County of Marin - News Releases - COVID-19 Rental Assistance

For Immediate Release
January 07, 2022

Changes for COVID-Related Rental Assistance

New wait list designed to speed up application review process

San Rafael, CA – The County of Marin continues to channel federal and state funding into the hands of local tenants who are on the verge of eviction and to landlords who experienced sudden income losses during the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 1,000 Marin households have received the emergency aid thus far.

While the rental assistance work has been underway since the initiation of the program in February 2021, additional steps are now being implemented to speed up the assessment process and offer residents more transparency.

An exterior view of the Brookside Apartments at 300 Olema Road in Fairfax.A waitlist for rental assistance is being implemented because of high demand for the assistance and to prioritize those with low income and those at highest risk of eviction.

Beginning Saturday, January 8, all new applicants will be placed on a waitlist. That will allow the program staff to prioritize applicants with incomes below 30% of Marin’s median household income and who have been waiting the longest with unpaid rent. Thirty percent of the median household income in Marin is $38,400 for individuals, $$43,850 for households of two, $49,350 for three, and $54,800 for four. Thus far, more than 74% of program applicants have been those earning less than 30% of the median income.

The program has established multiple levels of review to ensure that applications meet eligibility criteria and the funds are spent to support the most vulnerable populations with the lowest income levels and those at risk of housing instability. The average time to approve a case once it reaches the final stage of review is 30 to 60 days.

Nationally, communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and are often at the highest risk of housing displacement. That has been true in Marin as well.

“The rental assistance program helps protect renters who are disproportionally people of color against eviction,” said Hyacinth Hinojosa, Director of the County’s Emergency Operations Center. “The waitlist is necessary because of high demand for this assistance and the program requirements to prioritize those with low income and those at risk of eviction.”

Since the end of the statewide eviction moratorium last fall, County staff has worked with nonprofit community partners to assure an equitable distribution of funds earmarked for eviction prevention during the pandemic. Several local agencies, such as Adopt A Family of MarinCanal AllianceCommunity Action MarinNorth Marin Community ServicesRitter CenterSt. Vincent De Paul Society of MarinWest Marin Community Services, and Women Helping All People.

About $15 million of the $30 million received in state and federal funds has been distributed or is already obligated to recipients, Hinojosa said. Once applicants living at 30% or below the county’s median income are served, staff will work to assist those living at 50% or below the median. 

The rental assistance team also is in the process of adding staff and a dashboard feature to its website that shows how funding is flowing to applicants.

Clearing accumulated tenant debt is designed to provide a lifeline to the hardest-hit families and provide income stability for landlords. 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. 

Between local, state, and federal funds, the County has $30.1 million available to prevent evictions and homelessness related to COVID-19. Earlier in the pandemic, nearly $6 million from the County and the Marin Community Foundation was distributed to the hardest hit households before state and federal funding began to flow. Thus far, 1,002 households have received rental assistance through the County program.

Anyone needing help with the online application may call (415) 473-2223 or email staff to learn more about the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Starting January 8, all applications will be placed on the waitlist. The waitlist does not assure those who apply will receive rental assistance payments.

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.


Hy Hinojosa
Deputy County Administrator, Emergency Operations Center Director
County Administrator's Office

1600 Los Gamos Drive
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6358
Email: Hy Hinojosa
County Administrator website