Marin stands able to donate tens of millions to pandemic help

Marin County’s administrators are preparing for a flood of funding to provide rental and income support to residents affected by the pandemic.

The Board of Supervisors officially accepted federal funding of approximately $ 7.8 million for rental support provided through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. The legislation was approved in December as a consequence of the well-known Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act of 2020 like the CARES Act.

Angela Nicholson, an assistant administrator for Marin County, told regulators Tuesday that the county would receive an additional $ 8.2 million in rental support through the Consolidated Appropriations Act by early next month.

In addition, regulators accepted a $ 500,000 grant from the Marin Community Foundation to be distributed to low-income individuals who tested positive for the coronavirus. The funds are intended as an incentive to quarantine.

The $ 7.8 million that regulators accepted Tuesday came direct from the federal government, but the additional $ 8.2 million will be channeled through the state government. To qualify for this, Marin must agree to spend every $ 16 million through August, the deadline set by the state.

“It’s a good problem to have,” said Nicholson.

The county also has $ 2.6 million in rental support that it did not spend from previous assignments. Prior to this new infusion of rental subsidies, approximately $ 5.7 million had been allocated for this purpose, with $ 2.5 million from the Marin Community Foundation, $ 2.24 million from the federal government, and US $ 1 million. Dollars came from the county general fund.

To date, around 1,550 Marin households have received rental support through the program, and 1,400 are on a waiting list.

Unless the county chooses to decline the additional $ 8.2 million run by the state, it must accept additional state rules for allocating the money.

“The state has made the landlord agreement mandatory,” said Nicholson. “The state allows a landlord to apply in coordination with a tenant. As in the past, these payments go directly to the landlord. “

She said that under state rules, tenants can get funding to repay 80% of the unpaid rent for the previous year if the landlord agrees to give the other 20%.

“If the landlord doesn’t agree,” said Nicholson, “we can pay the person a maximum of 25%.”

A state law signed on September 1 provided eviction protection for tenants who paid 25% of the rental debt accrued between September 1 and January 31.

On January 29, Governor Newsom signed Senate Draft 91, which extended the eviction moratorium to June 30. According to SB 91, tenants must pay 25% of the rent back accrued since September 1 by June 30th or must be vacated.

In the past, based on this 25% requirement, Marin County has attempted to take advantage of its rental support funding by adjusting its allocations so that as many tenants as possible achieve this goal. Now that the landlords have to approve the agreement, it is possible that some will not be happy with a minimal payment.

“My concern is that not everyone has a 20% profit margin on their homes,” said Joby Tapia, secretary of the Marin Rental Property Association. “While it’s great that they get 80% of their rent back, 100% of taxes, 100% of utilities, and 100% of sellers’ bills, it’s still due, not to mention 100% of the mortgage. ”

Supervisor Katie Rice said Tuesday that she finds out many Mamas and Pops landlords have suffered a financial blow due to the pandemic.

“What do we do with property tax payments and penalty relief?” She asked. “Is that still part of our mix?”

District administrator Matthew Hymel said the district continues to adhere to an executive order issued in March by Governor Gavin Newsom that provides for late remission of property taxes if taxpayers can prove they have got into economic trouble under the pandemic.

Nicholson said the county is stepping up to cope with the burden of managing the expanded program. The district is developing an online application. In the past, applicants were interviewed by telephone. The county is also in the process of signing contracts with several local nonprofits to help staff a rental support team.

“We think we need about 20 people to make sure we can get the money out the door by the deadline,” said Nicholson.