Graces's Story

 


Jane's Story

Jane* was a lively spirit on a path full of success until her world was turned upside down. Like so many others, the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic marked the start of a tumultuous next few years. Jane owned her own business, a successful massage therapy studio that was established in Petaluma almost two decades ago. However, the pandemic brought a drastic decrease in clientele and, after sustaining an injury to her wrist, she had to close her doors permanently.  

As Jane approached her mid 70’s in age, she was without a sustainable income, as social security did not cover the cost of living. Luckily, Jane had savings she could tap into and for the next five years, she continued living in her home and prepared herself for what was to come next. 

Jane knew she would eventually be forced to leave her home due to finances once her savings were depleted and moved her belongings into storage as she tried to wrangle applications for affordable housing options herself. With no background on the process, Jane was greeted with legal jargon and an insurmountable amount of paperwork. This was not going to be a quick process. 

With an overwhelming feeling of panic and terror, Jane started to starve herself and her body weight fell to 75 pounds. Jane was slipping into a state of needing more care than her general doctor could provide her with but could not find the energy to care for herself any longer. 

She was still racing against the clock of her savings running out and Jane tried to pursue all available options but could not cross the finish line to secure herself stable, affordable housing. She was forced out of her home and onto the streets of the Petaluma community she had long been an integral piece of. 

With no other solutions, Jane called a shelter she knew was in Petaluma, COTS. Soon after speaking to a “kind” individual on the phone about the waiting list for a bottom bunk placement in the shelter at the Mary Isaak Center, Jane saw a light at the end of the tunnel. Partnering with Eileen from the Red Tape Club, she filed her application to stay at COTS and was placed in COTS’ People’s Village. “So, I feel this place [COTS] is a blessing to me. I've said that twice to you and I do I feel was a blessing.” Jane remained in People’s Village for 13 months, taking advantage of every single resource available to her.  

One resource was access to meals from Mary’s Table at COTS. When she was living in her home, she loved eating the premade salads from Trader Joe’s and was ecstatic when she found that COTS provided deliciously similar salads. 

Jane’s other key resource was again Eileen, in the Red Tape Club. Eileen helped her complete the paperwork she struggled to file on her own. Together they applied for PEP Housing, affordable housing for seniors. “Gratitude is one word I would say for this place. Really. Gratitude is what I feel more than anything. Not to mention that the people who, are they are so there's so able to do their job.” Jane was appreciative of the access to resources and often tried to encourage other clients to use them too – even if they were just staying at COTS for the emergency shelter. “Mary Isaak is good. Whenever they're able, they shut off half the kitchen and make the other part of the kitchen a place for people to be accommodated with mattresses for sleep- especially in the bad weather.” 

 

Then, her application results came in. After months of filing paperwork and meeting with her Eileen, Jane had been accepted into permanent, affordable housing. Joy poured out of her as she prepared to move out. “I grew in love here. I grew in respect of others and to other people. . . To see that they are people, many of them have just marvelous, beautiful qualities that are different than me.”  

She made beautiful cards for everyone who had helped her at COTS, and hand delivered them to their office spaces before her moving day. 

“I know where I'm going is a lovely place, and I feel honored to have been so fortunate as to get a residence like this.”  

At 82 years of age, Jane was as excited as a kid in a candy shop looking forward to her new place. Jane is also planning on finding a way to contribute back to other people in need. She would like to volunteer with   

“Lutetia, and I love what she brings to people. And she knows that she tries to learn everybody's name. Of course, she's not going to know everybody's name. And but I have to become a friend of hers. Well, we are friends. And I would like to find a way one day a week to work with her and to do part of the work that she's doing on one of the days that she might be find me useful.” 

 

*Client's name has been changed for privacy.


COTS' Diana Morales speaking at Petaluma's Women's Club

In November 2023, Petaluma’s Women’s Club welcomed COTS’ engagement specialist, Diana Morales, to speak about COTS to their members. As someone with lived experience, Diana passionately advocates for COTS whenever she gets a chance.

