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Affordable Housing Feasibility Study

In 2020, with the support of Marin Community Foundation, San Francisco Foundation, and Kaiser Permanente, Canal Alliance launched an Affordable Housing Landscape Feasibility Study to identify the best strategies for Canal Alliance to begin to tackle the complex challenges facing the Canal neighborhood, which include Marin’s housing crisis, climate change and sea level rise, and gentrification and displacement. To support the project, we engaged two consulting partners, Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF), which completed an enterprise-wide financial diagnostic, and Street Level Advisors, which provided a completed Housing Program Design Report.

After reviewing six housing program concepts presented by SLA, the Canal Alliance Board of Directors made the decision at its September 2020 meeting to pursue two strategies: 1) small-scale acquisition and rehabilitation of existing multifamily housing and 2) education and advocacy for broader climate resilience, and provided staff with the direction and support to begin formal development and implementation.

Since then, we are working to identify properties located in the Canal neighborhood to add to our existing portfolio, which consists of 12 apartment units in three buildings. We have also had discussions in recent weeks with various institutions, including foundations, city and county agencies, and two Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to evaluate financing opportunities. We are also exploring the creation of an LLC entity, 100% owned by Canal Alliance, to manage all properties in our housing portfolio.

By focusing on affordable housing conversion and preservation as a strategy to stem displacement and alleviate severe rent burdens, our efforts will ensure that people of color and low-income families remain rooted in our community.

Canal Alliance is an award-winning provider of affordable housing in the Canal neighborhood.

Our award-winning housing program serves as an example of the potential for housing to empower a community. We own 12 units of affordable housing, housed in three buildings that have been retrofitted with energy-efficient upgrades and solar panels to offset utility costs.

With a sense of moral responsibility and the obligation to remain relevant to the community’s needs, Canal Alliance is committed to playing a leading role in addressing the challenges posed by Marin’s housing crisis, climate change and sea level rise, gentrification and displacement. Our commitment to all Canal residents, of present and future generations, is to build a community where residents can live in a dignified, just, safe and healthy manner. 

Housing Advocacy

In Fall 2018, some 100 households residing in two apartment buildings in the Canal faced rent increases of 40% and 65%. While the owner has since rescinded these increases, replacing them with no-cause eviction notices, the risks for displacement and homelessness remain acute. Residents elected not to pursue litigation, and instead negotiated for time to plan for their families and another years’ stability for their children’s school attendance. Beyond that, their ability to stay in San Rafael – and anywhere in Marin – is uncertain at best. 

June 4, 2019- San Rafael council approves renter protections

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