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Three sites eyed for Guerneville homeless shelter

A task force searching for a site to put a permanent homeless shelter in Guerneville has narrowed the choices to three and hopes to make a final decision in October.

The potential sites include the former InaBee restaurant on Highway 116 near Old Cazadero Road, a county corporation yard on Armstrong Woods Road and a pumping station on Highway 116 owned by Sweetwater Springs Water District.

"We have gone from looking at 130 sites to around three," said Amber Twitchell, president of Community Housing Opportunities West. "That makes me feel like we are getting close."

Money to buy land and build a shelter will come from the county redevelopment agency, but fund-raising will be needed to operate it, she said.

The site will be chosen by the Russian River Area Shelter and Downtown task force, a 12-member group of residents and officials from Sonoma County and service organizations that has been meeting weekly for six months.

"The first goal is to have a plan in place by October," Twitchell said. "We are trying to know what we will be doing by then. By winter 2012 we would have the location and the facility ready."

The group is being funded by a $20,000 community development block grant.

The shelter would replace a temporary homeless shelter that has moved around the past several years. Sites have included the Veterans Memorial Building and a church hall during the winter months.

Twitchell said that planning is under way to find a site for this winter.


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