Oma Village Opens

Wednesday October 19 was a gloriously sunny fall afternoon. A perfect backdrop to mark the occasion of the official opening of a new affordable housing community: Oma Village in Novato. Homeward Bound’s Executive Director Mary Kay Sweeney and Deputy Executive Director Paul Fordham were joined by local politicians and community supporters to celebrate the momentous event, enjoying live music, and delicious treats made by students of Homeward Bound’s Fresh Starts Culinary Academy.

Homeward Bound broke ground at Oma Village in 2014 after demolishing a dilapidated former drug and alcohol recovery center that occupied the site. Two years of construction at Oma Village have produced a model for the future of affordable housing in Marin – 14 small, low-density, green homes built as an infill development on a formerly blighted lot, close to transportation, schools and amenities. In addition to shared gardens, a playground, and space for an after-school homework club, the community is eco-friendly and embodies modern design.

Residents of Oma Village will be families that have succeeded in other Homeward Bound programs, with parents working or completing job-training programs in the local area. With monthly rents set at a fixed, affordable rate, Oma Village families will have the opportunity to work their way out of homelessness through employment while saving money that eventually can allow them to transition to independent housing. Supportive services will include on-site tutoring for children along with family enrichment activities.

“Oma Village will change the lives of the first 14 families to move in, and then scores upon scores of others to follow,” said Dr. Thomas Peters, President & CEO of MCF.  “These parents and children will now have a stable home in a community that they will build together, and the opportunity to shape their own futures with independence and self-sufficiency.” The MCF Loan Fund provided $1.2 million in funding for the acquisition of the property and construction of the housing.