Diana lived on the streets of Santa Rosa for four years battling alcoholism until someone urged her to visit COTS. With no shoes on her feet, Diana boarded the bus and began the life-changing journey that has led her to permanent housing, full-time employment, and a rekindling of her relationship with her mom.

She highlighted that our clients' journeys start the moment they walk through our doors. Once they come in, they begin to realize they are in a safe place. They have access to hot showers, a safe bed, and steady food access. After they settle in, the work of securing their housing begins for both their care manager and them. Our transition to becoming a housing-focused program means that we require the clients to participate in their care and housing process.

Depending on each client's capacity and their long-term goals, COTS offers a variety of pathways to gain housing.

“Our shelters are not permanent housing, but they are a stepping stone to coming in off the streets.”

COTS has 80 beds and during this event, 65 were occupied by community members needing assistance.

COTS also provides Recuperative Care Housing. This style of housing allows neighbors experiencing homelessness to receive care from a medical facility and then have a safe, clean, and nourishing place to complete their healing process.

Also, COTS can allow clients to stay in our tiny homes, People’s Village. The 25 individual homes each have a desk, dresser, locking door, and communal access to showers and bathrooms.

Another route to housing is to rent at Studios at the Montero (SAM). SAM was created in partnership with Burbank Housing. An old hotel was renovated into 60 individual studio-style living units. Each unit’s rent is paid by the client as stated in their lease. Residents have access to care management, personal kitchenettes, bathrooms, a community gardening space, and a private parking lot.

With the need for affordable housing rising, COTS also utilizes integrity housing. COTS master leases housing in Petaluma, Cotati, Rohnert Park, and Santa Rosa. Then each of the rooms is rented out to those in our programs who are ready and able to live on their own. Each home has around four to five bedrooms. Like SAM, residents pay rent and have an official lease, but Integrity Housing is congregate living.

The rapid rehousing (RRH) team provides clients with access to state funding for deposits, the first month’s rent, and other fees. While the funding is not given to the clients, it is paid directly to the property managers or owners on the client's behalf. The rapid rehousing team steps in to help once clients have found a place to live and their rental applications have been accepted. Clients do not have to pay this funding back and receive inspections to ensure it is a safe and healthy environment for clients or families.
Once the housing is secured, the RRH team will help furnish the place and teach the clients how to save money and budget.

In addition to housing options, COTS provides many other client services.

Some members of Petaluma’s Women’s Club regularly volunteer, such as Lori who provides a sense of belonging to clients as they try to greet many of them by name while they are serving meals. These meals at the Mary Isaak Center, come from our certified chef who cooks and serves two homemade and delicious meals a day.

Our social services programs provide mental healthcare, physical and medical well-being, parenting classes, and more! COTS also partners with Petaluma Health Center to host Nurse Annie and her nurses in training for general care. Annie and her team can give our clients referrals to specialists, treat common ailments, and administer vaccinations.

The Red Tape Club at COTS assists with whatever may be restricting the clients back from achieving their goals. Red Tape Club has assisted clients with utilizing computers, filing applications, hosting mock interviews, finding employment, and handling legal issues.

With homelessness continuing to affect our community, COTS is a housing-focused program with wraparound services to help the whole person needing assistance in achieving their goals.


The COTS Collective: February 2024


February COTS’ Collective.

Expanding Recuperative Care – Expanding Healthcare Access for Sonoma County:

For the past two years, COTS has worked tirelessly to identify and secure funding to expand our Recuperative Care program in Petaluma. This expansion, which increases our capacity to serve from 6 to 20 beds, makes a significant stride in addressing the pressing needs of unsheltered individuals within our community. This expansion isn’t just about adding more capacity; it’s about extending a lifeline to those who find themselves on the margins, offering not just shelter, but a pathway to recovery and stability.

Recuperative Care is a medical program that offers a safe, clean environment to hospital patients who are ready to exit from the hospital, but who do not have a home in which to heal. These additional beds serve as a bridge between hospital stays and returning to the streets, ensuring that individuals have the support they require to heal properly, and an opportunity to access various housing opportunities after their stay in the COTS Recuperative Care program.

