Category Archives: News & Events

Summer Scoop August 20, 2017!

To all the folks who helped with the Neighborhood Association ice cream social,

Here’s a big thank you and a “Well Done” to each of you who volunteered to contribute to the success of our “social.”.  Special thanks go to the folks who worked the entire time: Noemie von Kaenel and Lauren Ferrell, 2nd year students at DU, who helped with the setup and then assisted Jeff Cardneau at the serving table until the closing time; and Sara Sonnet and daughter Isabel for once again being the tried and true mainstays at our face-painting table, creating marvelous art on the children’s faces. And Doug Lee for always looking for things that needed doing.

Our best count is approximately 125 attendees with some 40+ being students and staff of Dominican University plus parents of arriving students.  Thanks to San Rafael Police Chief Bishop and Fire Chief Gray, the police were in attendance until called away on patrol as was the fire engine and crew until called away.

So, to everyone who helped on our “social,” we want you to know how much we, the Board, appreciate your support.

Board members Jay Hubert, Marty Wickenheiser, Robert Levine, Jeff Cardneau, Bonnie Marks and Edie Dagley

And I would like to again express my great appreciation to the Ice Cream Social Committee—Board members Jay, Jeff, Joan, Bob, and Marty– who made all this happen so well and who always stepped up to do far more than what was required.  We have a wonderful team of folks on our Board.

 

Jack Nixon,

Pres. DBCNA

chasing balloons

Dominican Chills at the Summer Scoop 2016

The Dominican Neighborhood Summer Scoop was a resounding success with over 10 gallons and about 186 scoops of ice cream served. While mint chip was the most popular ice cream, the root beer floats proved to be a big hit. The event was chaired by Dominican Black Canyon Neighborhood Association Board member Arline Van Gessel. Lots of details, well managed, led to a successful afternoon for all. A selection of photos below, but there are more on our Facebook page!

The ice cream, supplied by Silbermanns in Northgate arrived at Meadlowlands lawn at -10 degrees, which provided a challenge early on for our master scoopers, Gina and Paul Podwojksi and Zohraa Rehman. Kudos to the team for their two hours of scooping! And congratulations to the six raffle winners of $10 gift certificates to Silbermanns.

IMG_0528

Face painting specialists Debbie Ward, Sara Sonnet and her two daughters, Penelope and Isabelle all contributed to one of the most popular events at the Scoop.

IMG_0508

 

IMG_0501

IMG_0554

IMG_0565

 

Dennis deMille, Vice President of the Board managed the amazing Hurricane bubble machines and the fantastic 50s music! Jack Nixon, Board President and fellow Board member John Matulich manned the membership table to welcome and encourage neighbors to join the neighborhood association.

We had the pleasure of a visit from San Rafael Police Department Corporal Ronda Reese and our newest SRPD Officer, Sandra Felix. Officer Christian Diaz, of the K9 unit brought Faro with him, who was a big hit with both neighbors and the kids.

IMG_0515

IMG_0497

Also attending were Vice Mayor Kate Colin, City Council members Andrew McCullough and Maribeth Bushey. Supervisor Damon Connolly rode his bike from Terra Linda to get something cold to drink! Hanna Rodriguez-Farrar (far left in photo below) from Dominican University joined us and we thank her and the University for their generous offering of this fantastic venue.

IMG_0518

 

Neighbors just had a good time talking and eating!

IMG_0522

IMG_0535

IMG_0524

IMG_0577

 

 

Thank you all for coming!

 

Downtown Streets Team

Downtown Streets Team Cleans Up in Dominican

In response to a neighbor request, the Downtown Streets Team came over and cleaned the overpass/bike path students walk every day.

And a shout out to the Department of Public Works, who cleared the fenced area across from Coleman Elementary School. The homeless used to break into this fenced area and camp. After repairing the fence about three times, Kate Colin, Vice Mayor of San Rafael, got Cal Trans (their property) and DPW on board to erect a taller, stronger fence and clear the area of shrubs and weeds to make it less desirable. That worked! Now it is all cleared!

