A new 352-bed residence at Santa Rosa Junior College will provide housing for students who lost homes or continue to struggle with rising rents and housing shortages caused by wildfires that have ripped through Sonoma County over the past several years.
Kaiser Permanente is committing $1 million over the next 2 years toward construction of the Affordable Student Housing project on the Santa Rosa campus, as part of the organization’s larger $4 million wildfire recovery investment in Sonoma County.
1,000 Students Lost Homes to Fires
The college plans to break ground in December. Initiated after 1,000 students lost their homes to fires in 2017, the housing project is expected to be complete in 2022. Priority will be awarded to current and formerly homeless students, foster youth, disabled students, active military, veterans, and first-generation college students.
“We are beyond grateful for this gift from Kaiser Permanente,” said Frank Chong, president and superintendent of Santa Rosa Junior College. “This partnership and funding will provide support for housing and education in our community for generations to come.”
Three years after the Tubbs Fire, the state and region are coming to terms with the realization that long and destructive wildfire seasons are becoming a regular occurrence. Wildfires have destroyed more than 10,000 buildings and temporarily forced more than 300,000 people from their homes in Napa and Sonoma counties since 2017. The most recent Glass Fire destroyed more than 1,500 structures and forced more than 80,000 people from their homes. The wildfires have left many vulnerable residents and low-income communities with inadequate housing and resources during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
$14 Million in Wildfire Recovery Grants
The $4 million in wildfire relief Kaiser Permanente is providing in Sonoma County is in addition to previous investments of more than $14 million the organization has made since 2017.
In addition to the new housing at Santa Rosa Junior College, the $4 million in wildfire relief investments in Sonoma County also supports:
- Legal Aid of Sonoma County to help low and moderate-income residents recover by assisting with housing needs and economic stability
- Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County to provide case management and recovery funds to those impacted by the fires and who have been identified as having the least access to resources
- Undocu Fund to assist undocumented residents and families displaced by the fires with resources and support
- Santa Rosa City Schools to expand mental health support for students and staff at 24 school sites
- Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation to rebuild Foothill Regional Park
- Generation Housing to educate the public about the need for affordable housing and expand affordable housing efforts
- Humanidad Therapy and Education Services to provide low or no cost mental health therapy services for the Latinx community
- Renewable Enterprise District to address housing insecurity by providing capital to move projects forward
- Sonoma County Office of Education as they engage educators to support equity, empathy, and engagement in the virtual learning environment
About Kaiser Permanente
For 75 years, Kaiser Permanente has been committed to shaping the future of health and health care — and helping our members, patients, and communities experience more healthy years. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Since July 21, 1945, Kaiser Permanente’s mission has been to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.4 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health. http://about.kaiserpermanente.org
About Santa Rosa Junior College
SRJC was established in 1918 and has since provided quality education to more than 1.7 million students. SRJC is known for academic excellence, superb faculty and staff, comprehensive student services, and beautiful facilities. This treasured community institution is dedicated to removing barriers to students’ success and making higher education accessible to all.