County of Marin - News Releases - Pandemic Rental Assistance

For Immediate Release
May 04, 2021

Rental Assistance Events Set for May 19, 23

Those experiencing hardship because of pandemic may get help in person

San Rafael, CA – Just like the walk-in and mobile COVID-19 vaccination process made it easier to stop the virus’ spread in Marin County, two pop-up events on May 19 and May 23 will allow local residents experiencing financial hardship because of the pandemic to get in-person help with federal rental assistance.

Both events will take place at Exhibit Hall, in the back of the Marin County Fairgrounds at 20 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. The May 19 event will be from 4-8 p.m., and the May 23 event will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. No appointments will be necessary to receive assistance, and language translation services will be provided. Visitors only need to bring required documents. Assistance will be available for both landlords and tenants. Free tacos will be provided for those receiving services.

The events are being offered by the Marin County Community Development Agency and its community partners. Staff will be available to assist applicants who do not have access to a computer or smart phone or need additional assistance. Visitors may also receive a COVID-19 vaccine, applications for assistance with PG&E, and other community resources.

Low-income Marin residents and landlords can apply to receive 80% of unpaid back rent due between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021. Participating landlords are required to write off the remaining 20% of the unpaid back rent. There was $16 million allocated in February and March to the County as part of the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act intended to prevent evictions and homelessness. So far, money has been channeled directly to landlords for back rent and to coronavirus-affected tenants to cover rent and utilities. In Marin, more than 3,000 people – predominantly residents of color – have contacted the County for help with unpaid rent related to the pandemic.

The online application period for rental assistance has been open since March. The County is eager to guide residents who may need assistance with the online application. 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 is open for applications.

The state’s Business, Consumer Services & Housing Agency estimated as many as 1.5 million California renters were behind on rent for reasons tied to the pandemic. Clearing accumulated debt is designed to provide a lifeline to the hardest-hit families and provide income stability for landlords. Communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and are often at the highest risk of housing displacement.

“We realized quickly that those most in need of pandemic-related rental assistance face the most barriers to access a program like this,” said Leelee Thomas, CDA Planning Manager. “Sometimes it comes down to communication in multiple languages and hands-on assistance, which is why we planned these events. We are determined to ensure equitable distribution of funds.”

The $16 million from the federal government was on top of nearly $6 million in local funding already allocated. Marin’s safety-net rental assistance program started in March 2020 when the Marin County Board of Supervisors approved a local relief fund partnership with the Marin Community Foundation (MCF) to support the most financially needy local residents during COVID-19.

A 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.


Leelee Thomas
Planning Manager
Community Development Agency

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 308
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6697
Email: Leelee Thomas
Affordable Housing webpage