For Immediate ReleaseMay 13, 2020
CARES Act money to be directed to households hardest hit by COVID-19 crisis
San Rafael, CA – With housing assistance and community development needs on the rise because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the County of Marin made several moves May 12 to allow for the acceptance of federal funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The actions clear the way to provide subsistence payments, also known as short-term rental assistance, directed to Marin households hit the hardest by the public health emergency.
The Marin County Board of Supervisors approved an amendment to a 2019 plan to access funding available through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which provides resources for housing, community facilities, and services for low- and moderate-income households and are managed by staff from the Community Development Agency (CDA).
The funds are not to be confused with the $150 billion allocated to state and large local governments with more than 500,000 residents. Jurisdictions with fewer people, such as Marin, still have not received any of that federal funding.
The CARES Act federal assistance also is separate from and in addition to the COVID-19 Fund of MCF, created by the Marin Community Foundation and the County. Although MCF and the County contributed $1 million each to that fund, resources were quickly tapped in a matter of weeks. The CARES Act Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-CV) funds will be administered through nonprofit partners distributing other rental assistance dollars provided by County and MCF contributions. Those in need of rental assistance are encouraged to call the County’s COVID-19 information line at 415-473-7191 to make a request.
The CARES Act, signed into law March 27, provided the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) $5 billion in additional CDBG funding to appropriate to state and local governments. To date HUD has distributed $2 billion of these funds.
With the May 12 Board decisions, $938,065 in CARES Act funds will be distributed to prevent, prepare for, and respond to impacts of COVID-19 based on public health needs and disruptions to the local economy and housing market. After conferring with crisis personnel in the Marin County Emergency Operations Center and consulting with other cities and towns, staff determined the greatest needs for low-income communities in this time of crisis is in the form of subsistence payments for Marin residents who are housed and at risk of homelessness because of the pandemic.
Meantime, residents have access to a new online resource that provides step-by-step guidance on the gradual return to normalcy. The website, MarinRecovers.com, connects Marin County residents, business owners, community leaders, and public health professionals to collaborate on reopening the economy and community in a safe manner. The County is working with local industry advisory groups to provide recommendations about how an industry – from retail to recreation to rental properties – could reopen in compliance with public health orders.
Those wishing to make a donation to the COVID-19 Fund of MCF can go to the donation website. Donors wishing to direct a contribution toward rental assistance can specify that as an instruction.
Molly KronPlannerCommunity Development Agency
3501 Civic Center DriveSuite 304San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-7549Email: Molly KronCDA Website