Sonoma County converts former hotel into housing for homeless

The second of two new housing complexes for people experiencing homelessness, the former Sebastopol Inn, is scheduled to open in Sebastopol next week, expanding the county's supply of long-term shelter options.

The 31-room supportive housing complex, opening the week of Dec. 28, is the second of two acquired by the county through funds made available through the state's Project Homekey, county officials said. The official virtual opening ceremony is Dec. 30.

The former Hotel Azura, rechristened Mickey Zane Place, opened as supportive housing in Santa Rosa Dec. 14. Taken together, the two facilities will be able to accommodate a total of 100 unsheltered people between them, including those most at risk for contracting COVID-19, according to county officials.

"The closing of the sale of the Sebastopol Inn represents a major step forward in our efforts to provide supportive services for medically vulnerable members of our homeless community," Lynda Hopkins, vice chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, said in a statement.

"It couldn't be coming a more critical time given how the number of COVID-19 cases in our County have more than doubled in recent weeks," Hopkins said.

Supervisors approved the purchase and remodeling of both locations in November using Project Homekey funds in an effort to reduce the county's homeless population. 

Both housing complexes will have a full onsite support staff to assist individuals with wrap-around services, county officials said.

Sonoma County has a "housing-first" approach that prioritizes access to long-term, stable housing along with other resources for unsheltered people.