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Permit Sonoma seeks members for Housing Advisory Group

Permit Sonoma announced today that it will begin accepting applications for a 15-member Housing Advisory Committee that will advise the department as it updates the Housing Element of the Sonoma County General Plan. Applications will be accepted until Nov. 23. The Housing Element is drafted every eight years and codifies Sonoma County’s approach to creating enough housing for its residents.

“I encourage Sonoma County residents with diverse experiences to apply and help the county develop new ideas and innovative approaches to addressing the county’s housing situation,” said Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, chair of the board of supervisors. “It is imperative that we get to hear the voices from those who know our communities best.”

Advisory committee members will advise staff, review draft concepts, and serve as community ambassadors. Members’ experiences related to housing needs, constraints to housing development, and feasibility of policies and programs will inform policy approaches.

“The Housing Element will use Sonoma County values to address one of our most in-demand resources,” said Permit Sonoma’s Director of Planning Tennis Wick. “I am excited to work with residents with experience seeking housing, building housing, and working with nonprofits to tackle our housing challenges.”

The working group will be composed of up to 15 volunteers and one observer from across the county, representing a wide variety of community stakeholders and perspectives. The advisory group will consist of:

• A member who rents their primary residence;

• A developer or builder;

• A nonprofit developer or builder;

• A member with lived experience of homelessness;

• Three members representing local nonprofits;

• A member representing the faith-based community;

• A member representing the agricultural community;

• A member with experience as a farm laborer;

• Five community members-at-large, one from each supervisorial district; and

• A member of the planning agency (observational).

A stipend of $150 will be available for low-income residents who rent their primary residences, have lived the experience of homelessness, represent a local nonprofit organization, and represent the agricultural community, to allow all residents to participate. Members are expected to attend a two-hour meeting approximately monthly.

Interested members of the community can learn more about the Housing Element or apply to become a member at Sonomacounty.ca.gov/HousingElement.

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