Marin County renters and landlords seeking rental assistance because of direct ties to the COVID-19 pandemic have until April 30 to join the County of Marin’s waitlist through a new online process.
County personnel, eager to prevent evictions and a new influx of homelessness, are working hard to distribute federal and state funds to local tenants on the verge of eviction and to landlords who have experienced sudden income losses. The County reopened its waitlist on March 25 and has since received another 199 applications for assistance. As of March 31, the County had paid out $22,244,466 in pandemic-related rental assistance to 1,409 recipients since the local program began in February 2021.
The emergency aid is being distributed as quickly as possible following recent increases in staffing and improvements in the application review process. Those most in need of the financial assistance tend to be the ones for whom participation barriers to access such a program are the highest. Community partners organizations are helping the County conduct outreach to applicants with low household incomes and the non-English speaking populations.
A new online portal is streamlining the process. Applicants need an email address and a password to enter the portal; instructions are on the County website as well. The site allows easier access to joining the waitlist, reviewing the application, providing additional information, or obtaining a letter to verify participation in the program.
The program is prioritizing applicants with incomes below 30% of Marin’s median household income and those who went 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.) The County’s waitlist does not assure that applicants will be approved to receive rental assistance, and state eviction protections may not apply for applications filed after March 31.
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 has been 30 to 60 days.
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 Marin, Canal Alliance, Community Action Marin, North Marin Community Services, Ritter Center, St. Vincent De Paul Society of Marin, West Marin Community Services, and Women Helping All People.
Anyone needing help with the online application may call (415) 473-2223 or email staff to learn more about the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
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.