County leaders strike deal to partially pay for Sam Jones’ new roof, Gold Coin Motel

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Sonoma County homelessness leaders are recommending partial funding for a new roof for the largest homeless shelter in the county, as well as to transform a Santa Rosa motel into housing for homeless people.

The leadership council of Home Sonoma County — a regional entity tasked with allocating roughly $14.1 million for homeless projects and services this year — approved a plan Wednesday that would dedicate about $1.3 million to fix the leaky roof of Sam Jones Hall.

About $1.5 million also would go toward St. Vincent de Paul Sonoma County’s purchase of the Gold Coin Motel on Mendocino Avenue, where the nonprofit envisions about 50 long-term housing units for formerly homeless people.

The city of Santa Rosa, which owns Sam Jones Hall, had requested $3.6 million to cover the cost of repairing the roof and turning the former Bennett Valley Senior Center into a homeless center with up to 60 new beds. The leadership council’s decision effectively scuttles the homeless center plan for the time being, and forces the city to find additional money for the roof repair.

St. Vincent de Paul, led by Santa Rosa City Councilman Jack Tibbetts, had requested $2.5 million of the $6.5 million needed to buy the hotel. The nonprofit and Tibbetts, its executive director, will have to go back to the negotiating table with fewer resources available while fending off a rival bid from a for-profit developer.

Home Sonoma County is in its first year. Its leadership council comprises nine local officials, politicians, housing and homelessness advocates and formerly homeless people. Their recommendations are subject to final approval by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.

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