Leaders Pledge to Keep Working Towards $26/Hr Goal
After 48 Marin Organizing Committee leaders participated in the Marin Board of Supervisors meeting, joined by numerous people online and supported by 50 letters/emails that had been submitted earlier, the Board of Supervisors voted to increase the salaries of In-Home Support Services (IHSS) caregivers to $18/hour.
Leaders delivered compelling testimony in-person and online, and were joined by allies including InSpirit health care workers, care recipients and SEIU 2015 (who represents caregivers). MOC leaders provided moving testimony about the limited nature of IHSS time allotments for each recipient. For example, transportation to and from a doctor’s office is allotted only 12 minutes per week, and if the client could theoretically walk into the office herself the caregiver would not be paid while waiting to drive the client home.Read more
Over 70 MOC leaders recently assembled to launch an individual meeting campaign and plan next steps for a campaign to raise the wages of caregivers. Leaders have been writing and testifying in support of lifting the wage floor from $16.96 per hour to a living wage.
"Caregiving work is skilled and dangerous. These same workers were applauded nightly during the pandemic for their willingness to show up at a time when there were no vaccines, when we had no idea how coronavirus spread, when they couldn’t find masks or gloves to protect themselves...Read more
"Ross Valley residents and civic leaders testified this week in support of maintaining a children’s center for low-income families at Deer Park in Fairfax...
Gail Dorph of the Marin Organizing Committee said the value of supporting children extends to the whole community. “The world exists because of the breath of small children,” she said. “When we support children, we’re supporting the existence of the world.”
[Photo Credit: Alan Dep, Marin Independent Journal]
Ross Valley Residents Extol Value of Child Care Center, Marin Independent Journal [pdf]
Marin Organizing Committee (MOC) has for several years worked toward developing permanent housing solutions for unsheltered people. That goal was advanced Tuesday, as the Marin County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to accept a state "Project Homekey" grant and move forward with a site in an abandoned nursing home, creating permanent supportive housing for 43 people.
Hundreds of leaders from MOC member institutions signed and shared the petition in support of the project, wrote letters to the Board, and spoke at the Board meeting both in person and over Zoom. While the project faced significant opposition, MOC demonstrated to elected officials that MOC leaders support and believe in this project.
[In photo: Former nursing home to be converted into permanent, supportive housing. Credit: Shary LaVars, Marin Independent Journal]
Marin Voice: In Support of ‘Housing First,’ Supervisors Should Push for Larkspur Homekey Site, Marin Independent Journal [pdf]
With more than 100 new housing vouchers dedicated for the homeless coming to Marin from President Biden’s housing plan, city and county leaders are proposing to pool approximately $2 million to hire case managers to help get people off the streets, and fast.
Marin’s two largest cities have thrown their support behind the county effort. San Rafael and Novato city councils voted unanimously last week to contribute $260,000 and $240,000, respectively.
During its budget hearings set for June 21 through 23, the Marin County Board of Supervisors also will consider adding $1.2 million to the pot, said Matthew Hymel, county administrator.
Local jurisdictions are using an influx of federal aid from the American Rescue Plan to pay for the contributions. The county of Marin is receiving $50 million, while San Rafael is receiving a total of $16 million and Novato is getting approximately $9 million.
Pat Langley, a member of the Marin Organizing Committee activist group, said homeless people need more help.
“This is a blessing,” she said of the plan. “But without an adequate number of case managers to assure that rental units are located and people are transitioned into their new homes we would not be able to take advantage of this opportunity.”
Hening, whose part-time contract with the city ends June 30, is remaining in Marin to continue work with Opening Doors Marin as an independent consultant on homeless initiatives throughout the county. He was a full-time city employee from 2016 through May 2020. His final salary was $10,952 a month. He has been working on a part-time contract since June 2020, earning $150 an hour.
[Photo Credit: Sherry LaVars Marin Independent Journal]
Marin Could Pool Up to $2 Million for Homeless Initiative, Marin Independent Journal [pdf]
Months of hard work by Marin Organizing Committee leaders paid off as San Rafael, Novato, and Marin County enacted rent increase moratoriums in areas most affected by the coronavirus pandemic. MOC advocated for a freeze on rent increases since last summer, when it became clear that the economic effects of COVID-19 would leave renters saddled with thousands of dollars of debt. With statewide protections on the verge of expiring, MOC leaders redoubled their efforts after the new year. On January 18th, 200 MOC leaders assembled on Zoom with a Marin County Supervisor and two San Rafael City Councilmembers. During the meeting, MOC leaders asked these officials to commit to working with MOC around the issue of rent freezes.
The next day, the San Rafael City Council unanimously voted for a moratorium on rent increases in the Canal neighborhood through the end of 2021. The following week, the Novato City Council followed suit, voting unanimously to approve a rent freeze through 2021 in three city census tracts hardest hit by the pandemic.
On February 9th, the Marin County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a ban on rent increases in parts of unincorporated Marin County, thereby including those who reside outside city limits who would have been left unprotected by the Novato and San Rafael ordinances.
These emergency measures will provide thousands of families much-needed time to recover from the devastating financial impacts of the pandemic. MOC leaders will continue to fight for expanded emergency protections and an equitable and smooth distribution of rental assistance funds to renters and landlords.
