Our Story

Our Story 2016-11-10T12:10:15+00:00

Helping Prevent Homelessness Since 1980

Ritter Center takes a holistic, comprehensive approach with each client we serve. We start by assessing each client’s immediate and long-term needs. Then, we develop a plan to lead them toward self-sufficiency. Ritter Center seeks to transition people into housing, improve their physical and mental health, provide substance use treatment, and improve their day-to-day living conditions.

Ritter Center receives funding for its work from the following sources: Federal funds designated for combatting homelessness and providing health services for individuals living in poverty, the State of California, the County of Marin, The Marin Community Foundation, the SF-Marin Food Bank and generous donors in the community, both individuals and organizations.

Our history

Ritter Center came about in the mid-1970s through a community effort to implement support services for Marin County’s low-income residents. Evolving from a small, grass-roots organization, today Ritter Center’s highly experienced staff provides a multitude of much-needed services.
In the early 1970s, a Federally mandated Families and Children Committee was commissioned by the Marin County Welfare Department to determine the needs of low-income people living within the county and then implement supportive services. Services envisioned by the committee emphasized providing for the emergency needs of families and individuals. These services were eventually established and funded in 1976 through Community Action Marin (CAM).

When “War on Poverty” money diminished, the CAM Emergency Services Program stood to be disbanded. CAM and the Volunteer Center of Marin solicited support through the community’s congregations and were instrumental in organizing a group of volunteers to form a Board of Directors. The Board incorporated as the Human Concern Center of Marin in 1980. Our name was changed to Ritter House in 1996. We changed our name again in April 2003 and are now officially known as Ritter Center.

Strong community participation

Community participation has always been strong in Ritter Center’s history and has helped shape our programs, purpose and vision. Our Day Services Center, for example, is the result of the work of the Blue Ribbon Homeless Working Group, formed in 1989 by the County of Marin, Marin Council of Mayors, Marin Community Foundation and Marin Interfaith Council. The Homeless Working Group sought to meet the personal needs of Marin’s homeless population, such as mail delivery, showers and laundry.

Health care services were added in 1995 and expanded into a separate building in 2012, when Ritter Center became a Federally Qualified Health Center. This enables Ritter Center to provide health care services, regardless of someone’s ability to pay. For anyone whose income is below the poverty line, our services are FREE.

Download 2016 Annual Report