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September 21, 2013

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September 21, 2013

I know a lot of people think that C.O.T.S. is a Great nonprofit. I, admit, that they project themselves quite well as one. The truth, however is a lot different than the rosy picture about themselves that they present. One thing that is true is that C.O.T.S. will do anything ethical or not to preserve their funding, their reputation within the community as well as the North Bay Area at anyone's expense. Take for example a gentlemen who was a two time graduate of the program (One of a very few at that time.). He believed in C.O.T.S. and helped them. What did they do to him? They sicked the police on him eventually suing him for $50,000 and tried to break him. Is this what great nonprofits do or are supposed to be about?

Please realize that C.O.T.S. intentions were good at first, however they become quite misguided as they only help the people that they want to help. Anyone who gets in their way they will destroy in a heartbeat. To me, this is not what Great nonprofits do.

Don't take my word for any of this. There are records available at the Courthouse in Santa Rosa regarding C.O.T.S.'s activities. Thank you.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Fire everyone working there and start over from scratch with the intent of making C.O.T.S. what it was supposed to be instead of the shelter bully and monger that it is currently. I also would reduce the salaries of the brass who were making upwards of $50,000 per year.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Okay

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

December 18, 2011
3 people found this review helpful

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December 18, 2011
3 people found this review helpful

I was asked to participate in COTS 2012 (April) as one of the many successful individuals and families that launched back into the mainstream of life. Well, it wasn't all that easy as I thought to get back in the mainstream of life again....I was a street person/homeless for six years in Santa Rosa until my egotistical pride let go and I decided to make a real change and came to MIC (Mary Isaak Center) in June '06. I wasn't there for drug and/or alchohol reasons but that I just needed to learn to get out of my own way. I had some killer jobs and responsibiities before this time and I even was confident I was making the success happen in my life. I even lived at the same residence as a renter for 16 1/2 years. I must have been doing something right. Then my world came apart. I came home from work one day to find a 30 day eviction notice. Everybody in the complex got one. The owner had sold the property and the new owner wanted us out by Thanksgiving so they could build a shopping center in that location. At least I had a job... so I thought. I got laid off 4 days later. I couldn't find work and housing etc. and I wasn't elegible for unemployment insurance payments yet. So I had to put my stuff in storage and then I hit the streets. Later on I lost the unit and my stuff anyway due to the fact I couldn't pay the rental fee no more. So much for my past life that I knew. Funny, they didn't teach us in school how to be shelterless LOL. I burned out some great friends because of my neediness and my lack of progress and so I increasingly became depressed and lost hope. Cots restored me and I'm a better person in so many ways. I've got lots of great friends again, live in my own apartment again, I got a gym membership again also and was able to reinvent myself :) I've been a hero to a lot of my friends now and they are more than willing to help me when needed. One friend even sold me a great little car he had extra and real cheap for $600, worth way more, just because he just wanted to help me. Sweet. My three years at MIC has been a blessing for me. I lost about a decade of my life dealing with the homeless stuff. Really, those weren't lost years, just different. Check out the COTS 2012 calendar, I'm "Mr. April". Notice that smile of mine and those of others in there, they are real and so are the people behind them. God Bless and thanks to all those who "suffered through" my stubbornness at MIC and gave me a hand up, not a handout. A big special thanks to all the many gracious donors, volunteers and the citizens of Petaluma which I now reside. The views expressed here does not necessarlly represent MIC, it's staff or it's clients. LOL

More feedback...

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

April 11, 2011
3 people found this review helpful

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April 11, 2011
3 people found this review helpful

I was introduced to Committee On The Shelterless (COTS) by a neighbor when we first moved to Petaluma. My relationship with COTS began simply by me dropping off donations. I then inquired about the food service program, because I could see they had a kitchen on site that was serving meals to the local residents. I offered to volunteer at the kitchen one day a week. I loved the experinece so much, I kept going. It's been over two years now. And I still love it just as if it was my first week volunteering. The Petaluma Kitchen staff make everyone feel welcomed. When I was laid off, I found the volunteering rewarding and it helped me get out of the house and be part of my community. I felt needed and respected.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

After being laid off, I was so happy there was a safe place to go to get a warm meal. And volunteering helped me feel like I was giving back. Contributing. Not getting a "hand-out."

