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Posted on Jun 18, 2016 in Homeless | 0 comments

Homeless Update: Spotswood Gets it Wrong

Homeless Update: Spotswood Gets it Wrong

A few items about the homeless this week.

Dick Spotswood Gets it Wrong

Dick Spotswood wrote a column in the Marin IJ this week stating that the multi-service center proposal for Mark Drive was a done deal. He said both Ritter and the REST program had signed off to move, and that 40 women are be located at the new Center, 20 from REST and 20 from Homeward Bound’s Mill Street shelter. This is premature. He spoke with the Mayor who was most likely floating his own ideas rather than agreed upon decisions.

The proposal is alive and well and still under negotiation, but it has not been agreed to. 

Multi-Service Center Plan at 67 Mark Drive

We have stated that our goals for the multi-service center on Mark Drive are to include:

  • Ritter Center services, including shower and laundry services for on-site shelter residents. If services aren’t provided, they will still travel downtown and to the Wellness Center in the Canal for assistance.
  • St. Vincent’s to have a role in providing meals to shelter residents and other on-site services.
  • Include the REST program to bring the 60 people dropped on the street May 1 inside to provide consistency to their lives, and access to on-site services to move them into employment and housing.
  • Incorporate other agencies and services as applicable.
  • Get a commitment from the County to establish more shelter and housing in other parts of Marin to spread out the impact of the homeless population.
  • Create a transportation option for clients to easily travel to downtown.

REST: Are they the “elite homeless”?

The San Rafael email group likes to call REST participants the “elite homeless”, as if to suggest they don’t have a right to be in a shelter. The REST program has been very successful and this dismissive characterization is pure politics. How about we focus on the people who need a place to sleep at night. They aren’t elite in any sense of the word. How can you be homeless and be elite?

Elite means “a select part of a group that is superior to the rest in terms of ability or qualities”. The truth is the bar for being accepted in the REST program is far lower than Homeward Bound’s Mill Street permanent shelter. All residents must show up with the social skills necessary to sleep in a shelter space that day. If they aren’t, such as if they are drunk when the bus comes, they are not allowed in the shelter that night.

Characterizations such as this are counter-productive and designed to incite. The homeless need housing. Period. We all deserve a safe place to sleep.

Hiring Downtown Streets Team for Yard Cleanup

I contacted Logan McDonnell, Project Manager at DST to request three Team members come to my house to help me clear my yard. We did this two years ago and it worked very well. It took the four of us 3 hours to clear the weeds. Nelson, Tom and Griff (pictured at top of blog, Nelson below) arrived on time, were easy to work with and worked hard. One of them had been living in the REST shelter until May 1, and I asked him where he was sleeping now. He said he sleeps outside at a local church that provides a safe space for four men. He is waiting to hear about a landscaping job in Santa Rosa. The other two men are from the area. This was a great experience and always a learning experience to spend time with people who have so much less than most of us.


Sorry to subscribers that we promoted more Homeless Community Discussions with Andrew Hening. A technical glitch sent out an email from June. We’ll let you know when he schedules more.

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