Homelessness can be an incredibly isolating experience, exacerbating feelings of alienation and hopelessness. However, within the walls of Recuperative Care, individuals find a supportive environment where they are treated with dignity and respect. By expanding the facility, we’re creating space for more individuals to experience this sense of community, forging connections that can be instrumental in their journey towards stability and permanent housing.

This expansion also reduces strain on emergency services and hospitals—saving our community hundreds of thousands of dollars in emergency care each year. Without access to adequate shelter and healthcare, many unsheltered individuals resort to using emergency rooms as their primary source of medical care. Not only is this costly for hospitals, but it also diverts resources away from those who require urgent attention. By expanding Recuperative Care, we’re helping to alleviate this strain, ensuring that individuals receive the appropriate level of care in a more cost-effective and sustainable manner.

COTS is proud of this expansion and is proud to offer accessible options to everyone in our community. Expanding Recuperative Care from 6 beds to 20 beds is a testament to our commitment to serving the most vulnerable members of our community. It’s a tangible step towards creating a more inclusive and compassionate society, where everyone can rebuild their lives and realize their full potential. COTS envisions a community where everyone has a place to call home.

We invite you to support us by donating to our critical work, or through one or more of our volunteer opportunities.  Learn more about supporting COTS by visiting www.cots.org.

Until Next Time,

Chris Cabral, CEO

This month, COTS’ Legacy Society joined us at the Mary Isaak Center to get an insider’s look at our Recuperative Care expansion. Thank you to those of you who were able to attend!

If you would like more information on supporting COTS through a legacy, contact your financial planner or our Director of Development at [email protected] or (707) 765-6530 x126.

Leave a Legacy Today

Above:  COTS would like to thank the Legacy Society members for attending and ensuring that we will be there to help our neighbors in need for generations to come. 

In 2014, COTS identified a new need facing the community. After being discharged, our neighbors experiencing homelessness needed a safe space to continue their healing journeys for injuries, illnesses, surgeries, etc. With continuous care, these individuals could heal well and reduce the number of returns to the hospital or calls for emergency services.

 

COTS created a 4-bed respite unit that supported the community until 2017, when the unit had to close indefinitely. In 2020, the respite unit was reopened under the name of the Recuperative Care Unit (RC) and now had 6 beds. This unit continues to serve clients today with medical transportation, appointments, care, and other medical related needs.

 

Last year, Recuperative Care’s 6 bed unit served 50 individual clients, with 80% of them not returning to the hospital and 92% of them transitioning to the Mary Isaak Center, assisted living, or housing. 

 

With a large growth in seniors experiencing homelessness and those experiencing homelessness for the first time in their lives, COTS will expand the Recuperative Care unit from 6 beds to 20 this year!

Read More About RC

Legacy Luncheon Brings Recuperative Care Updates

In February, our Legacy Society gathered at the Mary Isaak Center for a delicious meal and a captivating chat with Pat Higgins, COTS’ Lead Recuperative Care Specialist. COTS would like to thank everyone for attending and demonstrating an enduring investment in COTS’ mission, ensuring that we will be there to help our neighbors in need for generations to come.  

  

In 2014, COTS identified a new need facing the community. After being discharged, our neighbors experiencing homelessness needed a safe space to continue their healing journeys for injuries, illnesses, surgeries, etc. With continuous care, these individuals could heal well and reduce the number of returns to the hospital or calls for emergency services.  

  

COTS sought to fill the gap and transformed the former library at the Mary Isaak Center into a respite unit of four beds. These four beds supported the community until 2017, when the unit had to close indefinitely.  

  

Not giving up on COTS’ goals, in 2020, the respite unit was reopened under the name of the Recuperative Care Unit (RC) and now had 6 beds. This unit continues to serve clients today with medical transportation, appointments, wound care, and coordination of physical therapy or home health appointments. The Recuperative Care unit provides an area for clients to participate in their exercises and checkups without an audience of spectators.  

  

Beyond medical services, COTS’ Red Tape Club helps RC clients get their documents ready, such as IDs, medical cards, social security cards, etc. Additionally, the Red Tape Club assists in securing employment, social security deposits, and understanding other legal jargon that may be standing in their way of becoming housed.  

