Rental assistance for Marin residents

Marin Pandemic Rental Assistance Program Nears End
Posted on Category General, Stories

A pandemic program offering rental assistance to low-income residents in Marin is set to wind down.

Community Action Marin, a San Rafael nonprofit that took over the program from the county in the fall, has dispensed more than $1.8 million since mid-November. It has about $1 million left to distribute by the end of next month.

“The goal of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program is to prevent households from experiencing evictions and homelessness due to the financial and health impacts of COVID-19,” said Chandra Alexandre, the nonprofit’s chief executive officer.

Many low-income households were unable to pay their rent during the early months of the pandemic because of employment losses when much of the economy was shut down. Some essential workers lost income when they became ill with COVID-19.

Marin County ended its rental assistance program after distributing $27 million to more than 1,900 households from April 2020 through September 2022. The money came from the $1.9 trillion federal American Rescue Plan Act. An additional $4.6 million in government funds for rental assistance was available to Marin when the county ended its program.

Rather than continue to operate the program, the county opted to contract with Community Action Marin, the largest nonprofit social services provider in Marin, to administer it. The $3.2 million contract allots $2.88 million for rent payments; $185,000 to the nonprofit for administrative, accounting and fiscal oversight services; and $145,000 to be shared with North Marin Community Services and Legal Aid of Marin.

North Marin Community Services is helping people apply for assistance, and Legal Aid of Marin is providing legal support.

As of Wednesday, Community Action Marin had awarded grants to 228 households. About $1.75 million was awarded for rent and about $57,000 for utility bills. The average grant was for about $7,400, covering four months of rent.

As of Jan. 31, 56% of the grants issued for arrears had gone to households earning below 30% of the area median income, which is less than $54,800 for a family of four.

Read the full story here in the MarinIJ.

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