Everyone Needs a Place to Call Home

By Giving List Staff   |   November 18, 2022
Andrew S. rents an apartment in Novato as part of a permanent supportive housing program provided by Homeward Bound of Marin. He is one of 54 veterans served last year by the agency, which has set its sights on ending veteran homelessness in Marin County.

Serving in the U.S. Army, Andrew learned to persevere through adversity. He later spent years living outdoors in a tiny shelter in the hills above Fairfax. Life grew harder as he suffered seizures, debilitating migraines, vision problems, and memory issues.

“I lived outside for so long, I didn’t know how to get it together,” Andrew says. But then he found Homeward Bound of Marin, a nonprofit that aims to end homelessness across Marin County.

After a 20-year military career, Joyce became a live-in care provider for an elderly couple until they sold their home and moved. Left without resources, she turned to Homeward Bound of Marin, where specialized services for veterans helped her back on her feet and into an apartment of her own.

Founded with backing from Marin County’s interfaith community in 1974, Homeward Bound of Marin began with one family shelter that housed four families. Today it operates five shelter programs and 16 supportive housing programs that served 886 people (adults, families, seniors, and veterans) in the 2021-22 year.

Mary Kay Sweeney, the nonprofit’s co-CEO, says Homeward Bound is reaching for a goal called ‘functional zero.’ She describes it as “that point when someone falls into homelessness… It’s unusual, it’s brief, and it’s solvable.”

Veterans like Andrew make up seven percent of the adults served last year by Homeward Bound. Its programs offer counseling, case management, transportation, credit repair, and connections to services like health care. Homeward Bound provides the county’s only year-round shelter for families, programs for people with persistent mental health challenges, and job training at Fresh Starts Culinary Academy.

At New Beginnings Center, an 80-bed shelter for adults, a partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, designates 12 beds for veterans and provides an onsite VA representative to assist with specialized housing support and benefits.

This month, they will break ground on their newest project: a 24-unit veterans housing community adjoining Homeward Bound’s main campus in Novato.

“What we’re trying to do as a community is work on subpopulations of people – the chronically homeless, the veterans, the families, transitional age youth,” Sweeney says. By collaborating with community partners to target different needs, she adds, “…we’ll eventually get to nobody homeless.”

Andrew now is settled into a cozy home in Novato. “It’s very quiet here,” he says. “And that’s exactly what I needed. It fits. It’s perfect… I have connection. This is a home.”


Homeward Bound of Marin

Donate now!

(415) 382-3363 x216
Development Director: Corry Kanzenberg


Our mission of “opening doors to safety, dignity, hope and independence” is coupled with a vision that “everyone deserves a place to call home.” Founded with a single family shelter in 1974, Homeward Bound has evolved to become a leading force in ending homelessness in Marin County. Services include counseling, job training, and workshops on parenting, credit repair, money management and other life skills. Fresh Starts Culinary Academy forms the heart of our training program and ties closely to our social enterprise ventures.

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We know you care about where your money goes and how it is used. Connect with this organization’s leadership in order to begin to build this important relationship. Your email will be sent directly to this organization’s Director of Development and/or Executive Director.

My mom worked three jobs and we often counted on food banks. I always worked in restaurants since I was a teenager. Even when my husband and I had our own business, it helped stretch the budget with our kids. When the wildfires happened, everything shut down – my job disappeared. It was my chance to go to Fresh Starts Culinary Academy at Homeward Bound, which I knew about but I never had the time. Even though I had a lot of experience, there was so much that I gained. It was life-changing for me.
Janin Harmon
Executive Chef at Mary Isaak Center
and 2018 graduate of Fresh Starts Culinary Academy

Help Open Homes for Heroes

Building new apartments for 24 unhoused veterans in Novato is the latest campaign by Homeward Bound of Marin in its quest to end homelessness in Marin County.

That goal has never been more urgent, with the National Library of Medicine noting the average lifespan of an unhoused person is 17.5 years shorter than that of the general population. 

“It just got to be real hard,” says Andrew, a veteran who received help from the organization. “If Homeward Bound wasn’t there, I probably wouldn’t be here anymore.” 

With a gift of $1,860, you can provide a month of accommodation and support for a veteran, senior, or other individual facing the crisis of homelessness. 

Your gift of $25,000 helps complete the new housing for veterans, with naming rights for one of 24 apartments scheduled to open in 2024. 

Your gift of $1,000,000 includes the exclusive opportunity to name the veterans building.

Key Supporters

BioMarin Pharmaceutical
Built for Zero
Catalyst Kitchens
Chef John Ash
Chef Heidi Krahling
Chef Joanne Weir
County of Marin
Disabled American Veterans
Charitable Service Trust
Dominican Sisters of San Rafael
Sammy Hagar
Harbor Point Charitable Foundation
The Hellman Foundation
The Jacques Pépin Foundation
Marin Charitable
Marin Community Foundation
Peter E. Haas Jr. Family Fund
Tamalpais Pacific
Valley Oak Wealth Management