Thank you Downtown Streets Team!!

Clean overpass

overpass_3

overpass_2

overpass_1

Wildfire Evacuation Resources and Links

Listed below are links to resources and handouts from the Wildfire Evacuation: What You Need to Know event. If you want to have this presentation for your neighborhood group, HOA, Church group, please contact Paula Doubleday at paula.double@gmail.com

There were a lot of questions about San Rafael Vegetation Management. Currently this is handled by Dave Heida at david.heida@cityofsanrafael.org or you can call the main number at Station 51: 415 485-3307 with questions, requesting an inspection or concerns about neighbor’s vegetation. The overview of the fire regulations, which apply to you if you live in the WUI (Wildland Urban Interface), is item 8 below.

You can listen to the event on Penguin Radio. You might want to try to follow along with the presentation (item 1 below). Listen here.

1. Wildfire Evacuation presentation in PDF format

2. CalFire Ready Set Go Video (6 min)

3. AlertMarin.org – register all cell phones in your family

4. Grab and Go Checklist

5. Red Cross Emergency Contact Card

6. Ten-in-Ten Form

7. Evacuation Plan Checklist from ReadyMarin.org

8. San Rafael Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Map (though it is hard to see where you live–use Address Link below)

9. San Rafael WUI List by Address (easier to find your home)

10. San Rafael Vegetation Management Program Compliance Guidelines

11. Cal Fire Ready for Wildfire – Great site and you can download brochures and information

12. General Preparedness including Ready Pets, Ready Kids, and Ready Seniors: ReadyMarin.org

13. Community Wildfire Protection Plan – sign up for Public Meetings in Marin in October

 

 

 

Join NextDoor.com

Whether it is for emergency communication or crime alerts, we need a way to communicate to the Dominican neighborhood. What better way than a private Dominican area social media site? That is NextDoor.com!

NextDoor.com is a social media site designed for neighborhood communications. Based in SF, this site provides a Facebook-like interface to post comments, events, crime alerts, and even classified ads to be viewed by our neighbors. Not anyone can get access to our site–to join you have to verify your address is within the boundaries established for the neighborhood. You can do this by giving them your cell phone number. Verification takes seconds.

You can also get access to the Dominican NextDoor site by being invited. So once you get in, invite your neighbors!

dominican optionWhen you are in the site, you will see in the left hand column an option to view and post in Dominican and in Nearby Neighborhoods. If you want to ONLY communicate to our neighborhood, just click Dominican and all your posts will go there. It is easy.

I Don’t Want Any More Emails

So you don’t want more email notifications when people comment on your posts?

1. There is a drop down menu under your name in the top right corner. Choose Settings.

2.In Settings, click on the email tab.

3. There is a chart (see below) that includes the option of Dominican or Nearby Neighborhoods and all the  categories such Crime & Safety, Lost and Found, etc. You can choose to receive immediate notifications, a daily digest email, or no notifications.

4. We suggest that you leave the alert ON for Crime & Safety.

Additionally in Settings is a Mobile Alerts tab. This is where you can put your mobile phone in for immediate urgent alerts which would be about crime & safety issues. We suggest you do this as well.

settings

Go Check it Out

Go visit NextDoor.com and browse through the information, frequently asked questions, and view the video tour. If you want an invitation for access, just send us an email at info@dominicanareanews.com.

Drive Safely Dominican

You should be receiving your Traffic newsletter over the next week. If you did not receive a newsletter by Sunday October 5, send us an email and we’ll get one to you. You can also download a pdf of the newsletter here.

drive25-window-stickerWhen a speeding car killed a resident’s cat on Dominican Drive, it led a group of concerned neighbors to form a Traffic Committee to discuss the issues. Our goal is to raise awareness about our driving habits, consciously slow down and stop at stop signs. This is something that we, as a community, can change if we want. Please participate by putting a sticker on your car window and a lawn sign in your yard. If you need a sticker for a second car or are willing to put up a sign, send an email to info@dominicanareanews.com.

