Marin Organizing Committee (MOC) has for several years worked toward developing permanent housing solutions for unsheltered people. That goal was advanced Tuesday, as the Marin County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to accept a state "Project Homekey" grant and move forward with a site in an abandoned nursing home, creating permanent supportive housing for 43 people.
Hundreds of leaders from MOC member institutions signed and shared the petition in support of the project, wrote letters to the Board, and spoke at the Board meeting both in person and over Zoom. While the project faced significant opposition, MOC demonstrated to elected officials that MOC leaders support and believe in this project.
[In photo: Former nursing home to be converted into permanent, supportive housing. Credit: Shary LaVars, Marin Independent Journal]
Marin Voice: In Support of ‘Housing First,’ Supervisors Should Push for Larkspur Homekey Site, Marin Independent Journal [pdf]
With more than 100 new housing vouchers dedicated for the homeless coming to Marin from President Biden’s housing plan, city and county leaders are proposing to pool approximately $2 million to hire case managers to help get people off the streets, and fast.
Marin’s two largest cities have thrown their support behind the county effort. San Rafael and Novato city councils voted unanimously last week to contribute $260,000 and $240,000, respectively.
During its budget hearings set for June 21 through 23, the Marin County Board of Supervisors also will consider adding $1.2 million to the pot, said Matthew Hymel, county administrator.
Local jurisdictions are using an influx of federal aid from the American Rescue Plan to pay for the contributions. The county of Marin is receiving $50 million, while San Rafael is receiving a total of $16 million and Novato is getting approximately $9 million.
Pat Langley, a member of the Marin Organizing Committee activist group, said homeless people need more help.
“This is a blessing,” she said of the plan. “But without an adequate number of case managers to assure that rental units are located and people are transitioned into their new homes we would not be able to take advantage of this opportunity.”
Hening, whose part-time contract with the city ends June 30, is remaining in Marin to continue work with Opening Doors Marin as an independent consultant on homeless initiatives throughout the county. He was a full-time city employee from 2016 through May 2020. His final salary was $10,952 a month. He has been working on a part-time contract since June 2020, earning $150 an hour.
[Photo Credit: Sherry LaVars Marin Independent Journal]
Marin Could Pool Up to $2 Million for Homeless Initiative, Marin Independent Journal [pdf]
A total of 675 leaders from across California convened on Zoom June 3 in an effort to urge California Gov. Gavin Newsom to extend and expand Senate Bill 91.
SB91, which went into effect in January, was the follow-up to Assembly Bill 3088’s eviction moratorium. It also outlined a state rental assistance program, including changes such as prohibiting consideration of Covid-19 rental debt as a negative factor for prospective tenants.
But the bill is set to expire on June 30, and while talks have been ongoing about extending it, few details have been released to the public. This prompted the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), a network of faith and community-based organizations, to hold the June 3 meeting.
On Tuesday, California IAF released an additional statement further urging Newsom and state legislators to extend the moratorium without a preemption. Local COPA leader Mayra Bernabe said they have heard rumors of a 60-day extension that includes a preemption barring local governments from acting to extend their own moratoriums.
“If the extension is any shorter than 6 months, we want to be sure it gives local governments the flexibility to enact additional protective measures,” Bernabe said.
COPA leaders met Tuesday night to send emails and do phone banking to state representatives. Bernabe said they also wanted to put pressure on the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors to also consider a local extension, which other counties and cities have already done.
“We already have a big homelessness crisis in Santa Cruz County,” she said. “If this is not extended longer … we can expect a wave, a tsunami of homelessness. There are many out there who are on the brink, or will be evicted soon. We’re trying to get in front of this and prevent it.”
Bernabe added that thousands of households in the county are currently behind on their rent. Many did pay rent, but had to borrow money, take out loans and max out their credit cards—and that’s not even considering the upcoming months.
At the June 3 meeting Carolyn Winston, an IAF leader and member of St. Brigid Catholic Church in Los Angeles, urged people to contact their legislators before the June 15 budget deadline.
“The window is closing, but we have an opportunity to take action to impact legislative decisions,” Winston said. “Our actions influence their decision-making. Together we can effect change.”
Hundreds of Advocates Urge Gov. Newsom to Expand SB91, Good Times [pdf]
Hundreds of Advocates Urge Gov. Newsom to Expand SB91, The Pajaronian [pdf]
With Assistance Lagging, State Must Extend Rental Eviction Moratorium, Santa Cruz Sentinel [pdf]