A homeless man is bedding down for the night in a doorway near a restaurant. By the entrance of a store, a homeless woman begs for food. Are you going to go inside or avoid the businesses?
Faced with those realities, Petaluma's Committee on the Shelterless is appealing to local business owners to take a larger role in providing financial support for its award-winning homeless services.
With the loss of government redevelopment funds, COTS has had to turn its funding model upside down — from two-thirds government grants to two-thirds private funding.
It's a momentous change from the way COTS has traditionally raised funds to finance its programs, which include emergency housing for families and children, homeless education, support and transitional housing, and food programs.
COTS representatives appealed to several hundred business owners, bankers, educators and community leaders Wednesday in Petaluma to reach a one-day fundraising goal of $1 million, three times what was pledged last year in COTS' annual breakfast program.