Kaiser Permanente’s Grant for Park Village Offers a Creative Solution to Housing Crisis
With housing prices and homelessness both on the rise, the Park Village Housing Project is needed now more than ever.
Park Village is a unique public-private partnership between the City of Sebastopol, the social service nonprofit West County Community Services (WCCS), and the Group of Advocates, a voluntary organization focused on homelessness.
“The Park Village project demonstrates the value of a successful public-private partnership: high impact, community-focused, cost-effective,” says Tim Miller, WCCS executive director. “When we listen to each other and involve all sectors of the community in seeking out a rational approach to homelessness, we can achieve so much for the benefit of all.”
For the 2018-19 year, the city supplied $95,000 in funding to Park Village Housing, down from $98,000 the year before. WCCS raised another $440,000 from additional donors, including a $25,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente, to add a community room, additional housing units and to rehab four vacant apartments on the property. The City of Sebastopol funding largely supports a full-time case manager on site, as well as a resident manager who lives on the property.
Sitting on several acres east of Sebastopol, the city-owned mobile home park was taken under management by WCCS in 2017. So far, 19 previously homeless citizens have been housed, with lighter touch services supporting 66 additional low- and very lowincome park residents. Two previously homeless families have already stabilized at Park Village and moved on to more independent living. Park Village residents benefit from a broad range of human services, including employment, health and education assistance that will help integrate the park and its residents into the broader community.
“We need creative approaches to solve our housing crisis,” Miller said. “Homelessness increases healthcare costs, law enforcement costs and negatively impacts our environment, not to mention the trauma it brings to the homeless themselves. Park Village is an investment in our neighbors, by our neighbors. And it is paying off for all involved.”
This year will see two additional trailer pads completed for the placement of two new homes for four to eight more people, as well as the rehabilitation of the vacant apartments for two additional families. By January 2020, the project will have housed at least 25 previously homeless citizens, or more than a third of Sebastopol’s reported homeless population.