The Los Guilicos homeless shelter will build 80 more beds — none for Sonoma Valley

The Los Guilicos homeless shelter will build 80 more beds — none for Sonoma Valley

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved a contract Oct. 24 to build 80 additional shelter beds at Los Guilicos Village in Oakmont by repurposing two previously vacant wings for juvenile detention.

Although located in Sonoma Valley, it is not certain whether any beds will be prioritized for local unhoused residents, according to Sonoma homeless service providers.

There is no active homeless shelter or emergency winter shelter for more than 120 unhoused residents in Sonoma Valley.

“I’m kind of surprised,” said Cathy King, executive director of Sonoma Overnight Support. “The priority was people in tents in Santa Rosa. They have parked the trailers at the fairgrounds (Sonoma County), so people from the fairgrounds, Joe Rodota Trail and Santa Rosa will go there first.

Supervisor Susan Gorin expressed concern for unhoused Sonoma Valley residents during the coming winter, who will need to seek resources and shelter at Sonoma County Service Centers in Petaluma or Santa Rosa.

“We don’t have a building for an emergency shelter. We don’t have funding to rent a building or pay for staffing for an emergency winter shelter,” Goren said. “I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s the truth. “The need will be with us sooner rather than later.”

The Los Guilicos redevelopment project will be designed by Sonoma architect Michael Ross’s firm, Ross Drulis Cusenbery Architecture, after the Board of Supervisors approved a $173,306 contract and up to $250,000 in architectural fees on Tuesday.

“The county’s goal is to expedite the project as quickly as possible, and that’s our goal as well. We’ll actually be getting people out to the site tomorrow, measuring and evaluating the facilities and planning the path forward,” Ross told the Index Tribune on Wednesday.

Los Guilicos Village, managed by St. Vincent de Paul non-profit, of 60 individual “micro-apartments” aimed to lift people out of homelessness. Each unit is fully equipped with heat, hot showers, 24/7 on-site staff, support services and solar chargers, according to the Community Foundation Sonoma County. Of those 60 units, 15 were prioritized for unhoused residents in Sonoma Valley, according to Homelessness Services.

The focus of Ross and his architectural firm will be to expand on this model, creating a “safe, warm and dry” environment out of the skeletons of vacant 8,500-square-foot former juvenile detention wings.

“Taking a creative approach to the adaptive reuse of retired buildings is part of what we’ve been doing and I find it very creative and interesting,” Ross said. “I love being able to make a positive impact on our communities through the built environment.”

Ross and the architecture firm have designed several buildings in Sonoma Valley, including the Boys & Girls Club building, the upcoming Sonoma Hotel project, MacArthur Place, and the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office headquarters. The previous work most similar to the Los Guilicos development project is the repurposing of a retired Marin County Public Health building for a transitional residential mental health care facility, Ross said.

“The design principle is basically to tone down the space and provide private space for the bedrooms and common areas,” Ross said. “And that combination is good and allows people to have their own space. At the same time, it allows them to meet, collaborate, eat together, learn how to make decisions in groups, all the things that go with what it means to be part of a family, even if it’s a family for a limited time.” “

But the limited services provided to unhoused people in Sonoma Valley remain an ongoing problem for the community. During freezing temperatures overnight last winter, the city of Sonoma opened an emergency warming center at Veterans Memorial Hall. . Homeless Action Sonoma is continuing its efforts to bring sanitation and electricity to its hamlet at 18820 Sonoma Highway for the coming winter.

“We don’t have funding for emergency shelters. My response is to make sure everyone comes in looking for services, and puts their names on a coordinated intake list,” Goren said. “I don’t have a good solution and response for the community, other than there’s no room in the hostel.”

Contact Chase Hunter at and follow up @Chase_HunterB On Twitter.

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