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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

5 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

Mary Isaak Center should take care to screen the people they feed. Now that the word is out about M.I.C, this town(Mary Isaak Center) is being inundated with people that are degenerates and freeloaders that take away services from people who deserve the help in the position they find themselves in. Some of these folks are not even locals! look around folks...Thanks MIC.

1 Tina M.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

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.


General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have not only seen and been impressed with the actual operations of COTS, but I've personally known people who have been residents of their shelters and have heard first hand from them about how awesome this organization is. What's special about COTS is that they do far more than give out fish, they teach people to fish. They help to educate, support and encourage people so when they leave this shelter, they have a better chance for success at leaving homelessness forever.


General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Petaluma is very fortunate to have COTS - Committee on the Shelterless in our community. My family and I have been volunteers for many years and helped raise money and awareness. From the adults to the children that are encouraged, comforted, and given hope, I am proud to be a part of this organization as a volunteer and donor. Individuals are given an opportunity to succeed and build a future for themselves. Thank you to John Records and his staff and board for the contributions to our community. I am currently involved in developing a template COTS transitional education home in Petaluma for 8 single adults. This is the year long signature community project for AAUW which I am a board member of.


General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

An organization that embraces integrity to a level far and above. Everyone who comes in contact with COTS knows that their commitment to quality service is best served by well working systems both inside and out of the organization. Every aspect of COTS is a class act. They are THE model I point to when talking to others involved in direct service work!