• A rise in disability-related housing discrimination calls was cited by the nonprofit.
  • The nonprofit reports seeing an increase in foreclosure-related calls from Solano County homeowners.
  • Smaller fundraising events are key to nonprofits covering financing gaps.

Next month North Bay residences can sample some of Marin County’s best restaurants while also supporting a locally-based nonprofit focused on fair housing issues, such as housing discrimination and foreclosures prevention.

The third annual Taste of Marin will be hosted by Fair Housing of Marin (FHOM) on March 24. Early bird tickets are currently available for $100. The event fee will rise to $120 as the event approaches.

According to Caroline Peattie, executive director of FHOM, money raised from the event will represent unrestricted funds for the nonprofit, used to fill in any financing gaps not covered by government grants.

“We’re never able to cover 100 percent of our expenses through grants and proposals,” Peattie said, explaining that money from sources like HUD must be used for specific budget line items.

Often unrestricted funds are used to finance an educational event or a portion of a staff members’ salary, so that person can continue counseling full time.

Besides being a fundraising effort and culinary experience, the event is also a way to raise awareness about what Fair Housing of Marin does.

Fair housing issues becoming more common

According to Peattie, the nonprofit is currently handling more fair housing cases than in the past. She attributes this to more people knowing about them and to a rise in disability-related discrimination calls.

During a recent 12-month period, FHOM fielded a total of 1,173 inquires from tenants, homeowners, social service providers and advocates through Marin, Napa, Sonoma and Solano counties. Roughly 80 percent of those inquiries concerned rental properties.

Because its often hard to provide discrimination, FHOM often conducts investigations where trained “testers” are sent out to determine if individuals in the same situation are being treated differently.

Foreclosure prevention and counseling is another focal point of the nonprofit. Peattie notes they’ve received a recent uptick in foreclosure-related calls from Solano County residences.

“There’s still people that are struggling,” she said.

To aid homeowners, FHOM conducts foreclosure prevention workshops and helps individuals qualify for federally-funded programs like Keep Your Home California.

Other education programs hosted by FHOM focus on first-time home buying and affordable homeownership programs.

Email Erik Pisor

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