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Courtesy of Marin County

Marin County received $15,497,200 in funding from the State of California to support the creation of 43-50 permanent supportive homes for people experiencing chronic homelessness. The funds will support the acquisition, rehabilitation and operation of a former skilled nursing facility at 1251 South Eliseo Drive in Larkspur.

The site will be owned and operated by Episcopal Community Services (ECS), in partnership with Marin County. The property represents an opportunity to revitalize an underutilized parcel and serve vulnerable Marin residents experiencing homelessness through evidence-based interventions.

A Board of Supervisors hearing was held on Tuesday, February 15 to formally accept the grant and confirm the county’s commitment to matching funding.

“A project like this is an incredible opportunity to bring the most vulnerable into housing and provide the services they need to regain their health and well-being,” said Marin County Supervisor Katie Rice, whose district includes the town of Larkspur and surrounding unincorporated communities. of Kentfield and Greenbrae. “Working with our partners and the community as we move forward, I’m confident that 1251 South Eliseo will be a successful project for everyone involved.”

In 2020, the State of California launched an innovative new housing program called Project Homekey to protect Californians experiencing homelessness who are at high risk of severe illness and are impacted by COVID-19. To date, Homekey has created 6,029 new permanent housing units across the state and has housed more than 8,200 people. In Marin, the county received approximately $9.2 million in 2020 to help purchase 62 new supportive housing units in San Rafael and Corte Madera.

In early 2021, the state announced a second round of Homekey funding, through which a total of $1.4 billion would be made available to support Homekey projects across the state. In November, Marin County submitted the proposal for the South Eliseo site. On February 9, the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) notified the county that the site had been selected for funding. As funds are awarded on a rolling basis, HCD has not yet closed the competition or announced the full list of awarded projects.

The facility at 1251 South Eliseo will be operated by ECS as a 43-50 unit building for single adults experiencing chronic homelessness.

Permanent supportive housing, an evidence-based housing intervention that combines affordable housing solutions with wraparound support services, is a proven solution to chronic homelessness. These support services, including case management and mental health, educational and vocational services, help residents achieve housing stability and improve health outcomes.

“We are proud to partner with the county to provide a meaningful housing opportunity for those burdened with homelessness in Marin,” said Beth Stokes, Executive Director of ECS. “We look forward to welcoming new residents to the site and working with the community to make this project a success.”

In July 2021, Marin County selected ECS as the development sponsor for the Project Homekey 2.0 initiative. ECS has been providing essential services to homeless San Franciscans since 1983, using a holistic approach that addresses the complex causes leading to homelessness. Last year, they served over 13,000 people, guided by their mission to help homeless and very low-income people every day and night obtain housing, employment, shelter and services. essentials everyone needs to prevent and end homelessness.

Today, it is responsible for the operation of more than 1,700 housing units, and more than 98% of its residents keep their homes year after year. One of the cornerstones of ECS’s success has been its ability to build authentic relationships in the communities it serves.

“This program will address a critical need for safe, stable and permanent housing in Marin, and it’s a wonderful addition to the work we’ve done together to address homelessness and create a place where people can belong in the community. “said Mary Kay Sweeney, Executive Director of Homeward Bound of Marin. “We are delighted that it has been awarded and we look forward to seeing the residents move in.”

Since the selection of the South Eliseo site, the county and ECS have conducted community outreach activities with neighbors and other community stakeholders. This includes three community meetings, one school-focused meeting, and several meetings with other stakeholders including Kentfield School District, Safe Routes to Schools, Tam Union High School District, Marin Catholic High School, College of Marin, MarinHealth, Central Marin Police Authority, County of Marin Sheriff, Marin Community Clinics, California Highway Patrol, Kentfield Fire, and Central Marin Fire.

A community advisory group was recently formed, which includes seven residents of the immediate vicinity; two representatives from Larkspur City Council (Scot Candell and Catherine Way); Supervisor Katie Rice; county staff; ECS personnel; representatives from the Kentfield School District Board of Trustees, Safe Routes to Schools and the Central Marin Police Authority. At least one person with lived experience of homelessness will be added.

Learn more on the Marin County website about the Homekey property or project or email Marin HHS staff. Additional project information, including a list of frequently asked questions, is available at www.1251seliseo.com. The site also allows anyone interested to sign up for regular project updates.