Most city employees have been headquartered on Rowland Way since 2005, when an assortment of downtown bungalows that…More previously served as city offices were red-tagged by the fire marshal. The city pays nearly $800,000 to lease offices on Rowland, but it is looking for a permanent home. One option being contemplated is to purchase the current leased building, but some advocates would rather have civic officials based about a mile away in the downtown district near Grant Avenue.
The Rowland building, owned by the Barker Pacific Group, is home to the city manager, the city clerk, other top administrators, building and planning managers, redevelopment agency managers, engineers, finance officials, technical specialists and the parks, recreation and community services staff. In all, about 70 employees are based there; others are based at corporation yards.
As of August 2010, the city offices are closed every Friday as part of a cost-cutting effort.
In 2000, Homeward Bound of Marin opened the New Beginnings Center at Hamilton with the help of donations from local…More businesses, nonprofit groups and government agencies. It became the first homeless shelter in the United States built at a former military base (today there are more than 50).
Coincidentally, military veterans account for about 25 percent of this country's homeless population and a partnership with the U.S. Veterans Administration reserves 16 beds at New Beginnings Center for veterans in need of housing.
New Beginnings was made possible by a $1-a-year/99-year lease allowed by the Novato City Council, and the city has continued to support its activities. The center provides 80 beds for men and women in dormitory-style housing with services that include counseling, access to job training, and classes in "life skills" like budgeting and money management.
The adjacent Next Key Center, opened in 2008, offers 32 studio apartments, administrative offices for Homeward Bound, a training kitchen for Fresh Starts Culinary Academy, and the Key Room event space. The Next Key Center also is home to the Fresh Starts Catering business.
New Beginnings Center is just off Hamilton Parkway near Nave Drive, across from the Courtyard by Marriott and next to the Marin Airporter depot.