[Photo Credit: Ethan Swope/Special to Marin Independent Journal]
Marin Activists Seek Rent Freeze During Coronavirus Crisis, Marin Independent Journal
San Rafael Bans Rent Hikes in Pandemic-Stressed Canal, Marin Independent Journal
Novato Enacts Limited Rent Freeze for Pandemic Relief, Marin Independent Journal [pdf]
Marin County Weighs Pandemic Rent Freeze in 2 Census Tracts, Marin Independent Journal [pdf]
Marin Voice: County Supervisors Should Approve Rent-Increase Moratorium-by MOC's own Sami Mericle and Marta Villela, Marin Independent Journal [pdf]
California IAF Leverages Covid-19 Relief for Undocumented Immigrants Using Old-School Practices on New Technologies
When politics, like most other activities, was forced to migrate online, the IAF didn’t seem an obvious winner. For 80 years, the group has embraced one-on-one conversations and “house meetings” to create organized communities whose strong bonds endure beyond a single campaign. These relationships, forged in person, smoothed the transition to digital organizing.
After the virus hit, a flurry of texts, calls and social media outreach followed as California’s IAF groups scrambled to get their people on Zoom calls. The news was grim: Budgets were tight and layoffs widespread. Undocumented people, often the hardest-hit population, were excluded from most forms of aid. The Cal-EITC push emerged from these digital house meetings. “It came from the lament of the people,” said the Rev. Arturo Corral of Our Lady Queen of Angels / La Placita Catholic Church in Los Angeles, a One LA leader.
In late April, local leaders began gathering Zoom participants from their local networks. Meanwhile, organizers sought out influential lawmakers, focusing on three Budget Committee members: State Assembly members David Chiu and Eloise Gómez Reyes and State Sen. Maria Elena Durazo. All three pledged to work to expand the tax credit.
The IAF groups were “not at all” confident that the tax credit expansion would end up in the governor’s budget. “Most people told us this was not going to happen,” [One LA Lead Organizer Robert] Hoo said. But after weeks of further organizing, it was included in Gov. Newsom’s June 30 budget.
[Photo Credit: Brent Stirton/Getty Images]
After more than 1,200 leaders gathered online, signed petitions and pressed upon state legislators the importance of expanding access to state Earned Income Tax Credit benefits to undocumented taxpayers, California IAF leaders declared a victory for essential workers.
“We commend Governor Newsom and state legislators for investing in families, especially during a deficit year,” said Rabbi Susan Leider with Congregation Kol Shofar, Marin Organizing Committee. “We know they have faced enormous pressure to cut back, and instead they have paid in. This tax credit is not just a one time handout, but will help families year after year. Our leaders have been working for months to make sure our essential workers aren’t left behind, and this is a huge step forward.”
While not a full expansion to all undocumented workers, the tax credit will help tens of thousands of families with at least one child under the age of six who pay their taxes using an ITIN. Some households may receive up to $2,600 each year, depending on their income and family size, a significant investment in some of the most vulnerable families impacted by the pandemic.
Allies also celebrated the victory, including Senator Maria Elena Durazo: “Under the states’ current economic situation, we are happy to be able to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit program for ITIN filing California families.... Thank you to the California IAF members for continuing to push for this inclusion, which United Way sees as a fundamental tool to move families out of poverty. With your continued advocacy, California will move out of this global pandemic, a more united and inclusive state.”
California IAF Declares a Victory for Essential Workers, California IAF
No Relief Here, Voices of Monterey Bay
Immigrant Workers Face Economic Uncertainty During Covid-19 Shutdown, America Magazine [pdf]
Sami Mericle, a representative of the Marin Organizing Committee, thanked the board for acting to further protect vulnerable renters during the health emergency but urged supervisors to “continue to explore ways to keep workers housed for the duration of the public health crisis and the economic recession that is already upon us.”
“An additional month of breathing room will still not be enough time for households who have lost several months of income,” Mericle said. “Even once the shelter-in-place is fully lifted, we expect the demand for jobs such as gardeners, house cleaners and restaurant workers will still be diminished, leaving many people unemployed.”
Marin Supervisors Extend Moratorium On Residential Evictions, Marin Independent Journal [pdf]
Over the objections of commercial landlords, the Marin County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution on Tuesday granting renters additional time to repay back rent in response to a push by Marin Organizing Committee (MOC) and allies. As a result, residential and commercial tenants in Marin will have 90 days after a countywide moratorium on evictions expires on May 31 to repay back rent, plus added protections.
Said Reverend Tom Gable of Marin Lutheran Church and MOC:
“We are particularly supportive of the new language that prohibits harassment, allows tenants to self-certify their inability to pay, and requires tenants to be notified of their rights before a landlord can take action in court.”
However, leaders continue to push for more. According to MOC leaders, "90 days is an impossible timeline for renters to repay rent they missed during the shelter-in-place order. We risk spawning a second public health crisis if we allow Marin families to be thrown out of their homes as a result.”
Marin Tenants Given Extra 90 Days to Repay Back Rent, Marin Independent Journal [pdf]
Marin Renters Allotted $1M More In Pandemic Aid, Marin Independent Journal