The Canal neighborhood of San Rafael is geographically isolated and densely populated: more than 12,000 people live in two square miles. The majority of residents are renters who dedicate a significant portion of their income to housing – sometimes up to, and even more than, 50 percent. Many people live in overcrowded apartments with other families in order to afford rent.
We believe that affordable housing is a basic human right and fundamental pillar of equity that ties directly to our core mission of helping Latino immigrants and their families to overcome the generational cycle of poverty. As such, we are a strong advocate for tenants’ rights and are committed to providing more affordable housing beyond the 12 units we currently own by purchasing and renovating 100 existing units and converting them to new permanent affordable housing.
We are making progress thanks to strong public and private partnerships, and are excited to announce a generous grant from Wells Fargo Foundation. With their support, we can conduct the pre-development work necessary to help us identify and prepare to purchase potential properties. We are also grateful for funding from the Housing Trust Fund of the City of San Rafael to support the preservation of affordable housing and the purchase of an existing apartment complex.
Along with the expansion of affordable housing, we are working through the Housing Element and Regional Housing Needs Allocation process to require jurisdictions to truly affirm fair housing—that is, to take active steps to reverse the effects of housing discrimination and reduce segregation. Input from the community is essential and the Canal community was well represented at a public meeting in August; residents spoke out about rent control, caps on rent, and access to legal representation – perspectives that will inform the development of the plan.
Stay tuned for updates as our work progresses.