(BCN) — The Marin County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution Tuesday to protect residents from evictions and late fees for nonpayment due to COVID-19-related financial losses.
The resolution will reestablish Marin County’s local eviction moratorium, which was superseded by Assembly Bill 2179 in March. The bill was enacted by the state legislature to provide protection from eviction for renters facing financial hardships during the pandemic.
While these state-level eviction protections are set to expire after June 30, the local moratorium will stay effective and protect tenants in unincorporated Marin from July 1 through Sept. 30.
Extending the moratorium by three months will allow Marin County to continue making federal and state funds available for rental assistance.
Over $36 million in federal and state funds have been granted to the Marin County Emergency Rental Assistance Program in order to provide COVID-19 rent relief, according to county documents. So far, about $22 million of that fund has been distributed to over 1,000 Marin families.
On a national level, the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected communities of color and put them at a higher risk of housing displacement.
In Marin, over two-thirds of non-Hispanic white residents are homeowners, but roughly three-quarters of both Black and Hispanic/Latinx communities are renters. The eviction moratorium seeks to protect these disproportionately affected communities.
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The adoption of the moratorium was recommended to supervisors by officials with the county’s Community Development Agency, who said that extending the moratorium through September will protect families while the county processes an influx of rental assistance applications that has backlogged the funding dispersion.
“We haven’t been able to disseminate the [remaining] money,” said Aline Tanielian, a planner with the agency. “We needed to enact protection in the meantime to ensure those that are on the waitlist are protected while they wait for assistance.”
The remaining amount is anticipated to be spent by Sept. 30. Priority will be given to low-income residents. Local agencies in Marin County have stepped up to help applicants further the rental assistance process.
“We’re very concerned about inflationary pressures for families that we’re serving,” said Cheryl Paddack, CEO of North Marin Community Services.
The Novato-based organization offers emergency rental assistance through one-time financial support and have also partnered with Marin County’s program.
“During the pandemic, we definitely saw an increase in need,” said Paddack’s colleague Liliana Palu, community support services manager. “In regards to rental assistance, we were able to join what was then a weekly collaboration meeting with the county of Marin and other partner organizations to come together and support residents of Marin County.”
Through their outreach, case workers at organization help residents navigate their rental assistance applications and documentation. They also host Legal Aid of Marin on site every Monday to consult any tenant questions regarding their rights and eviction notices.
Paddack reports seeing about a 33-percent increase in need and assistance since the beginning of the pandemic and have since expanded their organization to meet demand.
The eviction moratorium will be considered Tuesday by the Novato City Council.
Marin county officials recommend that anyone in need of help with the online rental assistance application call (415) 473-2223 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Further information about the eviction moratorium can be found on the County’s COVID-19 Renter Protections webpage.
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