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would encourage our local government to support the kitchen in having the needed equipment, supplies and staffing to expand the services. The need is growing.

November 20, 2010
1 person found this review helpful

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November 20, 2010
1 person found this review helpful

My name is Joseph Vermette I am in the M.I.C. right now,I have been here long enough to get my life back on track. This wonderful place has saved my life, the staff here has given me more, Support,more resources, and more knowledge than any other place that I have been to in the 48 years that I have been alive. The meetings that are presented to us by the staff here are very helpful and spoken to us clearly with questions being answered at the end of and during every one of the meetings that I have been to here. On top of saving my life and enabling me to be a part of society once again I have found my way back to the lord our god wich has been very comforting to me. When I say "This place has saved my life" I would like everyone that reads this to understand that I was "At the end of my rope" I was homeless, I have Spinal Stenosis, my whole lumbar-L-1 thru S-1 has been fused and there is two Titanium rods being held together by 8 titanium screws in my back wich I re-injured 3 months after the original surgery because of my dependancy on Narcotics now and only recently have I been able to find Medical resourses to help me keep walking. All I can say and be honest is this, the Mary Isaak Center is the ultimate place to get whatever a person could possibly need to get their "act together" We even have controled aid for the people that are still out there on the streets, we let them use our showers,phones,computers,free clothes that have been donated, I coul;d go on and on all day about the good that this place does but I want to do my chore so God bless every one of you and have a very good and prosperous life. Good-bye

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Getting every single one of my needs met in a cordial ,respectful and friendly atmosphere

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Get rid of the Haters and thje people who use the center for their purposes then talk bad about this place while they are still here

November 20, 2010
1 person found this review helpful

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November 20, 2010
1 person found this review helpful

I have volunteered for years and met so many great individuals and families at COTS who were grateful for all the love, support and encouragement received from the COTS staff and thousands of volunteers. Yes, you have to really want to improve yourself at COTS and work hard...sacrifice to be there and be loving and accepting of others less fortunate than yourself...nothing is perfect...but by far and away this is an incredible and beautiful group of people functioning as a family moving forward in their lives.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Watching our young family grow and thrive through The Family Connection Program has been wonderful.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

If I had to make changes I would wish for more funding for additional room for families and individuals needing shelter.

November 19, 2010

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November 19, 2010

From the time I moved to Petaluma in 1991, I became aware of COTS through newspaper articles and fundraising drives in town. I was impressed with the fact that a homeless services agency could build such strong support in every layer of the community, from the police and fire departments, to the City Council and staff, to the broad spectrum of citizens in our community. COTS is a very well-run organization that serves the people it touches with respect and support. The success stories that COTS has to share demonstrate that their programs and methods really make a difference in helping people rebuild and heal their lives. I consider COTS to be one of the core reasons that Petaluma is such a special place to live.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my community as I see and hear the people that COTS has helped get back on track with their lives.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

not change anything. The COTS organization has great leadership and an outstanding, caring staff. Funding is always a concern, especially in this economic climate, but Petaluma cares about and supports the work of COTS, and has really come through in these difficult times.

November 19, 2010
1 person found this review helpful

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November 19, 2010
1 person found this review helpful

