Marin’s High Cost of Housing is Disrupting Local Families

Posted on Category Advocacy, General

The high cost of housing in Marin County is disrupting local families.

Did you know that older adults who have spent decades contributing to our community are being displaced due to a lack of affordable options?  

Equally challenging is that at the same time, their children and grandchildren are being priced out of the Marin housing market. This is leading to family separations and forcing those born and raised in Marin to leave the area. We can do better.

Seniors make up about 22 percent of the total population of Marin County, and by 2030, an estimated one in three people in Marin will be over the age of 60. Many can’t afford to stay in their own homes given the reality of their fixed incomes.

Like you, I believe that it is unconscionable for seniors to be forced to move to a different county or region, away from their families and strong support systems, away from the community that they have called home.

Older adults in residential supported living in Marin encounter other challenges. Kyle Ruth-Islas, Chief Operating Officer of the Redwoods, A Community of Seniors in Mill Valley, witnesses the impact of the affordable housing crisis on seniors, their families, and businesses daily. “The Redwoods offers a very competitive compensation package to its staff,” Ruth-Islas notes, “but some people decide they’d rather take a job at a senior community in Oakland, Alameda, or Emeryville because it’s closer to where they live. It’s more meaningful to them to get home quickly, spend less time in traffic, and avoid bridge tolls.”

Ruth-Islas says most of his team members commute to Marin due to the prohibitively high cost of housing. The toll on people and efforts to find appropriate staffing to meet the community’s needs is great and an ongoing challenge.

Many middle-income families are struggling to move to or stay in Marin. Between 2014-2021, approximately 1,000 new housing units were built in Marin County. Contrast that with the 1,700 new jobs that were created in Marin last year.

For those in low-income brackets, housing unaffordability is at crisis levels. The 2024 Marin County Affordable Housing report shows 9,694 households with low income do not have access to an affordable home to rent.

But people like you have enlivened the community’s commitment to affordable housing. Take a look at our partner Vivalon, which opened a new facility earlier this year. It includes 66 units of 100% affordable senior homes, and the campus serves a growing senior population.

We know what needs to be done. It will take our collective effort, from community and faith-based leaders, to policymakers, businesses, and residents. Together, we can ensure that Marin remains a place where families can stay connected, older adults can age with dignity, and future generations can thrive.

In solidarity,

Chandra Alexandre
Chief Executive Officer

P.S. Community Action Marin has partnered with other non-profits to advocate for more affordable housing in our community. We invite you to learn about the coalition’s mission and how you can help at Housing for All Marin.