Founded in 1974, Homeward Bound of Marin has 46 years of experience supporting people in the crisis of homelessness. This year, however, brought unprecedented needs as the COVID-19 virus upended everyone’s lives.
Since the start of the pandemic, Homeward Bound has maintained its shelter and supportive housing programs while stretching to serve motel shelters established for people with urgent need for somewhere to “shelter in place.”
A $10,000 grant from the Giving Marin Community Partnership in early 2020 enabled Homeward Bound to extend extra help to families and individuals hit hard by loss of jobs and child care, delivering more than 100 grocery boxes monthly for residents in supportive housing and boosting meals prepared for shelters to help people stay safely on site.
As part of the state’s Great Plates Delivered program, its kitchen also has delivered more than 5,000 meals to vulnerable seniors in the community.
Many virus response efforts also involve the County of Marin and other community agencies, building on intensive coordination that helped cut chronic homelessness in our community by 28% from 2017 to 2019.
Despite the pandemic, Homeward Bound continues to open paths to stable housing. Since March, 31 families and 81 single adults have left the organization’s programs for a housing opportunity.
Adapting programs and rising to new opportunities have been hallmarks at Homeward Bound of Marin, which operates the county’s only year-round emergency shelter programs for families and individuals confronted by homelessness. Its array of 16 programs also offers supportive housing for more than 200 people, providing space to rebuild their lives while living more independently. Many of these units are available to people who pay 30% of their income for rent, a critical resource in hyper-expensive Marin County.
Homeward Bound aims to expand that resource by rebuilding the Mill Street Center, an emergency shelter for adults that opened in 1986. This project launched last week with demolition of the building to make way for an efficient new shelter and 32 small apartments for people who struggle most to gain stability.
Along with shelter and housing, Homeward Bound operates social enterprise businesses to employ graduates of its Fresh Starts Culinary Academy. The pandemic hit hard for The Key Room event venue and its celebrity chef dinners, which have pivoted to a Virtual Happy Hour format.
Giving thanks seems to carry extra weight this year as our community considers the essential mix of health, family and the shelter of home. To help Homeward Bound provide better futures for people experiencing homelessness, visit hbofm.org.
- Photos courtesy of Homeward Bound