Founded in early 1988, COTS was an expression of Mary Isaak’s and Laura Reichek’s concern for children and adults who were sleeping outdoors in culverts, dumpsters or other unsafe and unsuitable conditions. Reichek and Isaak raised money from private donors, enlisted the support of the faith community and fraternal organizations, educated the larger community, and monitored sleepovers at temporary shelters throughout the city, as they spearheaded the drive for homeless services in Petaluma.

Copperfield’s Bookstore’s basement, the United Methodist Church, Elim Lutheran Church and a house on Howard Street were all early sites for COTS’ homeless shelter.