  

As their paperwork processes, COTS also gives RC clients access to housing assistance, substance abuse and recovery programs, and counseling as part of the whole person approach. According to some of our previous clients, COTS' services are life changing. One specific client, who is currently housed, told Pat, “That if it wasn't for all the services, not only COTS’ Recuperative Care [provided], but COTS in general provided, I wouldn't be housed right now, nor would I have the confidence to be housed”.  

 

Another client had been homeless for 15 years and dreamed of being in a home again, but he did not know how to make his dream come true. Now he has been housed for 6 months and accredits COTS with giving him the tools and confidence to succeed. As he is fully employed and has advanced his position with a promotion, he pays it forward by volunteering in the kitchen at the Mary Isaak Center.  

   

Last year, Recuperative Care’s 6 bed unit served 50 individual clients, with 80% of them not returning to the hospital and 92% of them transitioning to the Mary Isaak Center, assisted living, or housing. With 80% not returning to the hospital, local nursing facilities, hospitals, emergency care, and other medical facilities have more manageable patient loads and have available spaces for urgent life-and-death situations. RC also saves money without sacrificing care. On average, it costs about $6,500 for someone to stay in the ER for 24 hours, which will add up quickly if someone does not have a safe place to go after a surgery, injury, or illness and must frequently return to the ER’s care. At COTS, a stay of 24 hours costs about $212. When COTS can provide continuous care for an individual, the overall costs of their care decrease substantially. 

  

While we have seen a lot of success in RC, COTS has also identified two more emerging groups that can benefit from COTS’ programs. There has been a large growth in seniors experiencing homelessness as well as those experiencing homelessness for the first time in their lives.   

  

Considering the growing need for more care, COTS will expand the Recuperative Care unit from 6 beds to 20 this year! The renovated unit will have a more welcoming environment with a dining area for clients, new room doors, and a fresh coat of paint on top of the new layout. This expansion will help reduce or even eliminate any waitlist that may arise. 

 

Stay tuned for more updates. 

 


Cynthia's Story

With a grandfather who was a local policeman for 20 years, a first communion ceremony at St. Joseph’s, and even taking her first breath in the Hillcrest Hospital, Cynthia’s connection to Petaluma runs deep. 

 

While her early years were spent in Sebastapol, Cynthia could not be kept from returning to Petaluma as a young adult. Unfortunately, Cynthia soon fell into the clutches of addictive substances and the relationship with her parents and 3 siblings deteriorated. With her parents now living in Oregon, Cynthia found herself alone and in the deep pocket of addiction. For 37 years, Cynthia’s life was shaped by this dependency on Methamphetamine. During this time, Cynthia also faced the hardships of being homeless for approximately 10 years. 

 

When Cynthia was ready to get off the streets, she faced the harsh realities of long waiting lists and restrictive qualifications needed to enter a shelter. Thankfully, Cynthia found a spot at the Mary Isaak Center to start over and people who would support her journey. One person she recalls is the current COTS Program Director, Robin, chuckling as she stated, “Oh I love Robin now. Sorry, Robin. But she was very hard on me at first.” This “Tough Love” allowed Cynthia to start working with her Care Team as she moved from the Mary Isaak Center to People’s Village, and finally out to permanent housing at Studios at Montero (SAM).  

 

People’s Village provided Cynthia with personal space, privacy, and new friends like Stacie, COTS People’s Village Services Manager. Cynthia liked living in People’s Village but knew she could not stay there forever. With the help of her Care Team, Cynthia secured a housing voucher and was able to move into SAM’s affordable housing, where she still lives today.  

 

Cynthia has recently been diagnosed with congestive heart failure but is able to access medical help through the support services offered through SAM and is excitedly looking forward to living out the rest of her years in her beloved town of Petaluma. 

 


The COTS Collective: January 2024


January COTS’ Collective.

COTS is happy to celebrate the new year with all our clients, staff, and community.

In 2024, COTS will continue to employ a multifaceted approach to addressing the unique challenges faced by individuals experiencing homelessness.

In 2023, COTS proudly worked alongside more than a thousand individuals. Our experienced and compassionate care managers worked closely with our clients to provide access to essential resources, and to ensure each individual receives detailed support—addressing both immediate concerns and long-term goals and desires.

