The first phase of Petaluma’s pilot emergency shelter housing program called the People’s Village is complete, and new residents are being welcomed to nine brand-new units on the site.

People’s Village, a partnership between Sonoma County, the city of Petaluma and the Petaluma-based organization Committee on the Shelterless, is located at 900 Hopper St. at the Mary Isaak Center, Petaluma’s largest homeless shelter.

According to a program spokesperson, the site is an emergency shelter facility geared toward “service-resistant” individuals or couples who do not want to be signed up for a shelter stay but would still like to access wrap-around services on the path to permanent housing.

The Petaluma City Council declared a shelter crisis last year and in July dedicated $1.7 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to address it, according to COTS. In November, the council earmarked $612,000 in operations costs and $750,000 for site improvements at the Mary Isaak Center, which includes People’s Village.

According to Sonoma County statistics, on any given night, 2,745 people experience homelessness countywide. In Petaluma, that number is 295.

The county has not announced when the remaining 16 units will be built. The “tiny home” shelters are built with metal frames, locking doors, operable windows and insulation.

Katy St. Clair, Bay City News

Katy St. Clair got her start in journalism by working in the classifieds department at the East Bay Express during the height of alt weeklies, then sweet talked her way into becoming staff writer, submissions editor, and music editor. She has been a columnist in the East Bay Express, SF Weekly, and the San Francisco Examiner. Starting in 2015, she begrudgingly scaled the inverted pyramid at dailies such as the Vallejo Times-Herald, The Vacaville Reporter, and the Daily Republic. She has her own independent news site and blog that covers the delightfully dysfunctional town of Vallejo, California, where she also collaborates with the investigative team at Open Vallejo. A passionate advocate for people with developmental disabilities, she serves on both the Board of the Arc of Solano and the Arc of California. She lives in Vallejo.