Through the provision of direct services and advocacy, Community Action Marin and our partner agencies work year-round to advance housing justice.
Approximately one-third of Marin residents are renters, a percentage which is much higher in communities like the Canal, Southern Marin, and Central Novato. Of the 28,436 total occupied housing units with a race other than white, 16,854 of them rent, which is 59%. Rents are rising in Marin and throughout the region, people with low-incomes, Latino, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) residents, seniors, and people with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by the current housing crisis. When people lose housing, the instability created has negative ripple effects for children and families, as well as employers and our local social fabric and economy.
Marin Supervisors Extend Rental Assistance Program
County supervisors acted in late March 2023 to extend the rental assistance program through December 31. Since the pandemic, Community Action Marin has been an active proponent of eviction moratorium and other tenant protection policies both country-wide and locally. We provided in-person rental assistance support to tenants and landlords while also advocating for improved access to meet community need. The agency has also helped low-income Marin County residents and landlords apply to receive rental assistance for back rent, as county administrators debated whether to extend the program.
Supporting an Eviction Moratorium
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the County of Marin and various cities and towns created eviction moratorium policies to provide much-needed stability for renters across our community. Over the course of the eviction moratoria, $27 million in rental aid was distributed to more than 1,900 households, with Community Action Marin serving as the fiscal administrator of these county funds.
Working in partnership with Canal Alliance, Legal Aid of Marin, and North Marin Community Services, we organized over a dozen local agencies to support the eviction moratorium extensions across the county and also published a Marin Voice opinion article in support.
Keeping People Housed
Community Action Marin provides direct services through its Safety Net programs to support individuals and families in need, and those that are precariously housed.
We offer rental assistance, mortgage payments, and housing deposits. Thus far in 2023, we provided over $2.4 million in rental assistance to 337 families and individuals. Our seasoned Housing Information Specialists help Marin residents in need uncover timely information on shared housing options, Section 8 housing vouchers, and subsidized housing. Low-cost housing is extremely difficult to secure in Marin. Members get high-touch personal assistance with their housing search, best practices on how to present themselves to a landlord and how to be a good tenant, help developing housing resumes and letters of reference, and external referrals to our network of trusted landlords and housing programs.
Through our Community Alternative Response Engagement (CARE) homeless outreach teams, we offer vital support and assistance to unhoused people throughout Marin County. We are often the first point of contact for people experiencing homelessness. In 2022, we served over 60 people per month, offering tents, sleeping bags, bag lunches, and hygiene kits.
Gina Guillemette, Chief Strategy Officer at Community Action Marin, commented on the importance of local engagement on housing justice issues: “The Housing Element is an important opportunity for Marin to ensure that future housing policies address longstanding inequities and create a community where all have a chance to thrive. As a community we must take active steps via the Housing Element process to provide for tenant protections, affordable housing preservation, and the creation of housing and services for our unhoused neighbors.”
Community Action Marin encourages your input in your local Housing Element process. You can learn more about your local Housing Element by visiting your city or town website or the County of Marin if you live in unincorporated Marin. Several jurisdictions have public forums where you can learn more and voice your input to local officials.
If you need rental assistance, visit our website to learn more – https://camarin.org/program/rental-assistance/
To learn more about Community Action Marin’s Housing Services, visit https://camarin.org/housing/