Sausalito could place a homeless person in a given residence

Sausalito could use a house bequeathed to the city to house a homeless person through the county’s housing voucher program.

Councilwoman Jill Hoffman said at the council meeting on Tuesday that the proposal offered a creative opportunity to lift someone out of homelessness while remaining in the spirit of the legacy of the home’s former owner, Dorothy Gibson.

After his death, Gibson donated the one-bedroom, one-bathroom, 1,200-square-foot home at 429 1/2 Johnson St. to the city to provide low-to-moderate income housing for employees. full-time municipal officials, including police and firefighters.

City council members asked Hoffman to gather more information about the condition of the building, the cost of the renovation, and a timeline for housing potential applicants. She said she plans to come back with more information in March.

The building was zoned for at least two residences and an additional accessory apartment, Hoffman said. She proposed that at least one of the residences be used as a pilot scheme for someone in transitional housing using the Marin Housing Authority’s voucher scheme. This person would also be in an employment program with the city.

The Marin Housing Authority’s voucher program pays market rate rent and includes other support services. Typically, a family would pay about 30% of their monthly income for rent, and the county would pay the rest directly to the landlord.

First, Hoffman said, the house needs to be remodeled to bring it up to code. She said she hoped to complete this work with “least expense, least time”.

She plans to recruit nonprofits for donations of time and materials and said the city may be eligible for a grant of up to $40,000 for construction costs. She noted that there would be no need to consider the Planning Commission if the renovations were confined to the interior of the house to support two separate apartments.

The city building inspector visited the property and noted in a preliminary assessment that the roof, electrical system, attic/mezzanine, exterior stairs, garage door, appliances and plumbing could all require repairs.

Hoffman said she moved the project forward because a report on the condition of the house recommended her removal. A report from city staff said the city received a home inspection report dated April 13, 2021 from Golden Gate Home Inspections.

Council members Susan Cleveland-Knowles and Melissa Blaustein, selected to explore how to use the giveaway, said they were unfamiliar with the document that made the recommendation. They said they believe the issue has stagnated since reporting their findings to council in March 2020.

“It’s really surprising and out of the blue,” Cleveland-Knowles said.

“I felt like we had to move on,” Hoffman replied. “I felt like it had to come to fruition.”

Blaustein also said the city should seek input from neighbors.

“Is there a way to contact them and reach a consensus? I just want to make sure the neighbors have a chance,” she said.

A public comment emailed from Gibson’s estate trustee, Heidi Snowden, said the polished proposal was “in keeping with the spirit of her wishes.”

She added that she hoped a plaque could be added at the bottom of the stairs on Excelsior Lane and at the start of the driveway on Johnson Street to commemorate her contribution.

Council had previously indicated the property could be used to house vulnerable people, but said more work was needed to assess the city’s needs, the trust’s requirements and what Gibson would have wanted.

The city has not determined how it will choose who will live there. Officials have considered a lottery, a contest, a ranking system, or granting discretion to the city manager. If a lottery is the method, the city has proposed reevaluating the income cap each year to check if the resident is still eligible.

City Attorney Mary Wagner said Gibson’s bequest stipulates that it must be used for one or more full-time employees. She said if the city doesn’t use it for that purpose, the bequest could be transferred to the next beneficiary, the Golden Gate Council of American Youth Hostels Inc.

Gibson, a Sausalito resident since 1954, was an author and social worker. She died in 2019 at the age of 95.

Source link