Traffic Committee Issues

Here is an overview of the issues identified by the traffic committee:

  • Excessive speeding on Dominican Dr., Mountain View Ave, Grand Ave, Belle Ave., Villa Ave., Rafael Dr. and Locust Ave.
  • People run stop signs at Sienna at Mt. View, Mt. View at Grand, Grand at Villa, Irwin and Belle.
  • It is dangerous walking down Mountain View because there are no sidewalks on the last few blocks near Grand Avenue. This is a big and dangerous problem for children walking or biking to school, and for famlies with children in strollers.
  • Speeding on Belle Ave near Coleman after dropping kids off in morning or before picking them up.
  • Parking in neighborhood without respect for blocking driveways while picking up kids at Coleman.
  • Driving around pedestrians in crosswalks.
  • Service vehicles speeding (FedEx, gardeners, etc.)

The committee also brainstormed some solutions/requests for change. An abbreviated list is below:

  • Extend the red curb on Dominican Drive at the first curve above Sienna, to prevent cars from parking where they block views of oncoming traffic
  • Install speed bumps on Mt. View
  • Add signage on road to reduce speeding
  • Add painted “ladders” to crosswalks
  • Install stop sign at Linden Lane/Mt. View
  • Make Grand Ave/Villa Ave a three-way stop sign
  • Develop a community outreach plan to get neighbors to comply with traffic code
  • Communicate to Coleman parents via the school’s weekly email to remind them of safety issues and neighborhood parking/speeding etiquette
  • Remind people of 25 mph speed limit
  • Ask Dominican University to participate in our program and communicate traffic laws to students

Traffic Meeting #2

Nader Mansourian, Director of Public Works for the City of San Rafael, attended our second traffic meeting and talked about the process for new signage, and the extensive rules and regulations required to governing the approval of new signs. Nader explained that he comes out to Dominican every few years to respond to the same series of complaints. He researched the accident reports for our area and our neighborhood has few vehicle impacts on record.

The City of San Rafael has monitored speeds on Mt. View a number of times since 2000. The average speed has risen from 32 mph to 34 mph, in a 24 mph zone.

Signage: Many traffic studies have shown that adding more frequent 25 mph speed limit signs is not effective in slowing traffic or changing people’s behavior. People simply stop seeing them.

Speed Humps: The City of San Rafael no longer installs speed bumps as they significantly slow down response time for emergency vehicles (ambulances have to come nearly to a complete stop at each hump), but they also do not slow traffic. Traffic studies show that once over a bump, people tend to accelerate even more due to the annoyance.

Stop sign at Villa: California Vehicle Code would not allow a southbound stop sign on Grand Avenue at Villa for several reasons. Among them, the traffic on the two streets is not nearly equal, a requirement for a three-way or four-way stop. For another, the hill just north of that intersection would hide any sign from traffic driving south, until the cars are suddenly upon it and unable to stop fast enough.  Additionally, having the sign would give cars entering from Villa an inappropriate sense of security, when they expect southbound cars to stop.

We are pursuing discussions with him about other possible signage that might slow traffic. We will keep you updated on the process.

Current Program

In an effort to increase awareness, we have distributed 1000 traffic newsletters and window stickers to the neighborhood. We have lawn signs that will be placed in yards and moved from house to house every few weeks to increase visibility. Dominican University is distributing over 425 window stickers to students with parking permits and employees., in addition to University-specific lawn signs that will be posted on campus.

 

SMART Train Quiet Zones – What You Need to Know

The vote on SMART quiet zone horns will be held in December. Read more at www.WeAreSanRafael.com.

At the end of 2016, SMART will be rolling down the tracks. Trains will be passing all grade crossings in San Rafael from 5:30am to 8pm weekdays and also on a weekend schedule. This four times an hour for 14 hours a day. The HORNS MUST SOUND at 96-110 decibels (very loud) approximately ¼ mile before every grade crossing. Hundreds of homes and apartments will experience significant noise impact. Quality of life for many residents living close to the SMART train corridor will be diminished. The City of Richmond has the largest network of quiet zones in the state for 10 years with no problems. We can do this too.

