Frequently Asked Questions

  • Your neighbors. Over 27,000 lower-income Marin households spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing, the standard limit for determining housing affordability. If you are lower income and have to overpay for shelter, you have to cut back on other necessities like clothing, the kids’ school supplies, and food.
  • Almost 50,000 Marin residents are 65 or older. More than 25% have a disability, and almost 7% live below the poverty line. Many seniors own their own homes, but are house-rich and cash-poor; they can’t afford the upkeep. Our aging population needs options including —
    • Smaller units to downsize into, both market rate and affordable
    • Age-restricted subsidized housing
    • Assisted living facilities, including congregate care, licensed facilities, and skilled nursing homes
  • The people you rely on. Service workers – home health aides, retail clerks, starting teachers – can’t afford to live here. Over half the people whose jobs are in Marin make less than $40,000 per year.
  • They can commute and they do, but…
  • Over 68,000 people who work in Marin commute from other counties. Most of these people have grueling, stressful commutes because they make less than $40,000 per year and can’t afford to live here.
  • As a result, Marin has some of the worst freeway commute congestion in the Bay Area, and it’s getting worse.
  • The impacts on in-commuters are unsustainable in terms of their physical and mental health, transportation costs and maintenance, time lost from their families and communities.
  • Traffic delays cause employees to be late or miss work and strand employers.
  • Worker retention is a problem for employers, and it’s difficult to hire and keep good people.
  • The single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions is transportation. Our lack of affordable housing is a major factor contributing to commute traffic. 68,000 people commute from other counties to work in Marin. Most of them commute because they can’t afford to live here.
  • We must build in environmentally appropriate locations, like our downtowns and on vacant commercial properties near transit. Reusing existing buildings protects our green spaces and avoids sprawl.
  • More dwelling units in a smaller footprint are affordable by size, are more resource-efficient, and leave more undeveloped open space for community benefit.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel vehicles threaten our environment and way of life. Compact neighborhoods encourage more transportation options and reduce the number of car trips per day.
  • Environmentally sound building materials and construction reduce upstream waste and GHGs. Green buildings conserve energy and water, produce less waste, and provide healthier indoor environments.
  • Zero-net energy (ZNE) buildings produce as much energy as they use, minimizing environmental impacts. In California, building codes are mandating ZNE commercial and residential buildings on an aggressive schedule.
  • We can’t afford not to.
  • 68,000 people make their money here; they spend it in other counties where they live. The financial outflow that goes with our out-of-county workforce costs our economy at least $1.4 billion.
  • In-commuters invest their money and volunteer time where they live too
  • The impacts of doing nothing – essentially the “Marin plan” – are unsustainable from a moral, environmental, and health perspective.
  • Over the past 40 years, local government in Marin has restricted the growth of housing supply while increasing the demand with policies that grew thousands of low wage retail and service jobs.
  • Local government policies that limit smaller, less expensive housing exclude minority folks and younger, less affluent people. Marin is the least diverse county in the Bay area and we have the oldest population.
  • Our sense of justice should say that we must provide housing opportunity when and where we can. This is why MEHC stands for environmentally friendly affordable housing.