Background and Purpose

At the forefront of the County of Marin’s workforce focus is a desire to make the County a place where our employees can thrive and sustainably grow in their careers, through their work and their commitment to the community. To support this, the County Board of Supervisors set aside $250,000 in 2019 to create a pilot Employee Housing Assistance Program for County of Marin employees. Developed in partnership with representatives from our labor organizations, this pilot program aims to enable employees to live closer to their workplace, closer to convenient public transportation, and/or provide assistance for employees in vulnerable housing situations by providing up to $7,500 to be used towards eligible housing expenses such as one month’s rent payment, security deposit, moving expenses and short-term storage costs.

Approximately 55% of County employees commute into Marin and of these, over 60% make the drive alone. There is a significant opportunity to alleviate some of the direct and indirect pressures resulting from this circumstance, and the Employee Housing Assistance Program is designed to help make these options available for our employees. Priority funding is given to employees in vulnerable housing situations.

Read below for information about eligibility, selection criteria, the application process and timeline. Forms may be obtained from the internal (HUB) website.

Open All Panels

  • Eligibility

    The program is opened to all full-time and part-time regular hire County of Marin employees, including fixed-term employees. Employees may apply for housing assistance for a new rental lease that started within 90 calendar days of the application due date or be planning a move within an upcoming nine (9) month period.

    Eligible Expenses

    Eligible expenses may include rent payment, security deposit, moving expenses, and short-term storage costs, with a maximum amount not to exceed $7,500 per applicant. Examples of eligible moving expenses include reasonable costs to pack and move personal possessions and/or transportation costs such as a moving van/truck rental. Detailed documentation, including a signed lease agreement, itemized receipts and proof of payment must be submitted with any disbursement request. Disbursement requests are eligible if they are for expenses related to a move that has taken place within the past 90 days.

    Ineligible Expenses and Programs

    The following expenses are currently not eligible for financial assistance: home purchase, refinance, property investment, vacation rental and home rehab/modification or furniture purchases.

    Tax and Repayment

    Employees who receive assistance and work at least 18 months after the initial disbursement will be taxed on the full amount in the year during which 18 months has elapsed since the initial disbursement and will not have to repay any of the amount. For example, if an employee receives an initial disbursement on October 1, 2019 and works past April 1, 2021, the employee will be taxed the full amount in calendar year 2021. If the employee separates from the County before April 1, 2021, the employee will have to repay the full amount.

    Employees who receive assistance and leave County employment less than 18 months from the initial disbursement will have to repay the full amount they were provided within six (6) months of separation.

  • Procedure: Application and Disbursement
    1. Employee submits a completed application package to Human Resources. Detailed instructions and applicable forms are located on the County’s intranet site.
    2. Employees without a computer or with limited access to the County network may contact the Employee Housing Assistance Program Administrator to request special accommodation.
    3. Human Resources will review for completion, perform necessary verification, make the applications anonymous to hide personal identifiable information, and forward applications to the Employee Housing Assistance Program Review Committee.
    4. The Review Committee will meet once each quarter or until all funds are allocated. The Review Committee is comprised of five (5) members: a representative from Human Resources, County Administrator’s Office, MCMEA, and two representatives from MAPE. The Committee will score and make a decision on each application. The Review Committee’s decision is final, and is neither appealable nor grievable.
    5. Applicants will receive notification of either approval with potential conditions or denial. The number of approved applicants and amount awarded is contingent on available remaining funds for the program.
    6. Applicants may request a funding disbursement for a rental lease that started within 90 calendar days of the application due date, or upon entering a new rental lease agreement, and/or additional approved expenses by submitting the disbursement request form and required documentation. Detailed instructions and applicable forms are located on the County’s intranet site.
    7. Funds will be disbursed to employee in the form of direct deposit or check, which is separate from the employee’s bi-weekly paycheck deposits. Turnaround time from initial funding request to availability of funds is approximately five (5) to seven (7) business days.
    8. Within 90 calendar days of execution of new rental lease agreement or 30 calendar days of initial disbursement, employees must furnish Human Resources any outstanding information, document, and/or receipt.
    9. Eighteen months from initial funds disbursement, the entire amount will be forgiven and reported as wage on the annual Form W2. The forgiven amount will be considered as taxable income that year and subject to all applicable withholding and employee FICA tax. Employees who receive assistance and leave County employment less than 18 months from the initial disbursement will have to repay the full amount they were provided within six (6) months of separation.
  • Application Schedule

    While applications may be submitted at any time, they are reviewed on a quarterly basis according to the timelines below. Applicants with an urgent need and requesting priority consideration will be reviewed outside of these timelines by a subcommittee.

    Schedule 2019 Year

    Application Deadline Committee Review Notice to Employee
    November 12, 2019 Mid-November End of November
    January 6, 2020 Mid-January End of January
    March 6, 2020 Mid-March End of March
    July 1, 2020 Mid-July End of July
  • Employee Priority Criteria

    The Review Committee jointly reviews and scores every application. Priority scoring is based on the following three (3) criteria:

    1. Housing vulnerability status, which may include but is not limited to:
      • Loss of income (spouse/partner losing job, bankruptcy)
      • Medical (sudden and catastrophic illness of self or family member)
      • Loss/severe damage of housing (fire, flood, eviction, foreclosure)
      • Change in the household (divorce/separation, care for a dependent family member, birth/adoption)
    2. Household income – The chart below lists the median and moderate-income levels of the 2019 Bay Area Below Market Rate Home Ownership Program based upon household size (effective April 24, 2019). The Review Committee will consider income levels when reviewing applications for this program. Employees whose household income exceeds the amounts below may still apply for and may be awarded an assistance.
      Persons in Family/Household Median Moderate 120%
      1 $95,750 $114,900
      2 $109,450 $131,350
      3 $123,100 $147,750
      4 $136,800 $164,150
      5 $147,750 $177,300
    3. Commute impact
  • Employee Commitment
    1. Employee must stay employed with the County for at least 18 months after receiving financial assistance or need to pay back the full amount.
    2. No payment will be made to relatives or a domestic partner of the employee.
    3. County reimbursement may not be claimed for the portions of expenses that are being paid or subsidized by another organization or agency (e.g., spouse/domestic partner’s company, state/federal housing subsidy).
    4. Employee needs to secure a lease within nine (9) months from approval date.
    5. If repayment is required, employee will pay back the entire amount made to the County within six months of separation date.
    6. Employee who provides intentional falsified information and or documents may be subject to disciplinary actions including up to termination.
  • Program Contact Information

    Program Contact

    Employee Housing
    (415) 473-6486