Families move in!

Great news! Families have begun moving into Oma Village, a community of 14 small rental homes in Novato. Developed and managed by Homeward Bound, these green, affordable apartments offer children’s services, including a homework club, a room for tutoring, and activities for families in the community building. Fixed, affordable rents will allow families to build savings as their careers advance, ultimately making the move to market-rate housing and freeing up these units for the next family on their way  into self-sufficiency.


Victory Village Needs Your Support AGAIN! Affordable housing for seniors at risk!

Victory Village is a 54-unit affordable senior housing project currently being considered by the Fairfax Planning Commission and Town Council. The Marin Environmental Housing Collaborative (MEHC) strongly supports the Lutheran Church’s proposal for the use of two acres of their 20-acre parcel for environmentally friendly affordable housing for seniors. There is strong and misguided opposition from a small but vocal group. Believe it or not, even this benign, low-impact project to be entirely contained within the already-developed footprint of the Lutheran Congregation, needs your backing to get to approval.

The Planning Commission and Town Council have preliminarily adopted an improvement to its zoning ordinance, enabling Planned Development District proposals like Victory Village to be reviewed and evaluated as a whole package, rather than separately considering each component of the proposal in a long, drawn-out process, as has been done in the past. MEHC supports this more complete, understandable, and TRANSPARENT approach to reviewing development proposals.

The Town Council will make a final decision on the ordinance on March 1st. Please attend and speak at the hearing at 7 pm on Wednesday March 1 at the Women’s Club, 46 Park Rd., Fairfax. Or email a support letter to the Town planner, Linda Neal, at lneal@townoffairfax.org.  Even better, do both.

Reality check:  If this amendment to the zoning ordinance is not approved, it is quite likely that Victory Village will not go forward. If you would like to connect with others advocating for this project’s ultimate approval, click here to email the local grassroots team.


Transitional housing approved for Lourdes Convent; Neighbors appeal to prevent it

The San Rafael Zoning Administrator has granted permission to the Dominican Sisters – in partnership with Homeward Bound, Marin’s primary provider of comprehensive services to homeless families – to remodel the interior of a hallway at Our Lady of Lourdes Convent on the Dominican University, and create a small housing unit to be shared by two women and their small children. There is to be no exterior remodeling or additional square footage. This exciting proposal will help these small families get established and ultimately find permanent housing, in furtherance of the convent’s social justice mission. 

Neighbors have appealed the Zoning Administrator’s approval. The San Rafael Planning Commission is tentatively scheduled to hear the appeal on March 14.  MEHC believes that the impact of this new housing unit on the surrounding community will be negligible, and will urge the Commission to deny the appeal. Homeward Bound, which will select and supervise the families who will move there, has a sound track record, and will assure that the new tenants will be sober, committed to a recovery plan and working toward economic self-sufficiency.  We are thankful to the Dominican Sisters for their foresight and compassion, and could not ask for a better opportunity for two families to escape the circumstances that brought them into homelessness! 

MEHC encourages San Rafael residents who support Lourdes to attend the Commission meeting on March 14, 7pm in San Rafael City Council chambers, and voice their support. Please contact us if you live in the Dominican area and would like to coordinate with our support efforts.


In case you missed this…

Trump blocks Federal Housing Administration plan to cut mortgage insurance fees

On Inauguration Day, as its first official act, the Trump administration suspended a mortgage insurance fee cut on mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration. Typically, these fees are paid by prospective homeowners who cannot fully cover the standard 20% down payment required to qualify for a conventional loan.  The Obama administration had moved to reduce this fee because it would help first-time and lower-income borrowers, a decision supported by mortgage lenders, builders and real estate agents. The National Association of Realtors said the Administration’s reversal could keep as many as 40,000 would-be homebuyers out of the market this year.

We will update our subscribers from time to time with news from Washington D.C. that may affect our goals of environmentally-friendly affordable housing.