In 2024, COTS will continue to nurture its community partnerships, and we will focus on expanding these partnerships within the larger county. We are looking forward to program expansions and furthering our mission as we grow into the Santa Rosa area. We will continue to actively advocate for increased affordable housing options. In partnership with cities, counties, and other providers, COTS will continue working to establish a network of safe and affordable homes for individuals and families who need them most.

We welcome you to join us in celebrating the new year!  With your help, COTS can continue providing high-quality, innovative housing solutions in our mission to end homelessness. COTS welcomes you to partner with us in this critical mission—if you would like to volunteer, donate, tour our facilities, or support our organization in another way, please reach out to Erin Krueger at [email protected].

In 2024, let our community exemplify a commitment to ending homelessness and creating a more inclusive society where everyone has a place to call home.

Sincerely,

Chris Cabral, CEO

At COTS, we offer a variety of affordable housing options, including Integrity Housing, Permanent Supportive Housing, and Rapid Re-Housing, and Studios at Montero. ⁠

While these programs are vital to helping our community find and keep housing, we still need more! We hope you’ll consider a donation through a will or trust – demonstrating an enduring investment in COTS’ mission, ensuring that we will be there to help our neighbors in need for generations to come.

Members of our Legacy Society should have received an invitation to our annual Legacy Luncheon on February 13th. If you have made COTS part of your will or trust and did not receive an invitation, please email Erin Krueger at [email protected].

Continue Changing Lives with COTS

At COTS, we offer a variety of affordable housing options, including Integrity Housing, Permanent Supportive Housing, and Rapid Re-Housing, and Studios at Montero. ⁠

While these programs are vital to helping our community find and keep housing, we still need more! We hope you’ll consider a donation through a will or trust – demonstrating an enduring investment in COTS’ mission, ensuring that we will be there to help our neighbors in need for generations to come.

Members of our Legacy Society should have received an invitation to our annual Legacy Luncheon on February 13th. If you have made COTS part of your will or trust and did not receive an invitation, please email Erin Krueger at [email protected].

Leave a Legacy Today

The COTS Collective: December 2023


A Year of Change: Reflecting on Our Impact in the Fight Against Homelessness.

 

Dear COTS Supporters,

We are approaching the end of a remarkable year, and we are filled with gratitude and a deep sense of accomplishment for all we have achieved. My first year here as CEO has been filled with incredible stories and organizational growth—I continue to be humbled by the shared commitment of our staff and community supporters.

As we enter this holiday season, we are reminded why this work is so important. Holidays are a time when people come together to celebrate joy, warmth, and connection. For those experiencing homelessness, this time of year can be especially challenging, underscoring the importance of ensuring that every individual, regardless of their circumstances, is treated with dignity and compassion.

Looking ahead to 2024, COTS remains steadfast in our commitment to ending homelessness. We have several clients planning to move into permanent housing in January, which would not be possible without your gifts.  Your continued support will be instrumental in expanding our reach, enhancing our programs, and driving even greater positive change in the lives of those we serve.

We express our deepest gratitude for your belief in our mission and your dedication to making a difference. COTS wishes you and your loved ones a safe and happy holiday season.

 

Until next time,

Sincerely,

Chris Cabral, CEO


“I rejoice every time some of our clients get housed”

– Nichole, COTS Care Manager

“This shelter helped me. This shelter showed me how to live.”

– James, A former  COTS Client, now permanently housed

“This was a really hard time in our lives, and it helped us out immensely, I couldn’t honestly be more grateful.”

– Brandy, A former COTS Client, now permanently housed with her husband and little girl


Your support will ensure that those experiencing homelessness in our community will have access to shelter, nutritious meals, physical and mental healthcare, and more. To learn about how COTS impacts those in our community read our Care Manager Nichole’s story of how she went from living on the street to helping others in need.

Above: COTS Care Manager Nichole talks during the Fall 2023 Investor’s Update about her experiences as a COTS client and Care Manager.



Rex's Story

Rex Robinette was eleven years old when his sister Laura was born in 1963. “We shared a special relationship,” Laura says, “because my mom allowed him to pick my name.”

