News & Features Archives

SOS and five other valley nonprofits finish program to boost strengths and effectiveness 

March 2019 – Funded by a new grant from the the Sonoma Valley Fund, the cohort met for two and half years to discuss common issues their organizations were grappling with and hear advice from a consultant with expertise in nonprofit operations. Organizations included SOS

ArtEscape, Boys & Girls Clubs Sonoma, La Luz Center, Support, Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance and Teen Services Sonoma. Read More in the Sonoma Index-Tribune.

Photo courtesy of the Sonoma Index-Tribune

Matt Knuteson and Bennett Martin, owner of Strata alp, erect a new shed purchased for SOS by the Glen Ellen/Kenwood Rotary. The shed will store the 47 sleeping bags donated by FISH, and additional food needed through the harsh winter

months of December through March 2019. A big thanks from SOS to everyone involved.

New shed courtesy of Rotary

will store winter shelter needs

IMPACT 100 awards SOS $20,000 for Day Services

SOS has received a $20,000 grant from IMPACT 100 to expand its free Day Services program to meet increased demand, and prevent it from having to cut back its hours.


The grant was one of 10 awarded to Sonoma nonprofits during the organization's Ninth Annual Awards Celebration on June 9. Since the founding of Impact100 Sonoma in 2009 our organization has awarded $2,062,000 dollars to nonprofits serving Sonoma Valley, making it one of the community’s largest funders. 

SOS Board Chair Cindy Vrooman, back row

second from left, with the IMPACT 100 check.

Kathy King: 'Santa Rosa has a problem ... but does that make our homeless any less important?’

MAY 21, 2018 – Sonoma Overnight Support King will get half of what's needed to open its winter shelter this December through March.

Sonoma County's Community Development Commission had initially denied the funds after SOS officials balked at the county's new "Housing First" guidelines.They require shelters to house homeless persons without them first passing a drug screening.

The county announced this week that $30,000 in funding has been identified in its budget for SOS's winter shelter. But it’s not the end of the crisis for SOS.


It needs twice that much to run the winter shelter. Director Kathy King is gathering support to convince the supervisors to match the CDC grant with another $30,000 from county discretionary funds. Read more in the Index-Tribune.

SOS rejects new county rules – and funds

A note of hope in Sonoma Square.

Reprinted from the Sonoma-Index Tribune issue of Dec. 25, 2017



Sonoma can look out for its own. That’s the message that Sonoma Overnight Support is sending to Santa Rosa, and the Sonoma County Community Development Commission (CDC), by refusing to apply for their annual grant of $41,000 to help support the Haven, the overnight homeless shelter operated by SOS.

“The new requirements for Housing First are not compatible with the mission of SOS,” said board chair Cindy Vrooman in a Dec. 15 statement from the organization. The board voted unanimously in November not to apply

for the grant, after meeting directly with two CDC representatives in September

to clarify the conditions of the grant for


The amount that SOS would lose represents 13 percent of the total SOS budget, according to executive director Kathy King. But it’s worth it, she said, to retain local control over the three-bedroom overnight shelter on First Street West.

Housing First is a national home assistance approach that prioritizes getting homeless people in permanent housing, before dealing with other concerns such as substance abuse, finding employment, or other health and welfare programs. The Housing First model is regarded by its proponents as

a more effective solution to homelessness, essentially lowering the barriers to providing housing by offering shelter first, then services.

Starting in January of 2019, all state-funded housing programs will need to adopt and comply with Housing First standards.

Compliance will become a requirement for all recipients of Sonoma County funding as of July 2018, the coming fiscal year budget.



Thanks, gratitude an shout-outs from SOS' staff and clients 

Take me to the ballgame: SOS cheers the STOMPERS

Haven Day Services coordinator Justine Filipello, far left, and SOS clients and residents enjoy the STOMPERS baseball game. To the right of mascot "Rawhide" is SOS Board President Cindy Vrooman (in hat) and her husband, Dan. Tickets, hot dogs, drinks and chips were provided by SOS.

By Kathy King

SOS Executive Director


Sonoma Overnight Support is grateful to all the firefighters,

police, utility workers and people in the community who worked together to save Sonoma from the recent, devastating fires. 


When the fire neared Sonoma on Oct. 11, we successfully evacuated Haven residents to Sonoma Valley High School. They were able to return Oct. 16. The building also houses our  Day Services programs.

Residents as well as day clients who went to the evacuation center were treated with respect and kindness. For that we are grateful. Thanks also to City of Sonoma staff who kept in touch with me from the time the fires began and were most informative

when the fire began approaching Sonoma.


A Shout Out also to Stephen Raffaini, Plumbing & Heating, who was evacuated from his home in Glen Ellen. He turned on the Haven's pilot light – for free – so residents could have hot water and heat on the day they returned. 


Because of our proximity to the police station, whose parking lot was used as a staging area for firefighters, we had to suspend our regular Day Services. We will reopen on Monday, Oct. 23, resuming our schedule of Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. – longer if needed as clients adjust to the post-fire reality – and 1 p.m.

to 4 p.m. on Fridays.

