Additional $7.75 million in federal support will go to those experiencing hardship
More federal stimulus money is being provided to Marin County renters who have experienced economic hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The County of Marin is receiving an estimated $7.75 million by early February as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, passed by Congress in late December. The funding is earmarked for current and past rent, current and past utilities and home energy costs, and other housing expenses tied to the viral outbreak.
The federal money totals $2.6 billion in all, and $1.2 billion of that is being distributed to cities and counties across the nation with a population of more than 200,000. Marin officials were notified this week of its new allotment.
The $7.75 million is 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. The latest distribution from the local fund, an allotment of $2.8 million, came December 15, 2020.
“We are grateful to receive these funds to address a serious community issue,” said County Administrator Matthew Hymel. “These funds will be used along with the County and MCF funds that were previously allocated. We appreciate MCF for stepping up early to address this urgent need.”
Anyone who is homeless, qualified for unemployment benefits, experienced a reduction in income, incurred significant COVID-related costs, or endured other financial hardship due to the coronavirus is eligible to apply for the new funding. 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.
Earlier, the County created a new phone number and email address to guide residents with requests for financial rental assistance during the crisis. Anyone needing help paying rent may call (415) 473-2223 or email staff to learn more about the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which is open for applications.
The new phone line was created to provide specialized aid to individuals seeking rental assistance regardless of citizenship status. Call center staff will ask potential applicants a few questions to move toward eligibility for the financial assistance. Applicants will be asked to provide proof of residency and income.
To prevent virus-related homelessness, the Supervisors passed local eviction moratoriums several times over the past year before the state enacted its own evictions ban. Most recently, the Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution January 12 that continues to bar evictions through June for people economically impacted by the coronavirus.
With much of the state under public health sheltering orders, including Marin, widespread financial ramifications tied to COVID-19 have continued and justified the additional local rental assistance program funding.