The eldest of the family, Rex was a model older brother to Laura and their brother Gary. Rex took Laura to the zoo and the Cleveland Orchestra. “I have no negative memories of him. He was a positive, happy force,” Laura says.

 

One family photo shows him, a handsome, clean-cut teenager, with his hands protectively on Laura’s shoulders. In another, he stands proudly in his army uniform on the staircase of the family home in Cleveland, OH. On the advice of his father, a veteran himself, Rex joined the army before being drafted in the hopes of getting a better assignment. In 1971, he left Cleveland and his little sister for Vietnam. He was 18 years old.

For Rex and Laura, nothing was ever the same again.

 

During his leaves over the years, Rex described being yelled at and spit at by protesters or people walking by. He told the family that in training at Ft. Bragg, officers told soldiers that if anyone threw a baby at them, not to catch it because the baby could be tied with explosives. By the time he came back from the service in ‘74, Laura remembers him being glad to be home – at the time, he still seemed like the Rex she remembers.

But soon, he started sleeping a lot, growing his hair long. Slowly, Rex started to change.

Then one day, three years after returning home from Vietnam, Rex disappeared.

 

Through family networks, Laura’s parents discovered that Rex and his girlfriend had left for California. They were living in their car and selling blood to get by. Rex’s mother asked a friend to pass a message on: Call home. We love you. We’re not angry. We just want to know you’re ok.

But Rex never called.

 

For nearly forty years, the family only heard rumors about Rex’s whereabouts. Then, last December, Laura visited the graves of her parents with her grown son, Drew.

Drew can remember the day clearly. He was visiting family in Ohio for Christmas. Standing in the cold at his grandparents’ graves, Drew was overwhelmed with curiosity about his unknown uncle Rex. While Rex had left the family before Drew was born, he had grown up with stories about his mother’s beloved big brother. Drew felt that people don’t just fall off the face of the earth – something must have happened to him. In that moment, in the northeast Ohio cold, he decided to find Rex.

 

Drew didn’t have any information besides his uncle’s full name, but he started googling. By early February, he had found 16 or more phone numbers associated with Rex’s name and several addresses. Drew called every apartment building and followed a variety of leads. But he still hadn’t broached the subject of Rex with his mom. Finally, out of options, he asked Laura for Rex’s social security number and date of birth. He told his mom he would either find Rex or hire an investigator.

With the new information, Drew found Rex’s military record. He had earned a parachute badge and an expert infantryman badge. The record also showed that Rex had gone AWOL and was granted a general discharge – indicating that there was something that prevented Rex from performing his duties adequately. Drew suspects that he was told his unit was going to deploy, and he couldn’t bring himself to do it.

Drew says, “It’s almost funny to describe my search for him because I searched everywhere…I got frustrated to the point of tears.” He says that finding his uncle became an almost obsessive pursuit. “I felt like I needed to find him.”

Through the summer, Drew continued to make progress and hired a private investigator to help complete the search. He and Laura grew more hopeful of finding Rex.

 

On August 2nd, the report from the investigator arrived by email. Throughout the last six months, all the evidence indicated that Rex was still alive. But that day, the investigator’s report revealed that Rex had passed away that June – while Drew was actively searching for him.

Drew was devastated. Even though he knew it was unlikely, Drew had been envisioning some level of closure for the family.

 

Drew broke the news to his mom the next Sunday. She took it hard, and the glimmer of hope that she’d held on to for years was lost. But Laura knew that she could still bring Rex home, and possibly find out something about his life from his belongings. That day, they began planning to fly out to CA.

 

Robin Phoenix knew Rex well during his time here. He was served by several members of our case management team and was popular around COTS’ campus.

“He had a wicked sense of humor, a kindness buried deep within,” says Robin,
“and his smile was absolutely contagious… Even though his heart at times was broken, he was so stoic, he was literally liked by all residents and guests. Everyone knew Rex and was drawn to him for one good reason or another.”

