By Kathy Chouteau
Richmond Mayor Tom Butt announced in his E-Forum Tuesday that he’s accepted a $10,000 check from SimsMetal toward the Mayor’s Housing First Project, a partnership with the Richmond Rotary Club that links housing challenged families to affordable housing.
SimsMetal’s donation, which the mayor said “matched another $10,000 from Council of Industries members,” will provide a family facing homelessness with housing for an entire year.
As part of the Mayor’s Housing First Project, the partners are paying West County landlords or rental housing owners an entire year’s rent in advance for a two bedroom apartment or home for housing challenged families. The mayor said in an earlier communication that the partners seek rentals in the $2,000 range or lower.
“Although willing landlords are hard to find, we are chipping away at housing homeless families,” said the mayor.
One such family benefiting from the initiative, per the mayor, is Darylicia and her three children, who will be moving into a four-bedroom unit with her sister-in-law and her two children, where each will be responsible for half the rent. The Mayor’s Housing First Project will cover Darylicia’s portion of the rent, which is $1,400 per month, for one year, while both families will share the cost of utilities.
Darylicia and her children became homeless in December and currently reside in her sister-in-law’s two-bedroom apartment in Richmond, a total of two adults and five children, said the mayor. He added that Rubicon is providing counseling, job training and placement for Darylicia.
Mayor Butt told ABC-7 TV on Tuesday that “The city of Richmond spent a million and a half dollars servicing two RV camps. They could’ve put 100 people in an apartment for a year for that money.” He further shared that he made the decision to stop working with various City of Richmond programs and instead partnered with the Richmond Rotary Club to “[take] people out of the RV camps.”
Those wanting to support the Mayor’s Housing First Project, in partnership with Richmond Rotary, can make a check out to: Mayor’s Community Fund at Richmond Community Foundation and mail it to Tom Butt, Mayor, City of Richmond, 450 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, CA, 94804-1630. Supporters can also donate at GoFundMe here.
“It takes about $20,000 to house a family for a year, so be generous,” said the mayor. Landlords with available units can contact the mayor directly at: [email protected].
Mayor Butt also took a moment in his E-Forum to express his appreciation to his “hard-working Richmond Rotary colleagues and the Richmond Community Foundation for providing critical logistical support for this project, including screening clients, collecting furniture, handling move-ins and setting up services and support.”