The City of San Rafael is in the process of considering a Quiet Zone for San Rafael. If a Quiet Zone is introduced with adequate safe guards and safety measures (SSMs), residents will not be subjected to train horns at grade crossings. This will make a huge difference. Please note that design and construction is already planned and budgeted to make ALL crossings Quiet Zone-compliant. All that needs to happen is for the City Council to vote their intention to have quiet zones.

Public Comment Meetings

The City of San Rafael will conduct the last of three meetings on September 29, 2014 – 7-9pm, Terra Linda Community Center. Please attend and voice your opinion on this subject.

What happens if there is no Quiet Zone?

Train operators are required by law to begin sounding their horn 15–20 seconds before entering a public road or pedestrian‐rail grade crossings and no more than one‐quarter of a mile in advance.

  • They are required to sound Two Long Blasts, One Short Blast and One Long Blast
  • Because of the close proximity of crossings in San Rafael it will result in the train horn sounding continuously.
  • Experts estimate that 90 percent of train noise comes from blowing the train horn at the mandated 96 to 110 decibels.
  • SMART, in their 2006 EIR, reported that at least 280 homes and apartment buildings in San Rafael would experience severe noise impact and 540 homes and apartments would experience significant noise impact. Many residents believe their reporting number is low.
  • A railroad engineer always retains the right to use the horn if there is any potential danger on the track (a car or pedestrian encroaching on the track, for example).

Map of Train Crossings in San Rafael

SanRafael-route-map

To see all planned Quiet Zone-compliant crossings on the SMART train line, download the Quiet Zone Safety Measures pdf published by SMART.

Overview of Quiet Zones

SMART released this document in 2012 which includes information about what Quiet Zones are, what types of crossings are compliant. Bottom line is that if there are no train horns, it needs to be apparent that a train is coming through closed gates that are not passable. Click to view the Establishing Quiet Zones in the SMART corridor pdf from SMART.

The Process

Source: SMART Quiet Zones Whitepaper #15, July 2008

Only local public authorities with control over streets and roads (such as cities or counties) may establish quiet zones. The establishment of a quiet zone does not require the submission of an application to the FRA and thus there is no need for a local jurisdiction to wait to see if its quiet zone has been “accepted.

The process begins when a local jurisdiction, such as the City of San Rafael,  files a Notice of Intent to establish a quiet zone to the California Public Utilities Commission, Caltrans and applicable railroads (in this case SMART and the NCRA). While the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is not required to be part of the notice of intent process, it is prudent to keep them involved in the process.

The issuance of this notice is typically preceded by a formal diagnostic review of crossings in the proposed quiet zone. The PUC, railroads and Caltrans must be invited to the diagnostic review. This diagnostic review is necessary to determine treatments for pedestrian crossings and private crossings that involve public access, industrial activity or commercial activity. The review is also intended to assist the local public authority in devising the best plan for quiet zone implementation. (Note: According to Ken Chiang at the CPUC this had been conducted but SMART has not yet submitted its official requests).

Once any necessary supplemental safety measures have been installed, and the CPUC has verified Quiet Zone Calculator data, the local public authority issues a Notice of Establishment. The Notice of Establishment is sent to the FRA, all applicable railroads, Caltrans, any local governments affected and any private property owners affected by private crossings. Railroads must cease blowing the train horns after the 21-day waiting period. (Note: Ken Chiang at the CPUC is of the opinion that local jurisdictions should consider waiting 6 months to one year after SMART service initiates to consider implementing quiet zones.

In the case of the SMART corridor, quiet zones could be established and improvements incorporated into SMART’s construction prior to service startup.

