The Marin Housing Authority board approved $1.2 million for short-term repairs while it works on the plan for the more comprehensive overhaul of the Golden Gate Village public housing complex in Marin City.
Kimberly Carroll, the interim director of the housing authority, noted at the board meeting Tuesday that an assessment in 2015 estimated that upwards of $16 million in near-term spending is needed for the complex to meet minimum federal standards, with approximately $63 million required in ongoing years.
Under the plan approved by the board, the authority, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will contribute $600,000 and Marin County will match that with $600,000.
The board also voted 6-1, with tenant Sarah Canson dissenting, to pay Zen Development Consultants up to $110,000 to facilitate a “trauma informed” community consultation process for deciding what changes are made at Golden Gate Village.
“I just think the money would be better spent on the revitalization,” Canson said.
Supervisor Damon Connolly also expressed skepticism regarding the cost of the consultant, although he eventually voted to approve the expenditure.
The work in the $1.2 million short-term renovation plan includes repair or replacement of damaged walkways, parking surfaces, doors, smoke detectors, electrical components and plumbing.
Workers will also perform integrated pest management treatments and seal entry points to block pests from buildings.
In apartments that are vacant, workers will restore or replace countertops, cabinets and toilets; repair and paint drywall; and clean or replace floors as needed.
Nevertheless, Royce McLemore, president of the Golden Gate Village Resident Council, complained that tenants weren’t adequately consulted on what repairs should be made with the money.
McLemore said the first priority should be to replace boilers that supply heat and hot water to the project’s eight high-rise buildings.
“That would be a good solid show that you mean something for the people who have suffered with no heat for weeks on end,” McLemore said.
Supervisor Stephanie Moulton-Peters said, “Repairing boilers and things like that are probably not affordable on this budget.”
Carroll added that some of the scheduled repairs need to be prioritized because they are necessary for the health and safety of the residents.
Regarding the hiring of the consultant, Carroll said, “I actually feel this will be money well spent.”
“We’re looking at the resident plan, which is a great plan, but there is a lot of detail that is not there,” Carroll said. “We’ve got to try to figure that out together and learn together what is possible and what isn’t. We have not been able to do that on our own.”
In November, the county allocated $500,000 to assist in the revitalization process. Half of that money went to pay Michaels Development Co., which created a plan that called for rehabilitating all 300 of the housing complex’s apartments and building 156 new affordable residences, including 48 for seniors. The housing authority spent more than $900,000 developing that plan.
The scheme was abandoned due to opposition from the resident council and its community allies. The council opposed any new building.
In March, the housing authority board voted unanimously to pursue the resident council’s “rehabilitation-only” plan.