Robin describes him as deeply wounded by his experience as a sniper in the service, with severe PTSD that left him with delusions and paranoia. “He cared about keeping our shelter clean and did without anyone asking him to do so,” says Robin. “The difficulty was his refusing to get the support he needed to process the horrors he faced during his time in the service.”

After a long shelter stay, Rex was finally able to move into Veterans housing at Benton Village thanks to his case management team at COTS. Once he was housed, Sarah Vetter, COTS’ Supportive Housing Staff Member, still checked in with him and helped him remain housed. “We worked on a lot of things,” Sarah says, “but mainly getting glasses, grocery shopping, picking up medications…and assisting him in understanding his cell phone. I took him to pay his rent every month as well.”

Despite his housing success, Rex continued to isolate himself when he was sad or feeling unwell. “I learned that if I brought my dog, Sugar, he would come out regardless,” says Sarah. “He loved her more than anything. He liked to take her to the dog park with me on the way back from grocery shopping. He would also get McDonald’s and of course, share it with her.”

 

Drew and Laura were able to fly out to Sonoma County and visit both COTS and Benton Village. They were able to speak with those who knew him in his final years and shared stories about Rex’s past that helped our staff understand him better, too.

In Rex’s apartment, Laura found his discharge papers among his possessions which helped Laura to understand what her brother had gone through during Vietnam. His after-visit summaries showed Rex suffered from delusions and paranoid psychosis – a diagnosis that was painful for Laura to read but showed her that he was no longer the young man she had known growing up. Drew and Laura also found plenty of books, and Laura reminisced about how Rex had always been a reader. During his teenage years, she said, “If he wasn’t at school, he was at the library.”

When Laura cleared out his closet, she sat among his belongings to try and feel his presence. Then she hugged his clothes to say goodbye.

During their visit, Laura was able to sign for Rex’s cremated remains. “I was able to allow him to leave the coroner’s office with dignity.”

During their childhoods, Laura and Rex shared memories together at a family property in West Virginia by the river. Laura and Drew spread his ashes there in October of this year, and the family hopes Rex is now at peace in a place he once called home.

With their long search now over, Drew and Laura expressed gratitude for people like Sarah, Robin, and Gaby Baum of Benton Village who were kind to Rex during the last three years of his life. Most of all, Drew hopes that anyone else reading this who might be looking for a lost family member takes this away: “You can find them. It’s possible.”


The COTS Collective: November 2023


Participate in our Holiday Match Challenge 2023!

 

This holiday season, COTS invites you to support our mission by participating in our 2023 Holiday Match Challenge! COTS believes in the power of collective action—we are excited to announce that a group of anonymous donors, along with Redwood Credit Union, have pledged to match all donations up to $115,000.

 

The COTS Holiday Match Challenge is not just a fundraiser, it is a movement towards ending homelessness right here in our own communities. Every donation you make this holiday season will be matched—doubling the impact of your contribution.

 

Your generosity provides direct relief to unsheltered community members and families in the form of temporary shelter, transitional housing, permanent housing, healthcare, mental health services, job readiness support, and many other supportive services. Together, we can be the driving force in improving the lives of individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Sonoma County.

 

We welcome you to join us in making this holiday season a beacon of hope for those who need it most.

 

From everyone here at COTS, we thank you for your commitment to creating positive change and wish you and your loved ones a happy and safe holiday season.

Until Next Time,

Sincerely,

Chris Cabral, CEO


Above: COTS Care Manager Nichole talks during the Fall 2023 Investor’s Update about her experiences as a COTS client and Care Manager.

Your support will ensure that those experiencing homelessness in our community will have access to shelter, nutritious meals, physical and mental healthcare, and more. To learn about how COTS impacts those in our community read our Care Manager Nichole’s story of how she went from living on the street to helping others in need.


Above: Girl Scouts from Troop 76  deliver  personal care packages  to Laure Reichek, former co-director of COTS, January 26, 1990.

For 35 years, the Sonoma County community has supported COTS through donations, drives, and more. We could not be more thankful for your continuous support as we increase our supportive services, expand our housing assistance options, and continue to help those in need until we become a community where everyone has a place to call home.

If you would like to DOUBLE your impact, donate today, and help us meet our Holiday Match Challenge of $115,000.