I came to MIC after calling them for 2 months! Most shelters you can just show up at intake hours but no Sonoma County likes to be elitists. I had to take a drug test even though I don't have any substance abuse issues. I would say that I am not a street person but like so many Americans these days, we can't find jobs to help us survive the high cost of living, especially in California. I was very committed to going to school. I was a full time student but I couldn't use the computer at MIC because the time was limited and there was no printer attached to help me with my homework. It took 3 1/2 hours out of my day to travel to the Santa Rosa Junior College. Because there was so much noise going on at the MIC shelter, I couldn't even study there. Yet and still, MIC, expected me to be volunteering my precious time that I really needed to relax from a very demanding and challenging school schedule. But no, you can't even relax and take a nap unless you get a note from a doctor! Many of us complained that we could never get any rest at MIC. There were a lot of "talks" by staff that were supposed to motivate and inform us, but these people were not trained in speaking and their high minded thoughts didn't connect with everyday homeless lifestyles. Many of us were disgusted by these sophomoric talks. They were not helping us. Then unlike most shelters, the homeless are not allowed to bring their suitcases to MIC. The staff here thinks they are so clever that they have come up with a clear small tote box. They are 2 feet by 14". What can you put in that? They also make it easy for people to get in them and steal what they want. If you had your own suitcase you could lock it up and protect your property. But no this would be like having the same rules that most other shelters have. MIC has to be DIFFERENT but they are not necessarily helpful! Other shelters even have a room or small storage building/shed for your suitcases and belongings. Not MIC. they have a clothing room and none of the residents are encouraged to get clothes. These are for the people sleeping outside. They come at 9 to 11 am and take showers, wash clothes and get clothes. The residents have to get out of their way. All the money that is spent on the MIC/cots salaries could be better channeled directly to us homeless. We could change our lives with that money. But don't try to be a sober sane student trying to make a better life because they will not help you. They have no program for people like this!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I personally have had MIC try to derail my chance to get good grades.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would fire Monica Savon, Bill Hess and their spies they call interns very rude and ruthless people!

November 17, 2010

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November 17, 2010

We have just returned from COTS annual fundraising breakfast where over 600 people from the community came to hear about the important work COTS does to put homeless and vulnerable adults and children back on their feet, in a safe environment, restoring their self-esteem and self-confidence. The results are so positive and so powerful that there isn't a big enough meeting hall in the city to accommodate all the people that want to be part of helping COTS address this critical human need. They come to pledge funds not just for one year or two years, but five years so that COTS can develop longer term plans to help their many clients.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

In our daily lives we have encountered and come to know quite well a number of adults who have found a way to reconnect with society and become positive, contributing citizens after falling so far that they had no longer believed such an outcome to be possible. It is extraordinarily inspiring to see men and women and children, too, who had given up hope and then found they had capacities they didn't know existed...capacity to help themselves and, perhaps even more importantly, to help others as well.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

We would try to find more ways to leverage the success they have achieved in Petaluma and Sonoma County, California. To our knowledge, no other similar organization has been more successful in moving clients back into the community as successful, independent persons. We would so like to see this capacity effectively transferred to other organizations addressing the issues of hunger and homelessness.

More feedback...

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

What specific problem, purpose, priority, or project prompted your gift?

It began with small gifts...an entree cooked once a month for COTS clients. Over time as the positive results were more and more apparent our contributions increased so that now we give as much as we can afford each year.

Why did you make your donation at this time?

Because the need is always there, we reaffirmed our 5-year pledge.

What would you tell others about this organization?

We try very hard to donate to non-profits that will make good, efficient use of the donation. Of all the organizations we contribute to, we believe that none makes better use of the money they have to work with.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

November 10, 2010

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November 10, 2010

This is a non-profit that does NOT use the "patch-it up" approach, this organization works to solve the very issues that lead an individual or family to seek help to ensure that one can stand back on their own two feet, with self-confidence and hope. As their intro video says, everyone falls on their knees sometimes. I volunteered with COTS as a family team member, were I was matched with a family and other volunteers to support their growth and help them to reach their goals. I immediately repeated the experience because of the positive impact possible I saw in my first year as a volunteer!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

as a volunteer, seeing the change in the lives in the individuals I worked with.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

make it federally funded in every county in America.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

November 6, 2010
1 person found this review helpful

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November 6, 2010
1 person found this review helpful

Many years ago, i worked at COTS in the child-care program. It provided a standard that i tend to hold all other non-profits to. They had a comprehensive approach to children and their families that is hard to match. Northern Cal. is fortunate to have this resource so handy.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I saw children's lives improved

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

figure a way to duplicate in other midsize communities

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