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COTS: Offering Hope and Help to Homeless Persons in Sonoma County, California

Helping others learn to help themselves is a theme that I have long supported and striven to live by. Earlier this year, I learned about an organization in Sonoma County, California that beautifully epitomizes this way of living. They're called COTS - short for Committee on the Shelterless - and for the past two decades, they have made it their mission to provide hope and help to homeless persons in Sonoma County.

My wife, Margaret, used to work at a government-funded shelter in Toronto several years ago, and I learned from her experiences that some shelters do not devote time and energy to encouraging people to take more responsibility for their own behavior and lives. I feel that COTS is unique and special in this regard, as their program is all about encouraging personal stability, calmness, and self-sufficiency.

Here are a few statistics that highlight what COTS does in a typical year:

  • Provides emergency shelter and housing to about 1,000 children and adults
  • Gives licensed childcare to almost 200 children
  • Provides about 100,000 meals
  • Delivers almost 500,000 pounds of food to needy seniors and families

At the core of their family programs is a program called Residential Parenting Education, which focuses on putting children’s welfare first.

The purpose of this post is to increase public awareness of COTS and other similar programs that are in place throughout the world. Such programs wouldn't be possible without donations of time, talents, and monetary support, so if your life circumstances are such that you can make a contribution of any type to COTS or a similar program in your area, I encourage you to enjoy all of the intangible benefits of doing so.

I first learned about COTS from my friend, Deborah Boyar. Deborah and two of her colleagues, Patricia Meadows, and Lee Wylie, recently established a trauma resolution clinic at COTS that aims to help their guests experience much needed healing and restoration of balance in their lives.

To learn more about COTS, please feel free to visit their web site here:

To learn more about my friend, Deborah, and her wide range of good works, please feel free to visit her web site here:

Deborah Boyar


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