Joining the COTS Community

In December, former COTS Chief Executive Officer Chuck Fernandez retired, leaving big shoes to fill. Chuck’s work at COTS left a beautiful legacy full of hope, determination, love, and kindness. I am honored to carry on these traditions in service to COTS and the larger Sonoma County community.

Homelessness is a complex issue—an issue that cannot be solved without community partnership, determination, love, and compassion. As the new COTSChief Executive Officer, I vow to work alongside our incredible team, and promise to ensure COTS remains a prominent ally in ending homelessness in our community.

Here at COTS, we are eternally grateful to bring light and hope to those we serve, and we couldn’t do it without supporters like you. We are inspired by the incredible changes we see within our clients every day, and I am excited to have the great privilege of writing this to all of you.

Please join me in a sincere thank you to Chuck Fernandez for his dedication and compassion, and a hearty cheers to enjoying his retirement.

I am delighted to continue to provide these monthly updates—your questions, comments, and suggestions are always welcome here.

Until next time,

Chris Cabral

Mission Moment: Solutions Through Partnership

The issue of homelessness did not occur overnight. Permanent solutions take time, resources, and changing strategies to address the evolving needs of our most vulnerable community members. Lasting results demand strong partnerships between service providers, governments, and community members.

We are all part of the broad system of change—without robust partnerships and collective participation, the system fails.

Ask any human services professional about their work and you’re sure to hear words like “burnout,” “frustration,” or any number of synonyms for “tired.” This work is critical, and this work is hard. People in this field are dedicated, compassionate, and demonstrate a “do what it takes” attitude toward their collective mission.

Providers are asked to solve complex human issues with too few resources, often resulting in inefficiencies and workforce fatigue. Despite this, what you’ll find in this field are professionals who show up every day ready to ask, “how can I help?”

COTS is not alone in this experience. Our nonprofit partners, government officials, and community supporters understand the complexity and difficulty in addressing deep-rooted societal factors impacting chronic homelessness. This shared understanding means we can address these factors better together, unifying our efforts and expertise to best serve those who need it most.

True partnership is hard. It takes work, requires patience, and insists we listen to proposed solutions with an open mind. True partnership forces us to reflect on what we do well, but more importantly—what we can improve.

Looking forward, COTS is prioritizing and leveraging its partnerships in service to the Sonoma County community. By taking intentional steps to strengthen our partnerships with other providers, government officials, and community members, COTS can continue its legacy of accessible, quality services in our mission to end homelessness.

In the past month, COTS has increased the availability of mobile showers at the Mary Isaak Center by 50%. In addition, COTS has strengthened its existing collaboration with the City of Petaluma to best align strategic priorities, ensuring COTS clients and others without shelter have access to the services they need, when they need them. We are working with other experienced providers to learn new and innovative practices, and to share our best practices in serving this population. COTS, along with the City of Petaluma, is leading a collaborative effort to amend and improve shelter regulations countywide—a welcome change for our clients, staff, and those experiencing homelessness.

We are unrelenting in our pursuit to end homelessness, but we can’t do it alone. Envisioning a healthy, accessible, and prosperous Sonoma County for all—COTS will continue to lead by example by continually strengthening our bonds with existing partners, and welcoming new supporters with open arms.

As always, thank you to our advocates, our supporters, and our community for your support of our critical work.


Chris Cabral, CEO