Equity Grants Exciting Plan for Marin Targeted Funding – Marin Independent Journal

0

The county came up with a new idea to address racial equity in Marin.

County supervisors are earmarking $5 million, or about 10%, of expected funding from the U.S. federal bailout law for county- and community-led racial equity initiatives.

Community-led programs will be chosen from proposals selected by a special panel of county-nominated Marin residents and then put to a county-wide vote – a way to increase public awareness and engagement. on this important issue.

This is certainly a giant change from the county’s longstanding community grants process where there is little public participation or awareness.

The important goal is to target the money to improve the quality of life of people living in low-income communities.

The equity grant proposal may be on the fast track to a proposed countywide vote this summer, but some key details remain unclear.

Exactly how people will learn about the proposals and vote is still being worked out.

There are no plans to put the decision to an election run by the county’s Registrar of Voters and its pre-election voter education publications. It would be too expensive.

Inviting residents to vote on programs is one way to get them thinking about this important issue and making choices they believe will make a difference. So will the level of participation, both in number and scope.

In recent studies, Marin was listed as one of the most racially segregated counties in the state. In 2011, the county was challenged by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development for imposing zoning restrictions that, even without intent, prevented minorities from settling in Marin. These restrictions have essentially capped the local supply of housing and contributed to rising property values ​​and rents, continually raising the bar of income and wealth needed to be able to live here.

Even before the nationwide shockwaves caused by the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the rapid growth of the Black Lives Matter movement, county supervisors had pledged to reduce bureaucratic and political hurdles, primarily by increasing supply of affordable housing and proactively widening, beyond just local residents, the pathway to rental housing vouchers for local apartments.

It is unlikely that spending $2.5 million, regardless of how the decision is made on how it is dispersed, will do much to effectively reduce long-standing barriers to racial equity in our county. But it could be a seed investment in a nonprofit program that can make a difference.

The county’s investment must include standards for evaluating grant performance and its potential to do more.

Such change is going to take time and consistent community engagement, in many facets of our county.

One-time grants will not suffice. It’s also not about throwing money at a long-standing challenge.

County management, to their credit, tries to be aware of the challenge, instead of shrugging their shoulders about it.

In the words of Supervisor Katie Rice, who grew up in Marin, the county “tries to apply an equity lens to everything this county does.”

Inviting residents to vote on programs is one way to get them thinking about this important issue and making choices they believe will make a difference. So will the level of participation, both in number and scope.

Share.

About Author

Comments are closed.