Helping People Move Forward
We believe that no one should have to face poverty alone.
At Novato Human Needs Center, we’ve learned that life is a journey for all of us, but each journey is different. Some are born into fortunate circumstances, and never have to worry about the daily necessities of shelter, clothing, food or employment.
But for many others, the reality of their journey isn’t so positive. They are born into poverty or illness or face other serious challenges beyond their control. Or, sometimes later in life they have fallen into the hardships of poverty along the way. When people in our community face these kinds of difficulties, they come to our Center.
Because of support provided by nearly 1,000 caring community contributors and volunteers, every day we are able to welcome the poor, the hungry, the unhoused, and the hopeless.
Our Center provides a refuge and place of non-judgment. The people we serve are all too often ignored by society. However, our Center provides a place where their voices can be heard.
When people walk through our doors, they have many needs: physical, emotional, financial – and they often they feel hopeless. When they walk out of our doors, while their problems aren’t always completely solved, progress has always been made. They may be fed, or assisted to find a safe place to sleep for the night. They may be a step closer to getting a job or paying off debt.
Whatever obstacles they are struggling with, an important change is underway. A connection is made. Strength for the next step has been gained. And, their journey looks a lot more promising.
Four Decades of Caring
Volunteers have always been the key drivers of our success!
The Novato Human Needs Center was founded in 1972 when three people wanted to help brighten the holidays for their neighbors who were less fortunate. These three inspiring people – a single mom, local pastor and small business owner – started by working out of a garage to collect gifts for families in need.
They began with only $50. Everything was handled by volunteers for the first year. Our founders expanded their efforts to help families with other basic needs, such as food, clothing and furniture. They grew from their first garage location to a local Catholic parish for three months and later relocated to a City of Novato building on South Novato Boulevard, which provided office space and enough room to open the organization’s thrift store to raise funds to support local families.
Novato Human Needs Center was incorporated in October of 1972 and start-up funding was later secured from the County of Marin which initially supported a part-time coordinator and receptionist. Later, in 1985, a successful local community-wide fundraising campaign was launched. Seven years later in 1992, the Board, staff and countless volunteers were able to fulfill their vision of a permanent home and community resource when construction was completed and our current Center opened at 1907 Novato Boulevard.
The Center has grown tremendously, now with an annual budget of nearly $1 million, a staff of ten and over 200 active volunteers. We continue to distribute approximately one quarter of our funds each year as direct support to clients who need temporary emergency assistance (rent, clothing, food). Our Center remains dedicated to responding to the urgent needs of Novato’s families living in poverty – helping them gain the resources and guidance they need to confidently move forward to achieve a brighter future.