Editor's Note: Last night, I received a note from a resident who lives in Lucas Valley Homeowner's Association, wishing me to confirm or deny a rumor that the recent construction on Jeanette Prandi Way will be for a new homeless shelter. This follows the revelation earlier in the week that Marin County Supervisor, who lives miles away from our district, thinks that homeless shelters in Lucas Valley is an idea worth considering.
Sure enough, there is a movement a foot to relocate the homeless services to the county areas by Mayor Phillips and homeless advocates. One suggested that a city of garden sheds be erected in Rotary field that could serve as shelter and storage for the homeless. He cited garden sheds from home depot would cost as little as $1000 and kitchen and bathroom facilities could be at central facility.
He is right. This would cost much less for county than the $450,000 plus for each affordable housing unit now under construction. It would eliminate Mayor Phillips political problem outside of the city limits.
Of course, few people know that hundreds of homeless people may be camping in Rotary Field. Because Marinwood-Lucas Valley is largely politically unorganized we may well be the latest victim to Steve Kinsey and the Supervisor's social engineering.
And don't get me started about the secret approval of the Civic Center to bring 400 dump trucks down Lucas Valley Road in the next several months. George Lucas is moving at least 4000 cubic yards from his property at Big Rock Ridge. Of course, no one in the valley noticed this either unless you looked at a bulletin board posted in Nicasio.
Oh, the supervisors are having fun playing God.
From Marin IJ in November 2014
The Organizing Committee wants to find a permanent home for the program so the shelter can operate 365 days a year. It is seeking pledges from all 11 of the county's municipalities to help foot the cost. The Organizing Committee has estimated a year-round program with a permanent home would cost $1.25 million per year. It is seeking contributions from municipalities to cover 20 percent of that cost.
The Organizing Committee hopes the county of Marin will account for 40 percent of the cost, the Marin Community Foundation and other private donations for another 20 percent, and local congregations for the final 20 percent, mostly through in kind contributions. So far, only the town of Fairfax has made a firm commitment of $16,392 per year.
One major hurdle, however, is to find an appropriate location for such a shelter. Currently, the bulk of the county's homeless services are based in San Rafael, and some business owners and residents are unhappy with the status quo.
In December, San Rafael Mayor Gary Phillips and Larry Meredith, director of the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services, pledged to work together to try to create a new, year-round emergency shelter for the homeless.
But Phillips said he made it clear during an October meeting with Marin Community Foundation CEO Thomas Peters, Supervisor Steve Kinsey and Supervisor-elect Damon Connolly that the shelter must be a responsibility shared by the entire county.
"I'm willing to consider housing a third of the people in San Rafael, but I also want a third of the people housed in the county and also a third in another city in Marin County," Phillips said. "We're willing to do more than we have thus far, but I need to see some additional help from various other cities. Just writing a check is easy, finding a location is not quite so easy."
Parnell said, "Given the difficulties we've been experiencing finding an appropriate site for one, it is hard to imagine it would be easier to find three sites, and it ignores the exponential increase in cost for the staffing of three separate sites."
On Monday, the San Rafael City Council will receive a progress report on a "quality of life" initiative aimed at reducing homelessness that it launched in 2012. Listed among the initiative's key accomplishments are: guiding 16 people into treatment programs, finding permanent employment for 32 homeless individuals as street cleaners, removal of 212 homeless encampments and the issuance of more than 320 citations to the homeless. The program was estimated to cost $1 million.
"We're pretty much eliminating all of the homeless encampments," Phillips said. "We were having a fire virtually every other day caused by the encampments. For the last 60 days we've had no such fires."
Phillips has said in the past that consideration was being given to moving St. Vincent de Paul and Ritter Center, which provide services to the homeless, out of San Rafael's downtown area.
Cia Byrnes, Ritter Center's interim director, said her organization's lease at 16 Ritter St. expires in December 2015 and its lease at 12 Ritter St. ends May 2016. She said she has discussed with the Organizing Committee the possibility of moving Ritter House into a new permanent shelter, if a location can be found.
In the meantime, REST continues with business as usual on Saturday with the Lucas Valley Community Church playing host to homeless men.
"No matter how tired I am at the end of the week when I participate in serving these men I'm completely energized by the end of the night," said George Rothbart, a member of the congregation who has participated in REST since it started.
"It's very restorative to be able to serve the men," Rothbart said, "to affirm their dignity, to acknowledge who they are, to remind them they are precious in the sight of God."