The Marin Community Foundation in Novato, California, has announced a five-year, $10 million initiative designed to increase the amount of affordable housing available to low-income families, seniors, and others in Marin County.
Developed in conjunction with local affordable housing developers, advocates, funders, and community agencies, the initiative will support strategies such as encouraging effective zoning changes, turning foreclosed homes into affordable options, developing new rental units, and creating safe and livable housing for Marin's agricultural workers and their families. Examples include Habitat for Humanity and Northbay Family Homes' partnership with the foundation to rehabilitate vacant Marin residences, which will then be made available for purchase by low-income families.
To spearhead and build community support for the effort, the foundation is partnering with the Greenbelt Alliance and the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California. On the policy front, the foundation will coordinate with area municipalities to help them fulfill zoning and planning requirements that support affordable housing.
The initiative also aims to help prevent individuals and families from slipping into homelessness. To that end, the foundation has provided a grant to the Marin Housing Authority to help families with emergency funding for such things as medical expenses and car repairs. "Many families are one small crisis away from not being able to pay their rent or mortgage payment," said MCF president Thomas Peters. "It is both financially more efficient and certainly more humane to offer help early rather than to find a family homeless later."