FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HomeAid Foundation of Northern California Commits to build The Next Key
April 3, 2005 - Friday was a million-dollar day for Homeward Bound of Marin. After two years of talks with HomeAid America's Northern California Chapter, it announced that Centex Homes has agreed to act as the builder captain for Homeward Bound's The Next Key project. This is a landmark achievement because it is HomeAid's first project in Marin County.
HomeAid's commitment to provide labor and materials savings brings the total funds raised for the project to over three million dollars. HomeAid has committed to build 16 of the 32 studio units, as well as provide some of the site work for the remainder of the project.
"As a builder in Marin, we wholeheartedly support Homeward Bound's goal of providing housing to Marin residents who need assistance while they engage in income enhancing training programs," said John Ochsner, division president of Centex Homes. "The Next Key project is innovative and inspirational - we're very excited to have the opportunity to be part of this project."
HomeAid is a leader among organizations addressing transitional housing on a national basis. The organization's game plan is simple: realizing that the homebuilding industry's strength is building, not operating programs, the foundation selects a community-care provider and project to work on; recruits a builder captain to spearhead the project; secures trade partners to provide in-kind labor, materials, and services; builds or renovates a shelter or transitional housing and then turns it over to the care provider, which maintains the facility and offers the life- and job-skills training programs many shelter residents need to become self-sufficient.
In addition to the studios, The Next Key will triple the size of Homeward Bound's Fresh Starts Culinary Academy training kitchen to accommodate 35 students, offer expanded job training opportunities and apprenticeships, include space for the Homeward Bound administrative offices, a demonstration kitchen, and 150-seat classroom offering culinary classes to the community, which will also be available for public rental.
The new center will work toward becoming operationally self sustaining through expanded Homeward Bound social enterprise ventures, including Fresh Starts Catering services, rental of conference space, celebrity chef cooking classes for the public, and development of Homeward Bound's own specialty food products. All of these businesses also offer employment/training opportunities for formerly homeless Homeward Bound residents.
"Having HomeAid on board is a significant turning point for The Next Key project," exclaimed Mary Kay Sweeney, Homeward Bound's executive director. "With their support, we've gained the momentum and leveraging to raise the remaining $3 million of the $6 million needed to complete the project. We're grateful to the Marin Community Foundation for connecting us with HomeAid and for their commitment to this project and affordable housing in general. With HomeAid, Centex and the Marin Community Foundation as supporters, we look forward to gaining the same kind of community support we enjoyed for New Beginnings Center."
The Marin Community Foundation has contributed $250,000 to this effort. "We are so proud to once again partner with Homeward Bound, both by providing support to its The Next Key project and by helping bring HomeAid on board," said Thomas Peters, president and CEO of the foundation. "This effort will build on the wonderful success Homeward Bound has had with its New Beginnings shelter by enabling even more people to thrive."
HomeAid chapters nationwide partner with service providers to build or renovate transitional housing for the temporarily homeless. They also serve as a liaison between local homeless service organizations and residential builders. To date, HomeAid has completed 101 shelter projects with another 36 in development, totaling more than 2,400 shelter beds nationally.
Launched by the Building Industry Association of Orange County in 1989 under the auspices of the Building Industry Association of Southern California, HomeAid is designed to allow homebuilders to give back to their communities by doing what they do best - build - while helping address the growing problem of homelessness.
"HomeAid has worked in California and it's working across the country because builders don't just build homes, they build communities. They are making a life-saving difference," says Michael Lennon, the CEO and president of HomeAid America and one of its founding members. "The building industry is not only incredibly generous, they also have a vision and commitment to helping others. It's an incredible gift," Lennon says.
HomeAid Northern California, sponsored by the HBA of Northern California, has donated nearly $2 million to help build and renovate residences for transitionally homeless men, women, and children.
For more information on The Next Key project, please call Leslie Lauren, Development Director of Homeward Bound at 415-455-5681.