(May 20, 2019) Few homelessness and affordable housing service providers command as much respect among HomeAid Northern California leaders as the highly effective Homeward Bound of Marin. And the affordable housing projects built as a result of the nonprofits’ joint efforts offers ample evidence to support their mutual admiration..
The first is a 32-unit studio apartment complex at Homeward Bound’s Next Key Center in Novato, which also features a top-notch training kitchen for the Fresh Starts Culinary Academy and an on-site venue with catering. Its residents may enroll in the academy or other job training and education programs. The second is the renowned Oma Village, a ground-breaking eco-friendly permanent affordable housing complex with 14 fully furnished apartments designed especially for families. In addition, the campus features gardens, laundry, playground and space for an after-school homework club.
Between the two projects, HomeAid with Centex, Richmond American Homes, The New Home Company and the builders’ numerous sub-contractors constructed 42,562 sq. ft. of facilities that serve 348 people and contributed $1.8 million in time and materials toward the projects valued at $5.3 million. At Oma Village, which opened in December 2016, HomeAid’s contributions helped Homeward Bound complete the project with very little debt, which means the provider can charge lower rents.
Not only did HomeAid and its industry partners save the projects considerable money, they shared their considerable expertise on countless critical tasks such as negotiating with materials suppliers, writing construction contracts and managing the bidding process, said Homeward Bound Deputy Executive Director Paul Fordham.
Second, the building industry representatives knew who, where and when to ask its members for donations. This knowledge led to contributions of higher-end products such as flooring, fixtures and finishes than what the project budget would have otherwise allowed, Fordham said.
“Without HomeAid, these projects would have cost more, taken longer and we would not have had this level of high quality construction for our residents,” Fordham said.
The strong relationship forged between Homeward Bound and The New Home Company during the Oma Village construction also inspired the homebuilder to participate in a service day at the provider’s homeless families shelter. The builder brought 45 employees who rebuilt the shelter’s backyard with a new patio, updated landscaping and performed numerous repairs.
Anyone who doubts the impact HomeAid and its partners make every day as a result of their gifts to Homeward Bound need only read the following poem penned by an 8-year-old Oma Village resident and written inside a big heart labeled “OMA” ...
Home is where the heart lives,
Home is where we grow,
And if you wonder if you’re loved —
Home is where you know.
For more information, contact HomeAid Northern California Executive Director Cheryl O’Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org.