Clients will once again be able to wash their clothes, take showers, use the computer and phone chargers, and

get bus passes as well as food. The SOS Brown Baggers will continue to serve a free hot meal every Friday evening at La Luz, and deliver free burritos in the Springs area twice a week. The Community Café emergency meal program at the Sonoma Springs Community Hall (The Grange) continues through Oct. 31. SOS will resume its Wednesday noon meal there on Nov. 1 and if needed open an additional day.

SOS will continue to do what we've always done – serve the hungry and homeless in Sonoma and Sonoma Valley. However, we anticipate that the number of people seeking our help will grow as a result of the fires.


If you are safe and have your loved ones and your home in tact, please consider making a donation – cash or needed items listed below – to Sonoma Overnight Support to help ensure that we can reach out to all who need it in our community. 

A note of hope in Sonoma Square.

Barney Watkins, front, of the Rotary Club of Glen Ellen/Kenwood tries out the new backyard patio furniture the club donated to SOS. The club also provided sleeping bags for our Winter Shelter. With Watkins are day clients waiting the get into the shelter Last year, 478 people used SOS' day services, including meals, showers, laundry facilities and counseling.

New patio furniture from Glen Ellen/Kenwood Rotary

Club spiffs up outdoor space at SOS homeless shelter

Sonoma Alliance Church honors SOS at 4th festivities

SOS President Cindy Vrooman sits with her grandson Giovanni Sandoval on the

Sonoma Alliance Church Fourth of July float, below. The church is a big supporter of SOS. Haven Day Services Coordinator Justine Filipello walks alongside the float, right, as Pastor Rob Goerzen leads the church band, "The Gathering."

Is Sonoma Heaven or Hell? depends on your income:

Local editorials urge new, bigger philanthropic vision

Poverty has jumped 70 percent in Sonoma Valley since 2011. At the same time, new wealth s stimulating multiple proposals for new hotels, mansion-sized homes, and exclusive clubs and event centers. A “growing disconnect” is taking place between the scale and complexity of the social, environmental and economic challenges facing the A new report on philanthropy in the Valley shows a “growing disconnect” between the scale and complexity of the social, environmental and economic challenges  – and the capacities of the nonprofit organizations dedicated to meeting those challenges. Read more in the Valley Sun; Read more in the Index-Tribune. 

HAVEN clients ready to roll thanks to Teen Services repairs

Adrian Palenchar, a member of Sonoma Teen Services, recently repaired eight bicycles for SOS clients, including Richard, right. The nonprofit organization helps prepare teens for future work opportunities. And now, through its Operation Bicycle (OB), TSS has started donating bikes to SOS clients, and about five months ago, Palenchar, OB coordinator, began monthly visits to SOS to offer bike repair services. And TSS girls are now helping prepare meals for SOS clients. Working with Sonoma Valley schools, local businesses, and other youth-serving organizations, the program offers support and confidence-building at its teen center, cafe and bike shop as well as work-based learning, job placement and coaching. Read more about the program.

Art group makes hats & headbands for the homeless

Art Escape brought its mobile art studio, Art Van Gogh, to the Haven on Monday, March 6. They made hats, headbands, arm warmers and neck warmers from upcycled wool sweaters for residents of the shelter. Read more in the Sonoma Index-Tribune. 

Sonoma girl collects money for homeless from fellow students 

Kate Bolling dropped in to the HAVEN shelter recently to drop off the money she collected from fellow Flowery School students. Kate went classroom to classroom and asked students to make a donation

 to help the homeless in Sonoma. She collected $109.14. Kate also volunteered to help serve dinner for the BROWN BAGGERS at La Luz. We are so grateful for her kindness and generosity.

County Code Blue: 'Unsuitable for living without shelter'


Torrential rain and cold kept The Haven filled this winter, but SOS still managed to find shelter for everyone in need.

 – READ MORE in The Index-Tribune


Your donations can help:

$1,000 covers shelter in The Haven for 6 to 8 people for four nights; $500 covers two nights; and $250. one night. Click on one of the links below to pay with a check in the mail or online with PayPal or a credit card.

Brown Baggers' Elizabeth Kemp: From handing out sandwiches to soldiers in WWII

to serving up burritos to Sonoma Valley's homeless in 2016

"It started a long time ago as part of the Vineyard Workers Services program. We’d provide food to the residents in a migrant camp at St. Leo’s, here for the harvest" ...  


READ MORE in the Sonoma Valley Sun (Dec. 4, 2015)

Valley of the Moon magazine explores the landscape of homelessness in Sonoma

Valley and how Sonoma Overnight Support is working to meet their many needs

"Not so pleasant a dream this holiday season ... is the shortage of affordable housing in this privileged Valley and the startling number of homeless people living invisibly among us. ...  Now, more than ever, we need to develop strategies for addressing the problem more effectively" – David Bolling, Editor & Publisher.


 READ ARTICLE in Valley of the Moon (Nov. 20, 2015)

Sonoma Overnight Support: 707-939-6777

151 1st St. W., Sonoma, CA 95476

The Brown Baggers volunteers prepare & distribute burritos

 or sandwich lunches at The Haven and other Sonoma locations. 


We offer resident- and non-resident clients counseling, referrals to other agencies, computer use, laundry services, showers and hot meals. 

The Haven is a 10-bed home

that serves low-income adult

men, women and families who

lack stable housing.