In Marin / CONVERSATION
ANDREW HENING HAS a new job, and the job he’s taken is new. Earlier this year the University of Virginia grad was named San Rafael’s director of homeless planning and outreach. Hening’s previous
position was as North Bay regional director of
Downtown Streets Team, a Palo Alto–based
nonprofit that helps homeless people empower
themselves by cleaning up urban streets,
sidewalks and parks. In that position for three
years, he launched a Marin branch of DST in
July 2013. Prior to that, he worked two years
with DST in Santa Clara County and one year
with the City of San Jose as the Santa Clara
County Project Homeless Connect coordinator.
It’s obvious to many that Hening’s job was
created in response to San Rafael’s growing
homeless population (up 40 percent over 2013,
according to the Marin Independent Journal )
and the related increase in social problems
such as panhandling, loitering and public
drunkenness — all of which have negatively
impacted downtown businesses and residents
living close to the central part of San Rafael,
Marin’s county seat.
Hening, 30, lives in Berkeley with his wife,
Joanne, an assistant principal at an Oakland
charter school. In their downtime the couple
enjoys hiking, camping and mountain-biking
throughout Northern California. In addition, Hening is studying for his MBA at UC
Berkeley’s graduate Haas School of Business.
His three-year contract with the City of San
Rafael calls for an annual salary of $105,252.
Is it valid to say that there are approximately
1,300 homeless people in Marin County, most
of them in and around San Rafael, and it’s only
about 40 of them who cause most of the problems? During my time in Santa Clara County,
an organization called Destination: Home utilized national data to put people in buckets, or
categories, of homelessness. I largely agree with
their interpretation. The first group represent
San Rafael’s first-ever director of homeless planning
and outreach is in a newly created position,
one he hopes won’t exist if he succeeds.
BY JIM WOOD • PHOTOS BY TIM PORTER