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2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Committee on the Shelterless

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Child Day Care, Children & Youth, Homeless & Housing, Homeless Centers, Homeless Shelters, Human Services, Scouting

Mission: COTS offers help and hope to homeless persons in Sonoma County by providing safe shelter and housing, helping people develop steady incomes and helping them get back under a roof of their own. We also help homeless families become stable and break the cycle of homelessness by teaching homeless parents to make their children''s needs a high priority and to provide a safe, loving and secure home for their children.

Results: We’ve helped over 15,000 homeless people and have saved hundreds of lives. Many of our program participants have gone on to have fabulous lives!

Direct beneficiaries per year: 2000

Geographic areas served: Northern California

Programs: Center for Homeless Children and their Families: a 35-bed year round emergency shelter for families with children, which provides shelter, food, and intensive assessment /case management services from resource advising staff for up to 60 days.Children's Haven: Located at the Center for Homeless Children and their Families, the Children's Haven program offers licensed day care and other comprehensive services to sheltered children and their parents, including parenting training, counseling and assessment.Church/Synagogue Emergency Shelter Program: Coordinated by COTS staff, up to 20 congregations provide companionship, food and up to 12 additional sleeping spaces to homeless families during the school year.Mary Isaak Center: Year round emergency shelter and transitional housing for homeless adults. 100 emergency shelter beds, 30+ transitional housing beds, clinic, case management, work program offered. Provides showers, laundry, message center, telephone, mail and locker services. In addition, counselors and resource advisors provide assistance with employment referrals, training in personal hygiene, housing referrals, counseling, assistance with substance abuse issues, and referrals for health care.Shared and Transitional housing for previously homeless families and singles using 12 residences in Petaluma and Rohnert Park. Provides safe, affordable housing in a mutually supportive, service enriched living environment.The Family Connection provides after shelter support for formerly homeless families.The Petaluma Kitchen provides hot meals every day to needy community members.

Community Stories

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

COTS is an exceptional organization is that it provides much more than food and shelter to homeless singles and families. COTS addresses each program participant with loving kindness and services to support practical, emotional and social well-being. Each person is seen as a unique human being capable of moving beyond trauma to the highest expression of who they are. Each person who comes into the program is met with a caring staff person who creates an environment that promotes growth and sobriety. Multiple programs foster personal insight and achievement.


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have many clients that have loved ones that have received support from COTS! Thank you for helping individuals and families find housing, employment and supportive services. All are very grateful for the work that you all do in the community!


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

In 2004, I sought out the E.D. of COTS to learn more about this unique comprehensive homeless service organization and completed an administrative internship at COTS in 2005. Since that time, I've continued to learn about COTS' integrative programming and approach and have provided some consultation on Motivational Strategies to front-line staff as needed. Through the State University of New York at Albany School of Social Welfare, I am working with COTS on a project looking at the Prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Among Homeless People. Recently, I interviewed many COTS staff persons and wrote an article about COTS programming. COTS is an award-winning homeless service organization, and I am interested in articulating their approach in support of replication and evaluation.