Emergency Family Needs

  • Overview

    Emergencies can happen to anyone. We're here to help.

    A one-time emergency like a medical or energy bill can sometimes tip families who are already struggling into crisis.  We are committed to providing a safety net of resources that can help people through difficult times.  Our Emergency Family Needs program assists people with rent or mortgage payments, rental deposits and, in limited cases, emergency car repairs, durable medical equipment or other essential needs.

    emergency family needs, by the numbers

    The degree to which the cost of living in Marin has increased in the past five years
    People, including families, are presently experiencing homelessness in Marin
    of heads of households with less than a high school diploma live below the self-sufficiency standard

    I was at the end of my rope and didn’t know where to turn. Without Community Action being in my corner, my kids would’ve gone hungry.


    Success Story

    Coming Home - Kelli's Story

    Originally from Marin, Kelli was building a modestly successful career as a musician on the Big Island of Hawaii and working on her third album when the volcano on the island erupted.  She was forced to evacuate with her two young sons, and leave most of their possessions behind.  She returned to Marin, where her mother still lived, but the cost of housing had skyrocketed and she struggled to find a place she could afford.  At first, she was moving the kids back and forth from her aunt’s place in Fairfax to her mom’s place in Cotati while also working to scrape up enough money to get into a place of her own.

    “I was working three different freelance jobs doing social media and marketing, working at night after I finally got the kids to bed,” she said. “I was trying to get the money together, and every time I check Craigslist, the rents keep rising. In Marin, it could be $7,500 that someone needs to come up with just to get into a place.”

    She was referred to Community Action Marin, and we helped her gain assistance through our Emergency Family Needs program.  With a grant to cover her deposit and first month’s rent, Kelli was able to lease an apartment in Highlands of Marin, just east of Highway 101 in San Rafael.

    Today, Kelly shares a one bedroom with her boys Kín, 5, and Che, 1.  She feels like she has come full circle, since her earliest memories are of going to the Marin Civic Center to watch her maternal grandfather, Peter Allen Smith, preside over the Superior Court.  “I just love that Frank Lloyd Wright building,” she said. “It’s really beautiful and nostalgic for me..”  Her mother, Anne Marie Smith, is an oncology nurse at Kaiser Permanente, which is even closer. “It’s a blessing for all of us,” Kelli said.

  • FAQ

    Where Do I Get Services?

    The Emergency Family Needs program is designed to assist people in the neighborhood where they are currently living or at an agency where they may already be receiving services. People should apply at the agency closest to where they live.

    The following are agencies which can help you in your neighborhood:

    Central Marin and County referrals

    Marin County Health and Human Svcs. 415.473.7175

    Central Marin

    Ritter Center, 415.457.8182Novato Area Residents
    Novato Human Needs, 415.897.4147, ext. 18

    Southern Marin

    Women Helping All People, 415.332.1703
    West MarinWest Marin Community Resource Center, 415.663.8361

    How often can I access Emergency Family Needs support for rent/mortgage payments, rental deposits, car repairs or special medical equipment?

    One time in five years.

    Who can use this benefit?

    This service is for families with children living in the home; veterans; victims of domestic violence, seniors, or disabled adults.

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