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Homelessness and Housing: December 2023 Update

Posted on December 15, 2023

Camping Ordinance Update

The City of San Rafael continues to work under a Federal District Court order on the implementation of its camping ordinance passed in July 2023.  On October 19th , the Court issued a preliminary injunction order that provided modified spacing rules allowing up to four individuals to camp together, in a 400 square foot area (100 sq. ft./person) while maintaining a minimum distance of 100 feet from other campsites. It is the goal of the City to implement this directive in a trauma informed, empathic, and human centered manner.  

To implement its camping ordinance, the City Manager issued administrative orders that alter conditions on the Mahon Creek Path and Lindaro Street. On Lindaro, camping is now strictly prohibited to protect the adjacent creek. On Mahon Creek Path no new campers will be permitted to camp. In addition, the City consulted with local service providers (St. Vincent de Paul Society of Marin, Ritter Center, Downtown Streets Team, Homeward Bound of Marin, and Community Action Marin) as well as the Marin County Lived Experience Advisory Board to ensure their expertise and experience informed the City’s implementation approach. Under this approach, the Homeless Union will be responsible for coordinating and registering which individuals will move to which campsites. The City has preliminarily identified enough campsites in the vicinity to accommodate all the current individuals camping there.  

The City’s efforts during this transition are geared toward complying with the court order in a cooperative fashion. The City will be providing a variety of incentives to facilitate voluntary compliance, including providing gift cards and new tents, as well as additional porta-potties and hand washing stations.  The City anticipates having everyone moved into their new campsites by the end of January. Enforcement of no-camping restrictions during this process will only be used as a last resort. You can read more about this implementation plan here. 

How can you help? 

The best way to assist people experiencing homelessness in Marin is to donate or volunteer directly through social service agencies and community groups working with our community. 

  • Homeward Bound Marin – In addition to being Marin’s primary emergency shelter provider, Homeward Bound also operates 353 units of supportive housing units, provides medical respite care, and provides job training opportunities. 
  • St Vincent de Paul Marin – In Marin since 1946, St. Vincent’s does much more than just provide 200,000 warm meals every year at its Free Dining Room on B Street. 
  • Downtown Streets Team – Downtown Streets Team is a work experience program that provides volunteer opportunities for men and women experiencing homelessness. 
  • Ritter Center – The Ritter Center is Marin’s primary healthcare provider for people experiencing homelessness. 
  • Adopt A Family Marin – Adopt A Family of Marin works to prevent homelessness and provide stability for Marin families in need. 



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