Artists to auction off houses for homeless center


It's an artist's vision of what every home should include: A view out the window to a bucolic West Marin, reminiscent of the Fallkirk Mansion in San Rafael.

The art houses of Marin are meant to channel the passion of Marine artists into helping their community's most-vulnerable neighbors. It raises money for the Ritter Center programs that assist the homeless and the increasing number of low income families.

"Our hope is to, really, be around change-care, giving people a new lease on life," said Ritter Center executive director Diane Linn. "That involves providing wrap-around services, health care, mental health support, support for addiction recovery."

The center also offers food and clothing.

The art homes are a big way of meeting their goal to get people into housing, but it doesn't seem possible anytime soon. Some 1,200 people are currently homeless in Marin.

"(There are) 120 a month coming to the Ritter Center," said Linn. "We served 4,000 people just last year. The clinic services are desperately needed."

That's where the artists come in. They are given a seven-by-four foot aluminum housescapes to unleash their creativity. Each housescape tells a story related to homelessness.

This year, artists created six houses, which is down from the 25 wood ones last year. They're currently on display at the Marin Community Center where they are set up for the benefit.

The artists who created them believe everyone should have a place to live.

The art houses will be auctioned off Saturday night to support the services of the Ritter Center. The center's long term goal: To eradicate homelessness in Marin County altogether.

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