SPARKPOINT MARIN Introduces New Housing Advocate


August 1, 2017 | This year, SparkPoint Marin received grant funding from Marin Community Foundation to specialize in services for individuals from 60 to 70 years to help with more of the life circumstances that are critical to financial health for this age group.

How do I prepare the tax returns that I need to file for my past due taxes?

I am on disability payments and having a hard time making ends meet. Are there other sources of assistance or income that I can qualify for?

I would like to take out a loan to replace my car, but I can’t qualify for the interest rates that I think I can afford. What can I do to get access to credit?

My home needs major repairs and I have no extra income after paying my rent and the bills for my living expenses. How can I afford to maintain my home?

th7ZHGJ2L2These are some of the many challenges that SparkPoint Marin sees among our older adult population. Older and retiring adults can be financially vulnerable despite having the assets that they have worked years to build and preserve. For many in our community, the combination of a high cost of living, disappearing defined benefit plans and a fixed income means new financial worries instead of a life of ease in retirement. Many seniors are making ends meet on social security income and credit sources as single member households.  Some have personal wealth that is tied up in property assets with limited cash income to meet their daily expenses. As many as 7,000 seniors in Marin (21%) are part of an “eligibility gap,” where their income is above $10,830 per year (Federal Poverty Line) and too high to qualify for public assistance. However, their income is below the annual $27,334 estimated as the minimum necessary to afford basic living expenses in this county.[1]

pig-2This year, SparkPoint Marin received grant funding from Marin Community Foundation to specialize in services for individuals from 60 to 70 years old whose financial planning goals can be more dependent on their fixed earning capacity and changing life circumstances.  To help with more of the life circumstances that are critical to financial health for this age group, Leslie Klor, a housing advocate with twenty years of experience, will be joining our in-house expertise beginning in August 2017.  Leslie brings a wealth of knowledge to share on subsidized housing programs, housing vouchers, creative housing alternatives and what it takes to be a good tenant. Her role at SparkPoint Marin will be to help people living with limited means to explore local housing options.

For anyone interested in becoming a SparkPoint member, membership begins with a one hour orientation to our services and an in-depth assessment of personal finances.  Our coaches assist members with spending plans for living on a fixed income. They provide avenues for reducing monthly costs, increasing savings and improving personal credit scores to manage debt.  They assist members who want to earn new income with their job search. They are trained on tax matters and prepare tax returns. They help with applications for public assistance, and, as of August, affordable housing options, to help individuals reduce expenses and stretch their income further.

thU5TQWCV9As one real life example of how coaching can help with a loss of income and other compounding  issues, one member came to SparkPoint to find a way out of the debt that had mounted after she lost her job of fourteen years. She was a single mother supporting a family and had been through a surgery that prevented her from going back to the same job.  At SparkPoint, she received support to polish her skills for a new administrative position and landed a job as a receptionist. She devised a spending and savings plan to manage her new income for paying down her debt. In the course of taking these steps, she also succeeded in raising her credit score to secure greater financial freedom for herself and her family. These are some of the real benefits that are possible with client-centered coaching.

tree-2367374__340Financial health and living well in retirement go hand in hand and they require a sustained effort.  SparkPoint Marin recognizes that the cost of living can be a significant barrier to living the dream of a carefree retirement.  We are here to give people financial options to empower them to improve their life circumstances and enjoy a life of greener pastures here in Marin County.

Upcoming SparkPoint Orientations:


Monday, August 14                         12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

Wednesday, September 6              5:30 to 6:30 p.m.


Wednesday, August 23                    5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, September                12:00 to 1:00 p.m.


To reach our Housing Advocate Leslie Klor,  email

To learn more about our other services or to register for an orientation session, please call (415) 526-7530 or email

[1] Shelley Hamilton, CEO MARINSPACE with assistance from Lee Pullen, Director of Aging & Adult Services, County of Marin. Aging Action Initiative; the first six months, April 2015, p. 3


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Dominican Sisters Housing Plan Stalled


May 9, 2017 | Legal move stalls Dominican sisters’ plan for transitional housing.

An attorney who lives near the Dominican sisters’ Our Lady of Lourdes Convent in San Rafael has appealed the city’s decision to allow the nuns to house two distressed families.

The city’s interim zoning administrator approved a temporary-use permit in January. Dolan and another neighbor filed appeals to the city’s Planning Commission, which rejected their appeals in a 6-0 vote March 14.

Other neighbors, advocates for people who are homeless, and some of the 30 sisters who attended the hearing testified in favor of the plan.

Among the Dominican Sisters’ current ministries are affordable housing, social justice advocacy, social services, and respite for homeless. In January the sisters were granted permission by the city to amend the convent’s use permit to a housing unit.

The unit would be shared by two women and their children, to help the women get established and find permanent housing as part of the convent’s mission. The change in the use permit would end after two years and the women would be supervised by Homeward Bound, Marin’s longstanding provider of services to homeless families.

