Viewpoint: Jamboree explains commitment to Larkin Place, Claremont

By Michael Massie | Special to the Courier

Charles needed some help. Charles, a senior U.S. Marine Corps veteran living with a severe and persistent mental health diagnosis, had been living in his car.

I had the chance to meet Charles when he became a resident at a Jamboree supportive housing development. Along with 70 other residents, Charles was the first to occupy his studio apartment in a newly converted motel. Less than two years later, Charles was thriving: married, and moving to the Inland Empire to start a new life with his wife.

Stories like Charles’ are the reason I and the rest of the Jamboree team are so committed to working with the city, residents, and local partners to make the vision of Larkin Place a reality. There are hundreds of stories with outcomes just like Charles had. It’s made me a believer in Jamboree’s ability to make good on our mission: delivering housing that transforms lives. I have seen these life-changing outcomes not just hundreds of times at Jamboree, but also in my own life, with my own Charles.

Michael Massie is chief development officer for Jamboree Housing. Courier photo/Steven Felschundneff

In 2021, Jamboree entered into an agreement to purchase a vacant lot owned by Pilgrim Place to create a supportive housing community for individuals experiencing homelessness. The city previously identified this lot as a suitable site for affordable housing in multiple housing elements.

Since then, we’ve worked to be good neighbors through open communication and transparency. In that spirit, we are informing the community that while our path to approval has changed, our commitment to Claremont has not. We are committed to developing a property that effectively serves residents and benefits the entire Claremont community.

At the end of last year, Jamboree proceeded with pursuing entitlement “by right” for Larkin Place under AB 2162. Earlier this month, Jamboree officially received AB 2162 approval from the city. Under this 2018 law, cities are obligated to approve supportive housing developments that comply with local zoning standards and adhere to a community’s written objective design standards. In layperson’s terms, this California law aims to quickly get supportive housing built by removing barriers and red tape.

The current design is an evolution from the original that required an access easement through the adjacent city park’s drive aisle. After the Claremont City Council voted to deny the easement, and after careful consideration, Jamboree is moving forward with an alternative design that incorporates city comments, objective design standards, and the aesthetic character of the broader neighborhood. While the building’s shape has changed from the original, the overall aesthetic remains intact.

Jamboree doesn’t just build housing. Our resident services team ensures that every resident at each of our properties has the tools they need to thrive. At Larkin Place, each resident will have access to trained staff that provide support and resources. This includes case management, individual or group therapy, peer support groups, recovery services, benefits counseling, life skills training, and community-building activities. We also ensure that each of our communities has a site-specific security plan designed to keep residents and the community safe. At Larkin Place, some of the security measures Jamboree will incorporate are access-controlled entry points, a voice-down security camera system that provides a live video feed to an offsite security team, and policies that limit overnight guests. Each resident will sign a lease and be required to follow the rules outlined in the agreement.

Many of us have a Charles in our own lives. My older sister is my Charles. Despite struggles with mental illness, she always managed her life independently, and kept both a job and a roof over her head. The effects of the Covid pandemic changed things, and even with a support network, she became homeless. It turned out the kind of services that Jamboree will provide at Larkin Place were the ingredients she needed. She is now housed, safe, and stable in a supportive housing program.

The current homelessness crisis spares no California city and impacts every family. We at Jamboree remain committed to being a part of the solution and committed to the mission of Larkin Place — getting people into housing and getting them the resources they need to transform their lives.

To learn more or to contact Jamboree about Larkin Place, visit

Michael Massie is chief development officer for Jamboree Housing.


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