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Two Views on SAY Dream Center: Yes

  • The former Warrack Hospital on Hoen Avenue and Summerfield Road in Santa Rosa is slated to become the new SAY Dream Center under an application to be reviewed Thursday by the city Planning Commission. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat)

As Santa Rosa residents, elected officials and representatives of our law enforcement community of public safety officers, retired judges, probation officers and deputy district attorneys, we support Social Advocates for Youth and its Dream Center proposal at the former Warrack Hospital campus.

SAY has made significant strides toward engaging the public through town hall meetings, individual meetings, walking door to door, sending out mailings, letters and emails and making phone calls that have undoubtedly strengthened the Dream Center project. They continue to engage with those in our community to further strengthen their proposal and help ensure our community's safety.

Public safety is of the utmost priority to SAY, and they have demonstrated that safety will not only be their priority but so will their commitment to neighbors and the Bennett Valley community. SAY has had a successful eight-year track record of protecting the safety of residents at Tamayo Village by actively working to be a good neighbor to those living in the surrounding area. This success is no accident. It is the result of a rigorous screening process coupled with a capable, talented staff that is dedicated to helping our community's youth.

SAY's policies and procedures enable more than 80 percent of tenants at Tamayo Village to move into stable, permanent housing after exiting their program. SAY sets a high standard to increase the chances for long-term success of the youth it serves. They continue to listen to the concerns of neighbors living near the Dream Center site and have worked diligently to address those concerns, while implementing policies to work toward ensuring residents will conduct themselves as good citizens.

In addition to trying to reduce homelessness for the more than 1,100 homeless youth in Sonoma County, approximately 40 kids age out of foster care. Within a year, 65 percent of them will experience homelessness after turning 18, and many join a long waiting list at Tamayo Village. The addition of the Dream Center units will enable SAY to assist more of these foster children as they transition into adulthood and reverse the startling increase in the number of former foster youth who end up homeless.

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