Join AAI in supporting the Dominican Sisters’ transitional housing unit:

The San Rafael City Council will be asked to uphold the appeal on Monday May 15th, 7:00pm at San Rafael City Hall, 1400 Fourth Avenue. Please save the date and spread the word. Come support the efforts of the aging Sisters who want to do good in their community. This is a chance to ask the Mayor and Council members to recognize that there is a housing crisis in Marin County, to support the efforts of a senior community that wants to help, and to uphold the decision of the Zoning Administrator.

Contact Linda Jackson:

About Aging Action Initiative
The purpose of the Aging Action Initiative is to promote a countywide age-friendly environment, especially for those in need, collectively created by a strong network of service providers through public education, policy advocacy, and service coordination. The initiative is a collective effort of over 65 different agencies, grassroots organizations, commissions and neighborhood groups, funded by the County of Marin, and coordinated by MARINSPACE.

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Money Matters: A Place Called Home


Saturday May 20, 2017 | 9:30 am – 12:00 pm | Free | Registration is recommended | Whistlestop | 930 Tamalpais Ave | San Rafael CA |

A Place Called Home: Making the Most of the One You Have and Finding One You Can Afford

About the Event

holding-houseThis is a FREE talk given by local experts to discuss the latest developments in home ownership and affordable housing. Attendees will have the opportunity to attend small group discussions from respected experts on the following topics:


  • Shared Housing and Accessory Dwelling Units
  • Affordable Housing and Section 8 
  • Reverse Mortgages, Rehab Loans and Below Market Rate Home Ownership

Breakfast included. To register, click here.

To download the flyer, click here.

Money Matters, part of the Aging Action Initiative (AAI), offers free information, resources and events to help you take action to address your financial future in Marin. AAI is a collective of aging service providers, funded by the County of Marin and coordinated by MARINSPACE, collaborating for an age-friendly environment.

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Housing Issues in Marin

marin coalition logo

Wednesday May 3, 2017 | Marin Coalition presents “Housing Issues in Marin”. Price increases, affordable housing programs and concerns, limited supply.

The issues that surround housing here in Marin are numerous and sometimes daunting

Join Marin Coalition on May 3rd when two very knowledgeable presenters will share their perspectives and solutions regarding the various dimensions of one of the most pressing topics in our community:

jackson headLinda M. Jackson is program director of the Aging Action Initiative. She has over 30 years of experience in strategic planning and communications working for Austin and San Rafael, the Transportation Authority of Marin, and non-profit agencies. She is a trustee with the San Rafael City Schools Board of Education, and serves on the boards of the San Rafael Public Library Foundation, League of Women Voters and Sustainable San Rafael. Linda holds an M.S., Community and Regional Planning and an M.A., Latin American Studies from U.T./Austin, and a B.A., Urban Studies from Wellesley College. After college, Linda served two years with the Peace Corps in the Andes. She and her husband live in San Rafael.

silvestri headBob Silvestri is an author, architect and former affordable housing developer, and the founder of Community Venture Partners, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. CVP facilitates community-based projects and initiatives that demonstrate the highest principles of economic, social and environmental sustainability. He is also the founder and editor in chief of, the Bay Area’s first community  online news magazine, and the founder and former president of Environmental Media Fund. Bob has been active in community affairs for 20 years and has served on local city planning committees in Mill Valley. His writings include “The Best Laid Plans: Our Planning and Affordable Housing Challenges in Marin,” and “Marin 2016: Dispatches from the front.” For Bob’s full CV, click here.

  • Date: Wednesday May 3, 2017 – 11:15 a.m. (check-in) – 1:15 p.m. Program begins promptly at noon
  • Location: The Club at McInnis Park Golf Center, 350 Smith Ranch Road, San Rafael
  • RSVP & Pay Online by April 28:
  • Cost: $28 (members);  $30 (non-members);  $35 if RSVP received after deadline or at the door
  • Cancellations for refund must be received via email by 10 a.m. on May 1
  • Contact us:

To download the flyer, click here.

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Victory Village: Not Yet a Victory for Affordable Senior Housing


April 1, 2017 | After five years of planning, the Town Council of Fairfax will soon decide the fate of Victory Village, a proposed 54-unit affordable senior housing proposal.

The housing nonprofit Marin Environmental Housing Collaborative, wants to buy 20 acres from Christ Lutheran Church at 2626 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to develop apartments for seniors.

The Fairfax Town Council is poised to streamline the approval process for the Victory Village project, but opponents are threatening a referendum. ” On April 20, the Fairfax Planning Commission will decide whether to recommend the project to the Town Council.

According to Marin Environmental Housing Collaborative, Fairfax’s population is aging more quickly than the rest of the county. In 2010 about 17% of Fairfax residents were 60 years or older. By 2015 that figure had climbed above 24% and more than 63% of Fairfax residents who are 65 or older have a physical disability.

There are hundreds of renting seniors in Fairfax who face rising rents. Seniors often live on fixed incomes and suffer disproportionately from poverty and health problems.  New housing will enable seniors to live their older years in the community.

Want to get the latest news or show your support for Victory Village? Click here.

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