Blu Homes Teams Up with Homeward Bound of Marin to Build Supportive Housing Community in Marin County
Oma Village to Provide Affordable Permanent Housing in Novato for Low-Income Families
SAN FRANCISCO and NOVATO, Calif. — October 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — California and Massachusetts-based green, precision homebuilder Blu Homes (www.bluhomes.com) today announced that it has partnered with non-profit Homeward Bound of Marin (www.hbofm.org) on a critically-needed, permanent, supportive housing project for homeless families in Marin County.
With the Oma Village project, Blu Homes and Homeward Bound will transform the run-down former site of an alcohol and drug rehabilitation center into a thriving, eco-friendly community of 14 compact one- and two-bedroom family homes. When completed in Fall 2013, the new homes will provide dignified housing and a supportive community for low-income families working their way out of homelessness through employment, job training, and/or education. Features of Oma Village will include:
- A staff-managed community space, laundry and computer learning and training center for residents
- An outdoor kitchen common area designed to foster a sense of communal pride and responsibility
- Healthy environments, including zero emissions from paint and other toxic materials, sustainably forested or reclaimed wood, and recycled steel
- Highly energy efficient units that incorporate high performance materials and systems throughout, such as radiant heat, Energy Star appliances, and high R-value walls—Oma Village’s goal is to be a community of Net Zero Energy buildings
- Ongoing support from Homeward Bound program staff and maintenance crew
All of Blu’s homes are designed and built off-site in their state-of-the art 250,000 square foot factory in Vallejo, CA, resulting in drastically reduced environmental and community site impact. Because all of the Oma Village units will be almost entirely finished in the factory, construction time is greatly expedited with on-site work measured in weeks not months as compared with traditional construction. Additionally, Blu Homes builds in a controlled factory environment, which saves resources and energy, and reduces construction waste and landfill use.
“Homeward Bound is thrilled to be partnering with Blu Homes to transform a run-down property into beautiful, new, critically-needed family housing for low-wage earners in our community,” said Mary Kay Sweeney, executive director of Homeward Bound of Marin. “The technology and thoughtful design behind Blu’s precision-built homes makes them the perfect choice for this project. We are excited to see how this new community can play a role in creating a more positive future for Marin County.”
“Blu Homes was founded with the mission of making architect-designed, green homes accessible to all types of Americans. Our work with Homeward Bound of Marin is a shining example of this mission in action,” said Bill Haney, Blu Homes founder and CEO. “We couldn’t be happier about helping to provide Marin families in need with dignified, healthy homes with low energy costs they can afford. We know Oma Village will be a place they can be proud to call home.”
This project helps address the high community priorities of ending homelessness and providing needed workforce housing in Marin. The primary cause of homelessness in Marin—which is on the rise—is the high cost of rental housing combined with low income from low-wage work or public benefits. The fair market rate for a two-bedroom apartment in Marin is an astronomical $1,905. This puts rental homes out of reach of many homeless families in the region, even those who have found jobs. With rents varying from $500 to $600 per month, the energy-efficient Oma Village homes will be affordable even to families with jobs in the low-wage service sector of Marin’s economy.
Donations that make this project possible include a significant lead gift from the Marin Community Foundation, an organization that works to improve the quality of life in Marin through philanthropic contributions. “The Oma Village project is one way we are addressing our key organizational goal of increasing affordable housing in our community,” said Thomas Peters, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Marin Community Foundation. “This new, eco-friendly family housing represents much-needed forward momentum, and we are excited to be a part of bringing it to life.” The Marin Community Foundation also provided two loans to help fund the Oma Village project—a $1,000,000 construction loan and a $200,000 acquisition loan.
About Blu Homes
Blu Homes, Inc. is the leading provider of beautiful and green precision-built homes in North America. Built in its own 250,000 square foot state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Vallejo, California, Blu’s inspired and nationally recognized homes can be found from New York to the Colorado Mountains and Pacific Coast. Blu’s proprietary steel framing and building technology result in homes that are as strong as they are beautiful; that ship efficiently; and are conveniently finished on site by our own teams. Blu homes are more economical, healthier to live in, require lower maintenance, and are much stronger than conventional construction. Visit www.bluhomes.com. Blu is also the proud builder of the Sunset magazine 2012 Idea House in Healdsburg, California. For more information on the Sunset Idea House, click here.
About Homeward Bound Marin
Homeward Bound of Marin’s mission of “opening doors to safety, dignity, hope and independence” is coupled with a vision that “everyone deserves a place to call home.”
Homeward Bound is Marin County’s chief provider of shelter and residential services for homeless families and individuals, serving approximately 1,400 people per year in 14 inter-related residential programs. Our overarching goal is to end homelessness in Marin County. To that end, we offer supportive services designed to end homelessness in the life of every person served, whatever their circumstances. Facing difficult economic and personal challenges, our residents have built an admirable record of success: in 2011-12, 85% of families served and 69% of adults completing our programs moved to stable housing.