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North Bay Business Journal

Wednesday, June 20, 2012, 5:20 pm

Homeward Bound plans affordable Novato community

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    NOVATO – Homeward Bound of Marin, the Novato-based provider of shelter and services for homeless individuals and families in Marin County, announced today that it will develop a cluster of small homes for low-income working families on a three-quarter-acre parcel in Southern Novato.

    The organization purchased the property, at 5394 Nave Drive, from Henry Ohlhoff House Programs, which chose to shut down a 30-bed residential substance abuse rehabilitation program at the site in 2005 due to economic constraints.

    Homeward Bound received a number of donations to finance the $790,000 purchase: $300,000 from the Marin Community Foundation, $250,000 from the County of Marin, $85,000 from the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael and a number of “substantial private donations,” according to the organization.

    The group plans to build 12 to 14 two-bedroom homes on the site, along with potential for communal play and community areas in a development known as “Oma Village.” Homeward Bound said that it is finalizing plans with a developer to guide construction, which could begin this year and culminate in 2014.

    “This proposal will create opportunities for low-income working families as they transition out of homelessness,” said Mary Kay Sweeny, executive director of Homeward Bound, in the release.

    The organization plans a $3 million development costs, and will launch a fundraising campaign in the coming months. Using a similar financial blueprint as was implemented in the construction of Novato’s $9.3 million Next Key Center in 2008, Homeward Bound plans to raise all construction funds in advance. Further operating costs will be sustained by rental fees.

    Homeward Bound was founded through a single shelter in 1974, and has since grown to operate 14 programs providing a total of 445 beds per night. Those programs range from emergency shelter to long-term supportive housing.

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