County of Marin - News Releases - Workshop on Homelessness

For Immediate Release
October 12, 2018

Homelessness is Next Board Workshop Topic

Supervisors to devote October 23 meeting to important humanitarian issue

San Rafael, CA – Many positive steps have been taken in recent years to reduce homelessness in Marin County, and more initiatives are planned to continue the progress that has been made. The Marin County Board of Supervisors is devoting a public workshop to the topic in its commitment to engage residents in solution-oriented approaches to the most complicated and concerning issues facing communities in Marin.

The Marin County Board of Supervisors chamber was packed with people during an information workshop about homelessness in April 2017.The Marin County Board of Supervisors chamber was packed with people during an information workshop about homelessness in April 2017.
The workshop is set for 9 a.m. Tuesday, October 23, in the Board chamber of the Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael. The session will be led by County staff and will include input from other stakeholders and community partners. Residents are invited to attend and participate at the end of the workshop when a panel of presenters will provide answers to public questions. Those who can’t attend are encouraged to watch the live telecast or webcast or view the archived video later (details below).

“Communities all over the state and across the nation are facing this human tragedy,” said Damon Connolly, President of the Board of Supervisors. “We want to share the efforts we are making to get people off the streets and into stable housing. Addressing these difficult issues is not a one-size-fits-all approach. We are tackling this from many angles and will continue to do so. We want to hear from people in our communities who have personal stories to tell.”

For years, the Board has prioritized topics and initiatives that address “the Four E’s” – Economy, Education, Environment, and Equity. Homelessness touches all four of them. The County has adopted the viewpoint that housing the most vulnerable people leads to a better of quality of life and health for everyone.

In its State of the County 2018, County staff emphasized the Housing First approach to homelessness, a philosophy that prioritizes placing people in housing without requirement of factors such as employment and sobriety. As proven in other communities, Housing First participants are more likely to have improved health outcomes and stay housed, employed and sober. The County is collaborating with other municipalities and agencies to ensure that Marin’s homeless system of care uses a Housing First approach.

Discussing homelessness inevitably leads to a discussion of the need to increase housing. Marin is one of the nation’s most expensive places to live and has about 85 percent of its land designated as open space or agricultural. The County is working on preservation of existing affordable housing, including some for people who have been homeless.

The workshop goal is to explore the current landscape of Marin’s homelessness, services being provided, and why we are focusing our efforts on Housing First. Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services, will introduce the issue and invite staff to touch on highlights of the County’s efforts. Representatives from Homeward Bound of Marin, the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Marin, the City of San Rafael, and the Ritter Center are scheduled to participate as well.

Earlier this year, the Board brought in experts and heard public comments during sessions on social equity and racial disparity, sustainability, and the workforce and economy.

The workshop will take place in the Board chamber, Suite 330, of the Marin County Civic Center at 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael. It will be webcast live through the County’s website and be televised live on Comcast Channel 27 for Comcast and AT&T subscribers. If you miss it, you can watch replay on TV or view the archived webcast any time after October 23.

All public meetings and events sponsored or conducted by the County of Marin are held at accessible sites. If you are a person with a disability and require information or materials in alternative formats – or if you require accommodation to participate in a county program, service or activity – please contact department staff at (415) 473-7331 or (415) 473-4381 (voice/TTY) or e-mail


Ashley Hart McIntyre
Homelessness Policy Analyst
Department of Health and Human Services

1776 E. Francisco Blvd.
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-3501
Email: Ashley Hart McIntyre
Marin HHS website