Community in Crisis

Sausalito launches program to help homeless living on boats in the bay

Bay Area

SAUSALITO (KRON) — The City of Sausalito is working to launch a pilot program to help bring homeless living on boats moored out in Richardson Bay into safe harbor.

“[If[ there is an individual who resides on that boat, anytime you leave a boat on the water for a long period of time without continued maintenance, it’s going to deteriorate,” said Sausalito Police Captain Bill Fraas. 

Fraas took KRON4’s Maureen Kelly on a ride along to see the  effort they’ve made in helping clear out much of the dilapidated boats in Sausalito.  

they used to be 77 boats moored in their waters.

Now they are down to 18.

There are at least 200 more just outside their jurisdiction in Richardson Bay, with around 100 people believed to be living in all sorts of conditions.

Part of the concern is the unsafe way they are being moored.

“We found all kinds of things being used as marine’s buoys or marine devices such as lifejackets plastic bottles — a hodgepodge of things,” the police captain said. 

Those moorings are believed to be killing off eelgrass, which are an important part of the environment.

“Those anchor out to destroy your grass, the eel grass feeds the hair. In the hair and feed migratory birds migrating from the West Coast to the south, so this is really a much bigger issue than just Sausalito,” he said. 

In order to coax the population living on boats called anchor outs, the City of Sausalito is launching what’s called the Safe Harbor Program.  

They’ve convinced local marinas to free up slip space for eight boats.

Those selected will be teamed up with social services to help them back on their feet.

They will get their slip fees paid for for six months, while they work on getting them a more permanent solution.

Jerry Kinsel says he’s been living on an off boats for the last 25 years and would welcome a more protected place to call home.

“I like it on the water but it can’t be rough,” he said. “[When it’s] stormy, it’s not really good, when it’s really rough out there people can’t get in on their skip. So it’s much better to have access much closer to food, water.”

The city of Sausalito is hoping to have the first of their anchor routes moving into safe Harbor within the next two months 

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