Public Utilities Commission Recommendation

The PUC has the right to make a recommendation on quiet zone implementation in San Rafael. The word is that they are going to suggest a 6 month-1 year use of horns to ensure people KNOW a train is in town…before implementing a quiet zone. This approach is counter-productive. If people get used to hearing horns, and then the horns are gone, people who relied on the horns will be at increased risk.

Liability and Insurance

Some cities have wondered if quiet zones will increase their liability:

  • According to the FRA’s Staff Director of the Highway Rail Crossing and Trespasser Division, the failure of a train to sound its horn should not be a cause of action against a local jurisdiction that implemented the quiet zone.
  • The same official has publicly stated that if a suit is ever brought against a local jurisdiction for preventing horns at a crossing, the FRA would likely file an amicus brief on behalf of the locality.
  • The FRA does not want local jurisdictions to be punished for creating quiet zones, since adherence to FRA requirements should translate to an overall reduction in safety risks.
  • Unlike some older quiet zones established with whistle bans before the 2005 Train Horn Rule, new quiet zones can only have been implemented if overall safety risks were reduced to the a level at or below that with trains sounding their horns; or if risk were negligible with or without the horn.
  • Ultimately courts determine liability and culpability based on the particular circumstances of individual cases.
  • At present, however, no local jurisdiction has been sued for removing train horns in the three years since the 2005 Train Horn Rule was established. (as of 2008) Source: SMART Quiet Zones Whitepaper #15, July 2008
  • Some cities believed their insurance provider covered quiet zones and discovered that they were in fact excluded meaning the city would not be insured if someone sued over injury or death at one of the crossings. Source: City of San Juan Capistrano

Indemnification

The Mayor is concerned about indemnification. What have other cities done and what is SMART’s position?

  • Some cities indemnified the Railway authority for liability arising from the design, construction and maintenance of the crossings and discovered that their insurance did not cover this liability without a substantial additional payment for indemnity obligation insurance. Source: City of San Juan Capistrano
  • SMART has gone on record to state that jurisdictions that desire to establish a Quiet Zone will need to enter into a construction and maintenance agreement with SMART to address responsibilities for the improvements within the Quiet Zone and includes SMART’s standard indemnification provision. Source: SMART Establishing Quiet Zones in the SMART Corridor August 2012
  • SMART in an email exchange with Ken Dickinson August 4, 2014 has gone on record as saying that “SMART’s standard indemnification regarding quiet zones will be developed and tailored for each of the jurisdictions as required.” But no actual standard has been forthcoming from them at this time.
  • The FRA has noted that states have the power to exempt local communities from lawsuits through the application of sovereign immunity (and some states have chosen to do that). Source: CRS Report for Congress – The Federal Railroad Administration’s Train Horn Rule, April 20, 2007.
  • In an agreement between the Wyoming Department of Transportation and the City of Gillette for the construction of a Quiet Zone they dealt with the issues of Sovereign Immunity and Indemnity as follows: The State of Wyoming and the WYDOT did not waive sovereign immunity by entering into their agreement and the City did not waive governmental immunity. They retained all immunities and defenses available to them as sovereigns or governmental entities. In addition each party to the agreement assumed the risk of any liability arising from its own conduct.  Neither party agreed to insure, defend or indemnify the other.  Source: Cooperative Agreement Between the Wyoming Department of Transportation and the City of Gillette, June 30, 2014

Fire Risk Mitigation Update

Fire Chief Christopher Gray provides an update on fire risk mitigation. This fortunately includes Puerto Suello Hill which has been the site of numerous, recurring homeless camping.

Growth of eucalyptus trees and their understory have created a fire risk in various areas of San Rafael and Marin County. One prominent eucalyptus forest and broom area is located on Puerto Suello Hill along the east side of Highway 101. A portion of this are received fuel reduction in 2009. Over the past several years, we have been working to remove or significantly mitigate the accumulated fuel in this area.

Earlier this year, several agencies (Fire Safe Marin, PG&E, Caltrans, MMWD, Marin County Fire, the Laurel Glen Homeowners and City of San Rafael) worked together to take advantage of funding that became available through the PG&E Drought Emergency Fire Fuels Fund. Fire Safe Marin acquired the base funding for the project in the amount of $30,000.

