Tags >> homeless
Jan 29

Haiti Response

Posted by Bruce Robinson in volunteer , students , speaker , Sonoma County , resources , rescue , public safety , poverty , nonprofit orgs , medicine , international , homeless , healthcare , finances , economy , aging , activism

Bruce Robinson

The Hatian earthquake has left at least half a million survivors displaced and homeless, and as relief efforts continue now, some aid workers worry that the coming hurricane season may compound the disaster.

The enormity of the immediate crisis in Haiti has captured and held the world’s attention for the past two and a half weeks, but Chloe Gans-Ruggebregt, a north coast native who is on the Red Cross health staff in Haiti, is worried that global concern will soon move on to other areas, while  the Hatian people will need years of assistance to recover from the disaster.

Chloe has been living and working in Haiti for the past four year, and her parents visited her there just last summer. They’ve  been talking with her almost daily since the quake, and her father, John Ruggebregt of Santa Rosa, says that for him, those conversations have given the humanitarian crisis an individualized human face.

The local Red Cross office is maintaining a list of events in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties to raise money to support  relief efforts. You can also view a slideshow of Red Cross photographs from Haiti. To make a donation, click here.


When the quake struck, Chloe was more than 100 miles away in rural Haiti. She promptly returned to Port au Prince (where she, too, lived) and emailed her first impressions not long after arriving there:

I was on the fourth floor of the house in Trou du Nord when the earthquake started. It probably lasted about 20 seconds. The whole house was shaking and people started yelling and running outside. There was however no major damage in the NE. The phone promptly went out as did our Internet which relies on the same system.

I drove to PAP [Port au Prince] today thinking that I wouldn't be able to get back just because it had been raining for two weeks in the north and the planes weren't flying. There was no way I nor my driver could have predicted what we would see when we drove into PAP.

We started to see large cracks in the highway about an hour outside PAP and as we got closer and closer the chaos mounted. PAP probably has tens of thousands dead and no aid [organization] can even respond. Matt [Marek, head of the American National Red Cross Haiti delegation] was out with half our team all night and day just giving basic first aid, but the hospitals are closed or full, the government has many dead, the head of the UN is dead and many of the UN are unaccounted for as are six of our staff.

We are sure they are fine but they have no way to communicate and many roads are blocked. I  haven't been home but will go tomorrow to see if my house is still there. As far as I know we will only be able to do first aid but teams are on the way. I am in shock along with the entire city. The city has been reduced to a concrete pile of rubble. Everyone is sleeping outside because they are scared of more.

Dec 22

Crisis at Home

Posted by Voice of Youth in youth , Sonoma County , poverty , nonprofit orgs , news , KRCB , journalism , jobs , housing , homeless , food , finances , families , economy , community engagement

Voice of Youth

Ten teenagers from Santa Rosa, California-based Community Action Partners explore the impact of the national economic crisis on our local communities.  These young "citizen journalists" explore a wide range of topics such as housing, food, and unemployment, and meet many individuals facing these unprecedented challenges.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYNgHXvyGhU 426x240]

Watch Monday Night at 7:30 p.m. on KRCB-TV

May 12

Homeless Census Report

Posted by Bruce Robinson in veterans , Sonoma , resources , policy , planning , nonprofit orgs , housing , homeless , government , families , employment , economy , drugs

Bruce Robinson
Using a new technique, this year's census of the homeless in Sonoma County found far more of them than prior surveys. But improved methodology is being cited as the reason for the higher count, rather than a surge in the homeless population.


In the 2007 Homeless Census, explains Jenny Helbraun Abramson, the process depended on inviting homeless people into community centers to be counted. This time, the outreach was more direct and more comprehensive.

Read the full report here: 

 Or go here for a history of the homeless counts in Sonoma County.

Feb 22


Posted by Bruce Robinson in volunteer , resources , poverty , nonprofit orgs , housing , homeless , history , healthcare , community , activism

Bruce Robinson

One personal encounter was the turning point that brought a Petaluma man into his present role, leading one of the county's largest provider of services to the homeless.

For a big picture look at homelessness across the United States today, listen to the Homelessness Marathon overnight tonight on KRCB, beginning at 10 pm.

 John Records, Executive Director, Committee on the Shelterless.

In the second part of this report on the ways in which COTS is responding to the upturn in demand for their services, Records defines what are being called th "new homeless," and outlines some of the measures being developed to serve them.

The history of COTS is a tapestry of many individual stories, some of which have been compiled in a book recently published by the agency. Invitation to Service:  Stories from COTS relates the stories of clients, families volunteers and friends and their experiences through COTS. Tours of their facilities in Petaluma and Rohnert Park are offered monthly. You'll find dates and other information here.



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