marin equity coalition

van jones thumb
 Laura Stivers
By Laura Stivers
Monday, November 14, 2016

Many of us here in Marin feel a responsibility for reducing environmental impacts from climate change and pollution. Installing solar panels, purchasing a Prius, and religiously recycling have become common practices, along with a passionate desire to protect open space.

All of these actions are good, but are they sufficient?

Our love affair with single-family homes and our cars contributes to sprawling development patterns, rising rents and home prices, heavy car use, increasingly wider highways and a growing divide in social and racial equity.

People in the lowest economic sectors of Marin are being squeezed out. Many who work here — including teachers, firefighters and police officers — can’t afford to live here.

affordable housing

I keep hearing people say "We don't have any real definition of affordable housing." Yes we do. It's been in place for some decades now. Your housing is not affordable if you have to pay more than 30% of your income to cover the costs of your housing. Your housing is affordable if you are paying 30% or less of your income towards your housing costs. (See documents referenced below.) (1, 2)

Example: you are a single mom who works as a medical assistant. Your salary is $36,000. To be affordable, your rent should be $900 a month or less. Good luck because in Marin, the average one bedroom apartment is $2,297.(3)

By Richard Halstead, Marin Independent Journal
Thursday, November 10, 2016
supesLandlords renting property in unincorporated Marin are now prohibited from discriminating against people using Section 8 housing vouchers and other third-party housing subsidies.
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted unanimously to adopt a “fair housing” ordinance after conducting a second reading and public hearing on the new law.
“I think it is important to remember that this ordinance does not require landlords to rent to Section 8 (voucher holders),” said Supervisor Judy Arnold. “It requires landlords to consider their applications. Landlords can still screen those applicants as they would any other applicant and if appropriate deny them accordingly.”
Supervisor Steve Kinsey said, “It’s not a ticket to ride; it’s a ticket to be considered for a ride.”
A number of people spoke out in support of the ordinance during Tuesday’s public hearing; two landlords voiced their objections.
Wally Graham said, “I don’t accept Section 8 vouchers for a very good reason. When the tenant destroys my property, I get a letter from the Section 8 people saying we won’t pay your rent unless you take care of the damage done by the Section 8 tenant.”

angela glover blackwell

Armed with a better understanding of not only which neighborhoods are struggling, but why they are struggling, local officials can develop solutions for the unique problems in their areas.

By Angela Glover Blackwell

Last Wednesday, the Obama administration released new housing rules that will dramatically strengthen the way our nation addresses segregation—a move that has been met with staunch blowback from the right. The disconnect between their criticism and the support the rule has received from housing experts, progressives, and countless local government underscores this reality: a country that condemns segregation as a malady of its past must own up to the legacy of exclusion, disinvestment, and disadvantage this practice has left in its wake—and do something to change it.