  • Proper notifications and approvals have occurred.
  • The City of San Rafael and Caltrans are also contributing $5,000 each to cover the total cost of the project.
  • The Marin County Fire Tam Crew is doing the actual work.
  • Download the project map.
  • Preparatory work on the site began yesterday and fuel reduction efforts will continue over the next several weeks.
Additionally, the goats recently wrapped up their effort at Canalways and are now working with San Rafael Public Works in some drainage along the 580. Next, they will be “chowing down” in four other trial areas of the community: San Rafael Hill, Gerstle Park, Peacock Gap and Canyon Oaks.  Maps of the trial areas are attached. The work area of San Rafael Hill is being expanded to include Robert Dollar Scenic Drive and behind Boyd Park/Elks and Falkirk.  So far, so good.
Christopher R. Gray
Fire Chief

The Goats Are Eating!

Fire Safety Vegetation Management…Goat Style

Read an update to the goat progress here.

The San Rafael Fire Department has hired a herd of goats to clear the vegetation in the Canalways area near Target/Home Depot. Over 300 goats arrived on Tuesday, July 22 at the test plot and we will track their progress over the next couple of days. Goats R US, the owners, will remain on the property for herding and safety. If the pilot project proves successful, we are looking at other sites for the goats.

The Fire Department recently received permission by the Canalways property owners to initiate an important fire safety related public/private partnership involving vegetation management with the use of goats. This pilot project has two phases and involves a total of 25 acres of overgrown land. As we all know, this area has a complex history and has been problematic for the city and public safety personnel.

Goats go to work.
Goats go to work.

Goats are extremely effective in this type of terrain and fuel (food) mix where they will conduct targeted grazing to reduce the significant fire hazard present on the western edge of the Canalways property. One of several residual benefits of the pilot project in addition to firefighter and community safety will be the reduction in mass of the tall, dense invasive plants that have been used for unlawful camping. Such activity is dangerous and has been the source of multiple fires in the area. We also received approval from the property owner to post formidable “No Trespassing” signs around the perimeter of the property. This action will improve notification, enforcement and community safety.

Check out more photos at http://www.srphoto50.com/Albums/2014/2014-07-22%20-%20Goats%20to%20Canalways/album/index.html

Bringing in the goats is part of the City of San Rafael vegetation management plan. Read more about Fire Chief Christopher Gray’s comments at the quarterly community update meeting at www.dominicanareanews.com/2014/07/quarterly-update-on-homeless-action-plan/

 

Homeless, Not Useless

How the Downtown Streets Team Cleared My Yard

By Paula Doubleday

I have lived in the Dominican neighborhood of San Rafael for 16 years. Last week I hired two homeless men to come and spend the morning clearing my yard. This is how it came about.

I met Andrew Hening, the Regional Director of the Downtown Streets Team, at Aroma Café a few weeks back. He is a young, energetic, enthusiastic man, eager to talk about the successes of the program. DST just celebrated 1 year in San Rafael and has seen a lot of success since their launch. The Team of 25-30 people work an average of 400 hours a week cleaning up our downtown, working with merchants on their specific needs and even discouraging loitering. They also help clean up during and after the Farmer’s Market. It is estimated 33% of the San Rafael homeless population has attended one of their weekly Wednesday meetings. Impressive.

Being Homeless is Hard

I read a lot of angry rants and black and white statements about the homeless on NextDoor.com. From “put them on a bus and send them away” to “they are ruining our city”, and everything in between. Unfortunately, the face of the homeless is often the person ranting outside Starbucks with soiled clothes asking for money. It scares people and they just want this taken care of. I get that.

But these are people and the face of the homeless is much broader than this. This is a complex issue with many moving parts. Andrew talks about the difficulty of being homeless. It is depressing. While there are people with mental illness and addiction issues, there is also a larger percentage of people who simply lost their job and had no safety net of family or money to bridge the gap until another job could be found. There are families living in cars with their children. There are elderly evicted from their homes with no place to go.

