For Immediate ReleaseOctober 01, 2021
Those experiencing hardship because of pandemic are encouraged to apply
San Rafael, CA – Some temporary protections for renters during the COVID-19 pandemic will remain after the end of the statewide eviction moratorium, and the County of Marin will continue to assist tenants with rental assistance.
County staff has worked with community partners to assure an equitable distribution of federal funds earmarked for eviction prevention during the pandemic. All renters have been protected by state law, regardless of citizenship status, during the public health emergency. With Assembly Bill 832 expired as of September 30, landlords have legal freedom to pursue deferred unpaid rent, although state law requires landlords to demonstrate that they have applied for rental assistance and been denied.
The County is processing rental assistance applications as quickly as possible and adding staff to accommodate assistance applications, said Planning Manager Leelee Thomas. Board of Supervisors President Dennis Rodoni is supportive of the commitment.
“It’s important to convey information about rights and responsibilities of both tenants and landlords with the expiration of AB 832,” Rodoni said. “Landlords can be assured there is enough funding to cover the assistance that’s been requested so far, but it will take some time as we work to ensure compliance with the federal and state rules.”
Property owners may call the District Attorney’s Consumer Protection Unit at (415) 473-6450 for assistance on rights and responsibilities. Renters are encouraged to contact Legal Aid of Marin at (415) 492-0230, extension 102, for inquiries on eviction protections.
Between state and federal funds, the County has been allocated $33 million to prevent evictions and homelessness during COVID-19. The $33 million was in addition to nearly $6 million in local funding already allocated earlier in the pandemic, including funds from the County and the Marin Community Foundation. About $20 million thus far has been channeled directly to landlords for back rent and to coronavirus-affected tenants to cover rent and utilities.
In Marin, there is no way of knowing how many tenants are behind on rent, but more than 2,100 applications have been received by the County from renters all over the county and from all walks of life for help with unpaid rent related to the pandemic (some applications may be duplicates). The highest percentage have come from Marin’s largest city, San Rafael. Thus far, 751 households have received rental assistance from the County.
A Marin household of three with an income at or below $125,000 a year is eligible if they are qualified for unemployment benefits, experienced a reduction in income, incurred significant COVID-related costs, are at risk of homelessness or endured other financial hardship due to the coronavirus. Priority is given to households that are considered extremely low income, which in Marin would be a family of three with an income of no more than $43,550. Nationally, communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and are often at the highest risk of housing displacement.
Clearing accumulated debt is designed to provide a lifeline to the hardest-hit families and provide income stability for landlords. Several local agencies, such as Canal Alliance, Community Action Marin, and North Bay Community Services, are assisting applicants with the process. Anyone needing help with the online application may call (415) 473-2223 or email staff to learn more about the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which remains open for applications.
Leelee ThomasPlanning ManagerCommunity Development Agency
3501 Civic Center DriveSuite 308San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-6697Email: Leelee ThomasAffordable Housing webpage