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Dominican Partners To Support Rental Assistance Program

September 16, 2021

Dominican University students at Canal Alliance – photo courtesy of Dominican University.

Dominican University news article

With the COVID-19 pandemic greatly exacerbating housing insecurity in Marin County, Dominican University of California has partnered with the County of Marin and Canal Alliance on an emergency rental assistance program that helps connect local residents with resources and support.

The three partners developed the program in order to improve access for households who may need assistance with the online application.

This is the latest partnership between Dominican and Canal Alliance, a nonprofit organization that supports immigrant clients who are challenged by a lack of resources and an unfamiliar environment.

“For many immigrant families, accessing rental assistance has been challenging in part due to digital and language limitations,” says Julia van der Ryn, executive director of Dominican’s Center for Community Engagement. “The COVID-19 pandemic is having a disproportionate impact, both economically and from a public health perspective, on our low-income immigrant communities in San Rafael and across Marin County.”

Employment rates for low-wage earners in Marin County have decreased more than 40% since the beginning of the year, and those that are still employed are experiencing wage stagnation and even declines in income. Many tenants in Marin are facing a rapidly growing burden of rental debt.

Earlier this year, Marin County received rental assistance funding as part of the state’s share of the Federal COVID-19 Economic Relief Bill, the Consolidated Appropriations Act. However, those most in need of pandemic-related rental assistance, van der Ryn says, often face the most barriers to access a program like this.

This summer a team of bilingual Dominican students – Leslie Bejaran Solorio, Fidel Jacuinde, Angelica Gonzales Almanza, Silvia Gramajo Mazerigos, Karla Aldana, and Jocelyn Castillo – worked at Canal Alliance twice a week to provide in-person rental assistance. In addition, students Fernanda Galo Reyes, Elsy Gramajo, Daniela Salgado provided assistance online. The program continues this fall through Dominican’s Service-Learning program with nine students supporting in-person assistance.

Read the full article on Dominican University’s website:

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