The Casa Buena (Formerly Project Homekey)
The County of Marin has approved the purchase of the motel formerly known as the America’s Best Value Inn (1591 Casa Buena Drive) with grant funding through Project Homekey and other County housing program funds for the purpose of providing 18 units of permanent supportive housing for individuals experiencing homelessness. While this was not a Town project, and the Town did not have jurisdiction over the sale of the privately owned property, Town staff continues to facilitate public discussions related to Project Homekey and the transfer of ownership of the Homekey project at 1591 Casa Buena Drive.
What is Homekey?
Building on the success of Project Roomkey, Homekey is the next phase in the state’s response to protecting Californians experiencing homelessness who are at high risk for serious illness and are impacted by COVID-19. Administered by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), $600 million in grant funding has been made available to local public entities, including cities, counties, or other local public entities, including housing authorities or federally recognized tribal governments within California to purchase and rehabilitate housing, including hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings, and other buildings and convert them into interim or permanent, long-term housing.
On October 9, 2020, Governor Newsom announced that Marin County received grant funding through Homekey. As part of the County’s motel program transition plan, the County is in negotiations to purchase three properties which could provide interim housing in the short term and transition to permanent supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness as early as 2021.
Background on the Corte Madera Homekey Project
The Marin County Board of Supervisors first heard this item at their Board of Supervisor’s meeting on October 20th, and voted to adopt a resolution issuing a notice of intent to purchase the motel site at 1591 Casa Buena Drive. County staff brought this item back to the Board of Supervisors at their November 10th meeting for consideration of the proposed purchase and sale agreement, with an escrow closure date of November 18, 2020. The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the agreement and recognized the need to work with the Town of Corte Madera and its residents, through a recently established working group to develop a strategic plan for what success looks like for the Town of Corte Madera. View the Meeting agenda for the November 10, 2020 meeting (see item 8), Staff Report, Attachments. Guidelines for how to participate in future Board of Supervisors meetings can be found here. As more information regarding the County of Marin's Project Homekey program becomes available it can be found on the County's website here .
At its Monday, November 2nd Corte Madera Town Council meeting, Town Councilmembers and staff, with input from many Corte Madera community members, outlined a framework of necessary conditions and actions that would be prerequisites to the County of Marin’s proposal to successfully develop an interim and permanent supportive housing project for homeless individuals at the proposed site. Following that meeting, the draft framework was presented to County representatives to evaluate community input and address our collective concerns.
A joint news release from the County of Marin Health and Human Services and the Town of Corte Madera was published on Friday, November 6th. The news release outlined the framework of collaboration and action that the Town and the County have agreed upon, and also includes a fact sheet that defines the phases in which the property would be converted to housing for people experiencing homelessness.
Creation of Working Group:
Recognizing the immediate need to create a working group to engage in future discussion and carefully monitor the progress of this project, the Town invited members of our community, residents and business owners, to apply to be part of this working group comprised of County representatives, Catholic Charities, and Town officials and staff charged with:
- Providing ongoing, direct information and communication to Town residents as additional project details become available;
- Provide a forum for our community to raise issues directly to appropriate government officials;
- Collectively work toward actionable solutions to issues and concerns raised;
- Ensure transparency and accountability throughout project inception and transitional periods;
- Set and monitor measurable goals and objectives for individuals, the Town, and the County to assess whether the project is successfully achieving policy objectives over time and whether program changes are necessary;
- Evaluate all options and work towards an acceptable agreement with all parties in the weeks to come.
On November 18th, 2020, Town Officials interviewed a collection of Corte Madera residents who had expressed interest in participating in the Project Home Key Working Group. Corte Madera Town leaders selected five Corte Madera residents to join the working group to facilitate thoughtful conversations about Project Homekey and the upcoming transition of ownership.
The interview panel selected the following community members for appointment to the Project Homekey Working Group: Glen Barras, Scott Garland, Leila Mongan, Barbara Snyder, and Jim Lavine who will serve as an alternate.
More About the Working Group
The Town created a Working Group to engage in ongoing discussions and provide feedback and support to this project. The Working Group will be comprised of a member from the Marin County Supervisor’s, county staff, town staff, a town councilmember, a group of selected Corte Madera residents and staff from Catholic Charities (the organization who will manage the initial phase of the project).
Town Officials interviewed a collection of Corte Madera residents who had expressed interest in participating in the Working Group. The interview panel selected the following community members for appointment to the Project Homekey Working Group: Glen Barras, Scott Garland, Leila Mongan, Barbara Snyder, and Jim Lavine who will serve as an alternate.
The Town introduces our resident members as follows:
Glen Barras has called Marin home for 35 years and has owned a home in Corte Madera for the last 20 years with his wife, Aileen McGoldrick, including the last ten years in the Meadowsweet area. Their two kids, Spencer and Gabby, both attend Redwood High School. Glen has been active in the community by way of coaching (Twin Cities Little League, CYO, Hall Middle School Basketball and Redwood Mountain Bike Team) and has donated time at Bread & Roses, currently serves on Redwood High Racial Justice Task Force and other local organizations in the community. Glen spent his youth growing up in Idaho and made his way out here for college at UC Davis.
Scott is a former biotech executive and currently sits on several biotech and non-profit boards. He and his wife Kate have lived in the Chapman Park neighborhood of Corte Madera since 2005 and have three boys. Scott is originally from Southern California but after college made the wise choice to move to the Bay Area.
Leila is a mom of a fourth-grader and a kindergartener who attend Neil Cummins Elementary School. A former lawyer, she is originally from the Seattle area. Leila and her husband Mike, a Marin native, have lived in Madera Gardens since 2010.
Jim Lavine (alternate)
Jim and his family have lived in the Meadowsweet neighborhood since 2013. He and his wife have a son who is currently a college freshman. Jim is a technology executive, originally from the East Coast, but a California resident for over 25 years, and a Marin resident since 2004.
Other Important Information Related to the Homekey Project
Written Public Comment Received to Date (This is a PDF of all written comments received via email merged into one document)
Professional Service Agreement between the County of Marin and Catholic Charities
Prior public meetings and information regarding the proposal can be viewed here:
- November 21, 2020 Community Meeting hosted by Supervisor Dennis Rodoni: Video
- November 2nd Town Council meeting: Agenda / Public Notice / Video
- October 27th Community Chat with Supervisor Rodoni: Video / Responses From Supervisor Rodoni to questions asked via Zoom Chat
- October 19th Community Meeting: Video
- October 6th Presentation to Town Council: Video
News articles on Project Homekey:
- November 30, 2020: CalMatters.org: Can Gavin Newsom use the pandemic to beat back homelessness?
- November 6, 2020: Marin Voice: Corte Madera hotel-to-housing concerns could have been avoided
- November 5, 2020: Corte Madera seeks leverage on county homeless project
- October 20, 2020: Corte Madera residents vent over hotel-to-housing plan