Our Programs for Homeless Families

Providing shelter, housing and support for homeless families in Marin.

Families who need services can call our shelter team at 415-457-2115.

a dad and his son standing the kitchen cutting vegetables.

Shelter and supportive housing

Our shelter provides services to address the trauma experienced by homeless families and open paths to housing. This program is the only emergency shelter for homeless families in Marin County.

Along with the shelter, Homeward Bound of Marin operates eight supportive housing programs for families that extend services while parents and children stabilize, set goals and create a sustainable future.

a mom and daughter sit on a bed reading from a storybook

Brandy's story

In her daughter’s early years, Brandy moved regularly between friends and relatives. Mostly they made a home with her grandmother, who had raised 13 of her own children. “She loved me, comforted me, fed me and gave me a home. I didn’t really learn things you need to be an adult,” Brandy says.

Her eyes turned to the future at Fresh Starts Culinary Academy, which connected her with our family services team. She found employment in our kitchen but the birth of her son left Brandy scrambling to fulfill work hours.

“My kids have a home.”

Support from our staff helped Brandy secure a housing voucher to subsidize rent, giving her stability as she plans a return to the workforce. For now, Brandy is grateful to focus on the wellbeing of her family.

“Without Homeward Bound, I would still be in struggle, going day to day. Now I have rent that I know I can pay,” she adds.

Brandy and her family sitting on a slide in the courtyard at Oma Village

Our services for homeless families

Services and resources include counseling, parenting workshops, children’s activities, and help with finding child care, accessing health care, pursuing educational goals or job training, and securing long-term housing.

Assessing the needs of homeless families

An integrated system for assessing and serving homeless families countywide began in November 2017, with our staff acting as the first point of contact for families who need help.

a family with an infant sit on chairs. the baby stares at the camera.

Family Center - Shelter services

The Family Center provides shelter for nine families at a shared home in San Rafael. This building has served families since 1974 and also hosted our first administrative offices.

Due to high demand for services, we maintain a waiting list of families needing help who can be referred to rooms in Family Center as they become available.

Family Center operates as a “housing-focused shelter,” with all residents expected to engage in developing plans for stable housing.

430 Mission Ave., San Rafael, CA 94901

Exterior of Family Center housing

Supportive housing for families

A dire lack of affordable housing options has prompted Homeward Bound of Marin to develop supportive housing programs for families. Parents and children continue to receive case management services like help to access benefits, job training, child care or other community resources.

Along with building properties like Oma Village and the Next Key Apartments, Homeward Bound partners with affordable housing property managers like Eden Housing. Their team takes responsibility for leasing and maintenance, while Homeward Bound has responsibility for all supportive services for families.

Housing options for families

Exterior of two story fireside apartments

Fireside Apartments - Mill Valley

Ten homes at this site developed by Eden Housing.

Oma Village apartment building with courtyard and workers preparing for the opening

Oma Village - Novato

Fourteen apartments opened in 2017.

Exterior of Next Key apartments

Next Key Apartments - Novato

Four apartments opened in 2008.

Independent housing for families

We offer independent housing for families using the federal Housing Choice Voucher program. Homeward Bound partners with landlords to lease apartments around Marin. These apartments become homes for parents and children who can transition out of homelessness using a housing voucher to pay the majority of their rent. The Family Place, Families First and Nuestra Casa programs are home to 28 families, who continue to receive support from our staff as needed.

A mom stands behind her son next to a staircase

Cecilia's story

When her apartment developed black mold, Cecilia had to move out but found nothing affordable to someone working in a winery tasting room. As her savings ran low, she connected with Homeward Bound and our Fresh Starts Culinary Academy.

“I didn’t want to live like a gypsy in a caravan,” she says. After her Fresh Starts graduation, however, she faced a cancer diagnosis and treatment that made a culinary job impossible. Support from our staff helped her transition with her teenage son to our Oma Village housing program and she found work at a local insurance agency.

Cecilia soon became the top seller in her office. Her son Arnie, meanwhile, began studies at College of Marin.

The family ended their four-year stay at Oma Village when Cecilia purchased a condo in Florida to be near her sister.

“Homeward Bound was a light in the dark for me and Oma Village was a blessing.”

Cecilia and her son stand with their arms around each other