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Canal Alliance and Marin Housing Leaders Convene for Summit at Dominican University of California 

September 21, 2023

Organizations gathering at Dominican University of California to talk about solutions for Marin’s worsening housing crisis.

Organizations from across Marin gathered on September 14 at Dominican University of California to work together to find solutions for Marin’s worsening housing crisis. At the event, Building Bridges for Marin Housing Solutions, a partnership of organizations spoke with one voice, calling for coalition-building, innovative collaborations, and unity across Marin jurisdictions to protect, preserve, and produce housing for Marin’s most vulnerable communities. The hosting organizations – Canal Alliance, Community Action Marin, Dominican University of California, North Marin Community Services, Legal Aid of Marin – also emphasized the need for Marin’s 12 jurisdictions to work together and set up countywide services and programs that local jurisdictions could opt into, rather than having to set up programs on their own. 

The event convened a panel of housing leaders from across the Bay Area, representing different sectors with impact in the housing space: public sector, nonprofit, private developers, philanthropy and academia. They included Alex Schafran, author, consultant and Archie Williams graduate (‘92); Somaya Abdelgany, Preservation Program Coordinator, Bay Area Housing Finance Authority (BAHFA); Leah Simon-Weisberg, Legal Director, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) Institute; Kim Pipkin, Executive Director, Black Developers Forum, and Planning Commissioner, San Anselmo; and Ricardo Huerta Niño, Senior Initiative Officer, Great Communities Collaborative., San Francisco Foundation. The event was moderated by Jenny Silva of the Marin Environmental Housing Collaborative, with opening remarks by Dominican University of California President Nicola Pitchford and closing remarks by Johnathan Logan from the Marin Community Foundation. 

The overarching message from the panelists was this: “Marin, you can do it, we can help.” Expert speakers highlighted the immense potential of Marin County to become a housing leader, despite its history. They also focused on abundant resources available to county housing leaders, especially if they work together.  

“I would like to thank everyone at Dominican who put us forward as the host at this event. As one of Marin’s most valuable and sustained and multifaceted organizations, Canal Alliance [is amazing] and we’re so honored to partner with [them],” said Pitchford.

“Marin has so much potential to become a leader in housing and doing so is the only way we will meet this crisis head on,” said Alex Schafran. “Especially with support from regional organizations like those on this panel, we can step up to protect renters, house the unhoused, provide new pathways to homeownership in the county, and protect aging homeowners who are house rich but cash poor. And we can do all of this without destroying the natural environment that Marinites value so much and have worked so hard to protect.” 

The panel concluded with closing remarks from Janathan Logan from the Marin Community Foundation. “Today feels different because of the folks that are in this room, we have homeless advocates, developers and this is very much different than what we’ve seen before. Folks from our community have stepped up. Omar [Carrera] wasn’t always in housing, given the need and the severity of the crisis, [he] has stepped up and leaned into this,” said Logan before thanking everyone for gathering, listening and collaborating on what to do about the housing crisis in Marin County.

The event was organized by Marin’s leading social services organizations – Canal Alliance, Legal aid of Marin, Community Action of Marin, North Marin Community Services – in collaboration with the Marin Environmental Housing Collaborative and Dominican University of California. It was co-sponsored by the following organizations: 

For those who missed the event you can Watch it here!

For those who missed the event you can listen to a podcast recording of the event here.

Read more posts in: Canal, Blog

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