Affordable housing projects in San Rafael, Novato and Point Reyes Station will receive a total of $ 1.38 million in government grants following action by Marin County supervisors on Tuesday.
Half of the money, $ 689,000, comes from a state grant made possible by Senate Bill 2, which was part of a package of 15 bills approved in 2017 to address the shortage of affordable housing in the state.
The remainder comes from the County Affordable Housing Fund. The county was required to provide matching funds in order to qualify for the state grant money. After subtracting the $ 689,000 consideration, $ 10.7 million will remain in this fund.
Leelee Thomas, a county planning official, said the county could receive an additional $ 3.6 million in SB 2 money for similar projects over the next five years. However, Thomas said the funds are dependent on the Housing and Community Development Department’s approval of his new housing item.
To do so, the county must come up with viable plans to encourage the construction of 3,569 new residences in unincorporated areas by 2030.
Each of the three funded projects on Tuesday will receive an equal amount: approximately $ 459,000.
Two of the projects are being carried out by Homeward Bound of Marin, the nonprofit organization that provides county emergency housing to the homeless. Homeward Bound’s new Mill Street Center in San Rafael is one such project. The four-story structure will combine a 40-bed emergency shelter with 32 permanent supportive housing studios on the top two floors. The grant money will help cover construction costs.
“It’s pretty remarkable how fast it’s going up,” said Mary Kay Sweeney, executive director of Homeward Bound Marin. “We will have completed construction in August. “
The association raised about $ 18.5 million out of the $ 19 million project cost.
The other Homeward Bound project that will receive funding will be at the former Hamilton Air Force Base in Novato. It will include 24 one-bedroom, permanent supportive housing apartments for homeless veterans, 26 one-bedroom affordable workforce housing apartments and a skills training center.
“With this project, we are still going through the approval process,” said Paul Fordham, deputy director of Homeward Bound. “Until this is complete, we won’t have a final design, so we can’t clearly put a price tag on it.”
Fordham estimates the project will cost around $ 30 million. Homeward Bound raised about a third of that amount.
“We hope to start demolition before the end of 2022,” Fordham said. “Most likely, new construction will start in 2023.”
If all goes according to plan, he said, the project could be completed by the middle of 2024.
The third project, which will receive $ 459,000 in grants, will convert the former Coast Guard site at Point Reyes Station into affordable housing. The West Marin Community Land Trust Association and Eden Housing are the developers of the project. The site has 36 townhouses, a 24-room barracks, a dining room and a kitchen, as well as several annex buildings.
Before SB 2 state grant funds could be committed, the Marin County Priority Setting Committee had to approve a set of goals for their use and affirm that each funded project promoted at least one of the goals. these goals. The committee also oversees the distribution of federal housing grants.
The objectives were to create family housing, rental housing, owner-occupied housing or special needs housing. Aline Tanielian, a county planner, told supervisors there was a fifth goal: to support the development of land trusts, “especially those in eastern Marin which provide homeownership opportunities with a specific inclusion for African-American residents “.
The Golden Gate Village Residents’ Council in Marin City has said it wants the county to help it form a land trust and that it wants the Marin Housing Authority to own Golden Gate Village, a public housing project. of 300 apartments owned by the federal government. , to this confidence.
The county-wide priority setting committee consists of representatives from city councils, Supervisor Judy Arnold and several residents who qualify as “protected classes” under the Housing Act. fair.
“To achieve equity goals, the committee also requested that staff incorporate an affirmative marketing requirement for housing and prioritize projects that serve members of protected classes or that are run by members of protected classes.” , Tanielian said.
People are considered members of protected classes on the basis of their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability and whether they are the caregiver, pregnant or in the process of adoption.
During the public comment portion of the Board of Supervisors meeting, Clayton Smith said: democratic and egalitarian.
Eva Chrysanthe replied: “The idea that there were no protected classes at the time of the founding fathers is absurd at first glance. The protected class were the white gentlemen who wrote the Constitution and signed the Declaration of Independence.
Tamela Fish said, “I was also triggered by the phrase ‘protected class’. There is a past that we have to overcome and, if it means that we have to uplift one community to balance what we have previously protected in another, then we have to do it.