As a housing provider leader in Marin, PFI Incorporated has a long history of supporting local non-profit organizations. Our commitment to contributing
to the economic health of our County is our top priority. This year, PFI is going one step further in its mission to help improve the economic and
social environment of Marin by becoming a platinum member of the Marin Economic Forum (MEF).
This non-profit organization was officially formed in 2010 and is supported by local companies, chambers of commerce, and municipal counties and governments.
Through partnerships and collaborations with its stakeholders, MEF’s purpose is “to improve County’s economic vitality by focusing on target industries
while promoting equality and protecting the environment.”
One of the main areas of focus for PFI in its partnership with MEF is addressing the housing crises. This topic was presented earlier this month, on May 4th, at the Embassy Suites hotel in San Rafael in front of approximately 170 people. Unfortunately, the shortage of affordable housing is not unique to Marin County; it’s a statewide issue.
As one of the largest real estate investment and housing providers in Marin, PFI is aware of the barriers to building new apartment units and accommodating lower-income populations. To put it into perspective, the cost of building one apartment in Marin is $450,000! Such high building costs require a $4,000 monthly payment, an amount that is too high for the current rental market. To address this issue, Marin government and community leaders will have to come together and develop a comprehensive plan. Shortage of housing is negatively affecting the local economy, and it will continue to do so in the future if efforts are not made to change the current environment.
What Marin Wants
There’s no doubt that Marin County is one of the best places to live but that doesn’t mean that it’s perfect. Marin wants a vibrant job market, low traffic, low-density housing, and a slow growing housing stock. This is hard to achieve considering that approximately 60 % of Marin’s workforce is commuting across the county lines. And with the cost and the time it takes to obtain building permits being the highest in the nation, it is very difficult to develop new housing units in Marin.
The Economic Forum Solutions
The Economic Forum continuously works on developing many creative solutions for common problems that the County is currently facing. To help overcome new construction barriers, the MEF has formed a partnership with Marin Builders Association and the City of San Rafael to make the process of obtaining permits much easier and faster.
Addressing traffic issues has also been forum’s priority. The organization has reversed the decision to delay the extension of the SMART train line to Larkspur. The delay had a potential to put $780 million of federal funding at risk. Thanks to the Economic Forum, the project is moving forward and once completed, it will add a great value to local businesses and residents.
In addition, the MEF was also able to assist local businesses with repairs that would’ve been costly and forced them to move out of Marin, preventing hundreds of lost jobs and many other economic consequences.