Bridging Hope and Housing: Marin's Step towards Affordable Living, Next to San Quentin

Bridging Hope and Housing: Marin's Step towards Affordable Living, Next to San Quentin

Marin County has come together to support a plan to construct approximately 250 new homes for public school employees and county workers in a promising move for affordable housing initiatives. These homes will be situated on an 8.5-acre site adjacent to the well-known San Quentin State Prison. The project, set to open in the winter of 2025, underscores the community's commitment to addressing the need for affordable living spaces.

A Collaborative Effort

The Marin County Board of Supervisors' approval has paved the way for a joint power authority (JPA) between the county and the Marin County Office of Education. Spearheaded by renowned affordable housing developers Eden Housing and Education Housing Partners, this Marin-based Thompson/Dorfman Company initiative aims to provide community-driven solutions. Education Housing Partners' experience aiding Bay Area school districts with workforce housing on surplus land highlights their commitment to such endeavors.

Diverse Housing Solutions

Education Housing Partners plans to offer 135 low- to moderate-cost rental housing units, allocating 75% of these units to local public school employees and 25% to county employees. In parallel, Eden Housing intends to develop and rent 115 units for lower-income families. Named Oak Hill Apartments, this development will be conveniently located between the Larkspur Ferry Terminal and the western entrance of San Quentin State Prison, near Sir Francis Drake Boulevard.

Repurposing Space for Change

Repurposing state-owned surplus properties for affordable housing isn't a novel concept. Thanks to a 2019 executive order from Governor Gavin Newsom, the conversion of a former gun range into a comprehensive, affordable housing project is an example. Oak Hill's strategic positioning offers affordable living options and convenient access to transportation hubs, bus routes, bike trails, grocery stores, and shops.

Addressing Housing Challenges

The pressing need for affordable housing is evident in Marin County. With nearly 43% of Marin school staff unable to afford a studio apartment within the county, this housing project plays a significant role. It aligns with Marin County Superintendent of Schools John Carroll's vision to confront the housing crisis and enable essential workers to live closer to their workplaces, reducing long commutes.

A Unified Approach to Progress

The collaborative formation of the joint powers authority between the Marin County Office of Education and the County of Marin signals a collective commitment. Their aim to create 135 new homes for public school and county employees, catering to income levels ranging from 50% to 120% of the area's median income, reflects their balanced approach. With support from the Marin County Board of Supervisors and the Marin County Board of Education, this development has the potential to reshape affordable housing in Marin.

A Step Towards Positive Change

Marin County's endorsement of the Oak Hill Apartments project near San Quentin State Prison reflects its dedication to progress and inclusivity. Through thoughtful planning, collaboration, and a shared vision to address the housing crisis, Marin County presents an example for communities seeking affordable living solutions for their workforce. As developers work toward securing funding for the anticipated groundbreaking in early 2025, Oak Hill Apartments offers hope for accessible housing and positive change while also acknowledging the complex considerations involved.

PHOTO: A rendering of Oak Hill Apartments, which is proposed to be built on state land near San Quentin Prison. (Source: Eden & Education Housing Partners)

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