For Immediate ReleaseAugust 17, 2023
County prioritizing human services, environmental protection, rules enforcement
San Rafael, CA – To assist people with finding a permanent housing destination, the Marin County Board of Supervisors will hear an update on services provided to date and new actions to reduce the size of a large vehicle encampment along a County-maintained road just north of the Novato city limits. The topic of the Binford Road encampment will be part of the Board’s regular August 22 meeting at the Marin County Civic Center.
The County of Marin recently secured $1.6 million in state grant funding over three years to resolve the Binford Road encampment through enhanced outreach, housing-based case management, and other direct support to homeless individuals. The County is also required to match funding support with vouchers for housing and to assist individuals to stabilize into affordable housing units, including security deposits, first and last month’s rent, or other housing-related costs.
At the August 22 meeting, the Board will hear from representatives of the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Marin County Sheriff’s Office, as well as other stakeholders including the Department of Public Works (DPW) and Marin Community Development Agency (CDA). These departments have been working to expand services and supports through a collaborative effort to connect residents over time to permanent supportive housing, coupled with enhanced enforcement of regulations to reduce the environmental impacts of the encampment.
Enhanced enforcement efforts will initially prioritize abandoned or excess vehicles and property or possessions in the right-of-way, and those that present a risk to the environment or public.
As part of the new strategy, abandoned or excess vehicles will be removed after providing registered owners with a 30-day pre-notice period, followed by a 15-day action notice. Personal property stored in the public right of way will be removed after the notice period and stored for up to 90 days to allow for individuals to claim their items.
Several County departments will also coordinate protection of the environment along Binford Road, which runs beside San Francisco Bay wetlands. The County will increase efforts to support appropriate and healthy disposal of trash and waste prior to the wet weather season, when control of such discharges is more difficult.
Binford Road is on a narrow strip of land between Highway 101 and the Rush Creek Open Space Preserve. The reconstruction of Binford Road has been on Public Works’ capital improvement project list for several years. Design and engineering are underway with improvements scheduled to begin in 2025, including requirements along the east side of Binford Road to install sediment control to filter road runoff for protection of the sensitive habitat of the Rush Creek Preserve and slough.
The encampment, located along one mile of the road, has grown since the COVID-19 pandemic from a dozen or so recreational vehicles (RVs) parking for varying lengths of time to a shared community for approximately 80-90 individuals in over 100 vehicles.
“Our goal in addressing the encampment is to help individuals attain permanent supportive housing and providing key supports and services,” said Benita McLarin, Director of Marin County Health and Human Services. “This requires a coordinated, compassionate and service-oriented response across county departments, and this funding and corresponding plan are a critical next step.”
Progress will be reported monthly on the Health and Human Services’ Homelessness In Marin dashboard.
The August 22nd Board meeting begins at 9 a.m. The Board chamber is in Suite 330 of the Marin County Civic Center, 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael. Viewers may participate in-person or via videoconferencing. Meetings are webcast live on the County’s website and archived for future viewing. The meetings are also recorded and aired by the Community Media Center of Marin (CMCM) on its government channel. Comcast subscribers can view CMCM on Channel 27.
All public meetings and events sponsored or conducted by the County of Marin are held at accessible sites. For disability accommodations, please phone (415) 473-7331 (voice), CA Relay 711, or e-mail email@example.com at least five business days in advance of the event. The County will do its best to fulfill requests received with less than five business days’ notice. Copies of documents are available in alternative formats, upon request.
Gary Naja-RieseDirector, Division of Homelessness & Whole Person CareHealth and Human Services
1777 Francisco Blvd E.San Rafael, CA 94901(415) 473-6265Email: Gary Naja-RieseMarin HHS website