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Strong People. Resilient Marin.

Strong People. Resilient Marin.

Posted on Category Stories, Uncategorized
For over 50 years, we’ve been there when Marin needed us most. With your help, the Step Up Community Fund can continue to make a difference.

 

With a commitment to drive equity and fight the causes and consequences of poverty, Community Action Marin partners in community to serve and center the people most impacted by today’s challenges. Together, we make it possible for people to achieve well-being by providing the education, mental health, and vital services needed to ensure that their most pressing needs are met and their strengths are brought to the work of creating a thriving community.

Our work cuts across five service areas: Economic Opportunity and Workforce Development, Children and Family Services, Safety Net, Mental Health, and Equity Initiatives. The staff on these teams work hand-in-hand with families and individuals living with the realities of persistent poverty and today’s uncertainty.

Marin is the least equitable county by race across all indicators of well-being in California, from income and education to life-expectancy. Serving over 5,000 people each year along a crisis-to-thriving continuum, we take a holistic approach to eliminating poverty and ensuring improved outcomes across generations. Helping immigrant, low-income, and communities of color, the work we do improves family health, mental strength, and financial stability as people live their best lives on the road to self-sufficiency and realized dreams.

Recently, the urgency of our work has intensified with the coronavirus pandemic affecting the most marginalized members of our community.  Particularly now, a holistic approach is needed for the overall health and well-being of those we serve, and the agency is responding with strengthened partnerships as well as more services and programs.

To support families during this difficult time, Community Action Marin asks for your support of our Step Up Community Fund. Your gift of any size will provide services and resources to those most impacted by the pandemic, helping people to not only meet their most basic needs, but also to support themselves on the road to self-sufficiency.

Families of low income face more hurdles in supporting themselves.

Marin County has some of the highest incomes per capita in the United States, but it also has the widest gap between rich and poor and the greatest racial inequities in California. The cost of living in Marin has risen 48% in just four years, straining the household budget of the working poor who live paycheck to paycheck and struggle to afford healthy food, quality education for their children, and housing expenses. For these individuals and families whose incomes barely cover basic needs, emergencies such as medical expenses or layoffs can tip them into deep poverty and homelessness.

In a survey of our clients in June 2020, 56% reported that paying for rent was a top priority or concern. Many echoed one respondent’s sentiment that it was, “a toss-up between rent and food.” Others, however, really expressed a need for cash to support the basics for themselves and their families, such as laundry, gas, medical bills, clothes for children, insurance, and cleaning supplies.

One shared, “I have three outstanding medical bills, plus dentist. I am trying to make tiny payments for hearing aids. But the bit of babysitting I was doing dried up with the virus outbreak. I’d love help with any of these bills. Thank you.”

With the business shutdowns, furloughs, and economic instability due to federal and local COVID-19 safety measures, the economically vulnerable families we serve are facing new hardships. Many Marin parents are out of work, and their families need urgent assistance to stay afloat and be able to afford ongoing rent, food, and childhood education expenses. They also need quality mental health support to help them navigate these unprecedented times and we have extended our emotional support “warm line” to meet needs seven days a week, 9am to midnight.  We also initiated a Spanish warm line to meet community needs.

Our whole-family approach provides essential services responding to a range of needs.

Recognizing that a holistic approach is needed for the overall health and well-being of the families we serve, Community Action Marin offers a comprehensive range of services that takes all family members’ needs into account. Our work is rooted in the understanding that integrating services to address the needs of both parents and children is critical in building the self-sufficiency of families to lift themselves out of poverty. Our program cuts across five service areas – Economic Opportunity and Workforce Development, Children and Family Services, Safety Net, Mental Health, and Equity Initiatives – which work hand-in-hand to support families that live with the realities of persistent poverty.

  • Economic Opportunity and Workforce Development Services: Our agency helps put long-term financial security within reach by providing access to training and job opportunities. We also offer financial management counseling so parents find their own way to self-sufficiency, such as by exploring career options, learning how to access government benefits, or starting a small business.
  • Children and Family Services: Children find a safe, nurturing, home-away-from-home in our Child Development Centers, where they receive free, high-quality education, care, and nutrition.
  • Safety Net: We help families cover unexpected financial emergencies to keep a roof over their heads and the lights on at home, ensuring that their children continue to receive the care and resources they need to thrive.
  • Mental Health: Families struggling with mental health challenges find a vital support system through our mobile outreach teams and peer support services, which provide a warm and caring atmosphere to help families manage a successful recovery.
  • Equity Initiatives: Our agency monitors Marin County’s performance in providing residents with equitable access to housing, healthcare, education, and economic opportunities. We work with partners across government, community, public, and private sectors to ensure that everyone in Marin can lead a life of dignity.

Taken together, these different services give families improved access to tools and resources so both parents and their children meet their health and developmental needs. With access to healthy meals and high-quality care and education, children gain the enriching learning experiences they need to thrive. Through job opportunities, workforce development programs, and coaching services, parents get closer to achieving financial stability for their families.

We will continue to help individuals and families weather this period of financial and health insecurity. With your support of the Step Up Community Fund, we can reach more families in Marin and give them the opportunities they need to support themselves. In doing so, we help strengthen the fabric of our neighborhoods, ensuring fair and lasting change in service to better outcomes for all.