For Immediate ReleaseApril 17, 2020
Residents can also contribute to emergency fund to help vulnerable residents
San Rafael, CA – In the first week after the County of Marin and nonprofit Marin Community Foundation (MCF) created a $1 million fund to assist vulnerable populations amid the COVID-19 response, demand quickly overwhelmed supply. It quickly became evident that the greatest need was in the area of immediate rental assistance.
“It’s clear we need to continue focusing on providing emergency rental assistance to those in our community who may have lost their jobs because of this pandemic and are the most economically disadvantaged,” Board President Katie Rice said. “Addressing socioeconomic and racial equity were already big priorities for the County before this emergency, and we need to take actions that will limit the equity gap from getting wider.”
On April 21, the County and MCF will bring a proposal to the Marin County Board of Supervisors to double the original commitment from March 24 and add another $1 million ($500,000 each) to augment the fund.
As part of the agenda item, the Board will consider approving a $1 million master contract that would apply to contracts between the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and local homeless rental assistance providers. Those providers would assure that allocations reach the most vulnerable populations.
Marin County Administrator Matthew Hymel said the emergency funds are meant to offer short-term assistance before federal and state support arrives. County staff has worked as quickly as possible to distribute the funds to qualified recipients.
After the safety-net fund was created and publicized, 1,475 applications were received with requests for rental assistance. Many more applications have come in since then. The partnering agencies quickly distributed April rental assistance to 487 low-income residents, approaching $800,000 in allocations.
The parties are also appealing to the community for additional donations which can be directed toward rental assistance for low-income residents during April and May. Through the COVID-19 Fund of MCF, contributions can be earmarked for emergency rental assistance, and will also be leveraged for food distribution and specialized services for older adults and people with disabilities. To date, $1 million has been distributed through this fund to the following nonprofits emergency services:
Those wishing to make a donation can go to the MCF donation website. Donors wishing to direct a contribution toward rental assistance can specify that as an instruction.
The County was also recently allocated $938,065 from the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) process as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law on March 27. More than $2 trillion in economic relief is designed to protect Americans from the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19. Marin HHS plans to work staff from the Community Development Agency, the County Administrator’s Office, and partnering jurisdictions to allocate the CARES Act resources for low-income subsistence payments.
Ashley Hart McIntyreHomelessness Policy AnalystDepartment of Health and Human Services
1776 E. Francisco Blvd.San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-3501Email: Ashley Hart McIntyreMarin HHS website