Fairfax City Council, Marin County Board of Supervisors and San Rafael City Council all deserve recognition and appreciation following their respective approvals to extend a moratorium on residential evictions through September 30.
This policy deserves to be replicated in other Marin County jurisdictions to provide quick relief and housing stability to tenants in our community who continue to experience the negative economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
About one-third of Marin residents are renters. In communities like the Canal district in San Rafael, Southern Marin and Central Novato, the proportion of renters is even higher. We all know that housing is becoming increasingly unaffordable in Marin County and the Greater Bay Area, but housing insecurity disproportionately affects low-income people and people of color.
According to data from the 2018 American Community Survey, 55% of renters in Marin County spent more than 30% of their income on rent and are disproportionately represented by people of color, seniors and people with disabilities.
When people lose their homes, it creates a well-documented negative ripple effect that impacts the entire community. Relocation disrupts school, social life, families and professional relationships. It also has an impact on employers who are facing a shortage of staff as well as on our local economy.
When people are unable to find alternative housing, the impacts of homelessness further exacerbate existing inequalities.
Although housing assistance funds are available, Marin County and other communities have faced barriers to providing timely assistance to tenants. Marin currently has a waiting list of over 330 households. County officials have estimated it will take until September 30 to distribute those funds.
Judicial evictions for non-payment of rent have increased for people unable to pay April and May 2022 rent, many of whom are on the waiting list from previous months. Housing assistance funds will provide significant relief to tenants as well as landlords and the extension of the eviction moratorium supports the policy objective of providing housing assistance.
During the pandemic, a unique partnership has been formed that offers an example of what is possible through collective action. The Canal Policy Working Group (CPWG) engaged leaders from County, San Rafael, and nonprofit organizations serving Marin County to think and act together to address the disproportionate negative impact of the pandemic on residents of the Canal District in San Rafael.
The CPWG has learned and worked together to advance an equitable pandemic recovery through rent freezes, a moratorium on evictions, and access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and other services. We were honored to be part of this collaborative action for equity and we saw what is possible. When we work together, we can accomplish great things for our community.
As we adopt local policies and practices to continue recovery from the pandemic, we have an opportunity to change historical patterns of segregation and exclusion in Marin County in favor of equitable solutions that meet the needs of all. .
Our local nonprofits, Community Action Marin and Legal Aid of Marin, working in partnership with North Marin Community Services and Canal Alliance, among others, are committed to playing our part in an ongoing partnership to make Marin a fair place. where we can all be proud to live.
Protecting tenants who are experiencing ongoing economic hardship brought on by the prolonged pandemic is the fair thing to do.
We commend the leaders of Fairfax, County and San Rafael who have made the important decision to extend the eviction moratorium to meet current critical needs. We urge other cities and towns in Marin to follow suit.
Chandra Alexandre, from Novato, is CEO of Community Action Marin. Lucie Hollingsworth, of Novato, is Marin’s senior legal aid attorney.