Sonoma County has contracted with various partners to provide a non-congregate site (NCS) for unsheltered individuals at high-risk of serious complications if they contracted COVID-19.
The County’s non-congregate sites, often referred to as NCS, offer temporary shelter to individuals who have not been diagnosed with coronavirus, but are considered at high-risk of serious complications should they contract the virus. Individuals who are unsheltered who are over the age of 65 or have underlying medical conditions meet the criteria for placement at NCS locations.
These individuals are either transfers from the former NCS site or they are referred through organizations that work directly with the homeless and other high-risk populations and outreach teams from the County and cities.
Many who stay at an NCS are experiencing homelessness, making it difficult to follow physical distancing and hygiene safety procedures that help stop the spread of the virus. The NCS provides a safer alternative to open-area shelters or encampments.
In general, people who live unsheltered and are unstably housed have more health conditions than those with homes. NCS shelters individuals experiencing homelessness who are most vulnerable to COVID-19, including those over the age of 65 and/or have underlying medical conditions. Individuals in these risk categories can experience more serious complications from COVID-19 than other members of the community.
The County has worked to provide NCS locations throughout the county The County is evaluating additional options to continue expanding locations and services. Disaster Emergency Management Association (DEMA) and St. Joseph’s Mobile Health Clinic will be providing medical services for those at the NCS.
Current Locations and Timeline
- Holiday Inn in Windsor accommodates 90 individuals. This is an 8-month contract which began in May, 2020
- The Astro Hotel accommodates 43 people. The County has a month-to-month contract with the hotel.
- The Fairgrounds can host 62 individuals in 31 trailers. The length of time this NSC will operate is up to the discretion of the board of supervisors.
- Opened Dec. 14, 2020, the recently renamed Mickey Zane Place (formerly the Hotel Azura) has 44 rooms. It houses formerly homeless individuals including those most at risk of infection of COVID-19.
- The Sebastopol Inn has 31 rooms and opened on Dec.28, 2020. It also houses formerly homeless individuals including those most at risk of infection of COVID-19.
Individuals staying at NCS sites are offered many services, including:
- Regular testing for COVID-19
- Housing navigation, which helps move people into permanent housing
- Medical and behavioral health services
- Prepared meals and laundry services
- Transportation by van and public transportation for those who receive a pass to leave for essential activities, such as a job or medical appointments