a lengthy and conflicted discussion, a majority of Sonoma County’s supervisors voted Tuesday evening to spend a total of $35 million from PG&E’s settlement linked to the 2017 wildfires on a combination of wildfire protection and affordable housing. About $85 million remains from the $149 million payout after the board last month tapped nearly $27 million of the settlement funds to help fill a budget deficit.”
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