How Can I Make a Difference?

I asked Andrew if it was possible for the DST to do yard work for local residents. He has been working on other work opportunities for the Team hoping DST can become self-sustaining in a few years. When I asked if I could be a pilot program for team members to help with yard work, he agreed. He said he would choose a couple of men to come over and help.

The date was arranged and two men were driven to my house by Jaclyn, who works with Andrew, on a Thursday morning. I’ll call them Bob and Mike. Bob grew up in Novato, is in his fifties, five years sober, and most recently worked for a roofing company. The company had some issues and closed down 6 months ago. Previously he had made a living as a painter for a number of years. He has real skills. Bob is living in a shack (I assume that means no indoor plumbing) on his ex-employer’s property. He brought a bottle of water and a pear with him.

Mike, a young man in his twenties, born in New Jersey, arrived with a coat, a satchel and a plastic bag. I told him we could put his stuff inside while he was working. I found out later in the morning that Mike sleeps on the doorstep of a church and stashes his sleeping materials during the day. The items he brought with him were his valuables. Mike told me he is writing a book and that he is a poet. He used to attend poetry slams in Denver and perform his poems. He hopes to publish an e-book combined with a multi-media presentation. He was smart, articulate and hoping to get back to Denver in a few years to see his Mom.

These were two nice men. They worked hard. Bob has some physical issues but that didn’t stop him from pulling weeds. I worked with them the whole 3.5 hours until we had assembled 9 bags of clippings in neat rows to take to the dump.

I paid them for 4 hours, $15 an hour, and they were so appreciative of having money as opposed to gift cards. I drove them downtown and they talked about food the whole way. What was good to eat at the Farmer’s Market, how expensive everything was and what kinds of gift cards they get for their work.

Bob asked to be dropped off for lunch at St. Vincent’s. Mike got out of the car at the same spot but I think was looking to buy lunch elsewhere. I thanked them both. I told Mike to keep writing and hold onto his dream.

You Can Do This Too

We all have projects and need help. This is a way for you to get some help in your yard and make a difference in someone’s life. If you are interested, contact Andrew at Andrew@streetsteam.org.

More About Downtown Streets Team

I had originally arranged coffee with Andrew to get his perspective and understand his corner of the homeless issue. There are a couple important points Andrew made in our conversation.

First, many of us were raised in an environment where we saw our parents go to work on time, were expected to do our homework before TV, and rewarded for our successes. We had opportunities and learned our way in the work world, how to act, how to dress, how to communicate, how to care for not only ours, but other people’s property. Not everyone grows up with these gifts we take for granted. For some (not all) of the homeless, just learning to show up at a job is a success.

The Downtown Streets Team is an opportunity to learn to show up, do your job and get rewarded with pay, in the form of gift cards. The DST program also helps people then find a real job but it doesn’t stop there. Andrew explains they are the bridge between homeless and permanent housing/independence. When a team member gets a job, the involvement doesn’t stop there because they are still ON the bridge, not on the other side. So they stay in contact, they support, they mentor and if necessary, even intercede with an employer to keep the person on the job to help them get into the rhythm of this new life.

Andrew explains this is not an easy process or an easy solution. Every person is different. That was the second important point he made. Some people have a job, but just need a place to live or the rent deposit to get an apartment. Many people simply need a job that pays enough to afford to live in Marin (pretty hard). Others need medical care, mental health care, treatment for addiction. Some people have ongoing legal issues or they need a phone, an address for a job application, and on and on. The needs are varied, broad, but manageable. Bottom line is that it is one person at a time.

Read more about the Downtown Streets Team at their website: www.streetsteam.com/sanrafael

A recent Marin IJ story about DST:

http://www.marinij.com/marinnews/ci_26170156/san-rafael-homeless-street-cleaning-team-success-but

 

Paula Doubleday