Housing Needs of People who Work in the Tomales Bay Area

Download the full survey results (PDF): CLAM-ReportOfHousingNeeds


In early 2007, 110 local workers in the Tomales Bay Area responded to a survey about housing needs. This survey, which was distributed to 82 local organizations by representatives of the Community Land Trust Association of West Marin (CLAM), was targeted toward individuals who do not own their homes.
Approximately 60% of those who completed the questionnaire were Anglo and 37% were Latino. Nearly half the respondents earn less than $35,000 a year, and for one-quarter, it is less than $24,000 a year. In striking contrast, the median household income for the area reported by the 2000 Census was $53,992. Just over half the respondents to the survey — approximately 54% — commute an average of 45 miles, round trip, five days a week to work in the Tomales Bay area.
The purpose of the survey was to assess housing needs. Major findings include the following:
• Of the 54% of survey respondents who do not live in the area, 63% state that they can- not afford local housing.
• Even those who do live in the area, regardless of their income level, cite the lack of affordable housing as the most likely reason they would have to move from the area.
• At the time of the survey 70% of the respondents were either actively looking for housing or stated that they would need housing within the next year. The majority of these individuals earn less than $35,000 a year.
• Most respondents would like a single-family home or a detached second unit, cabin or cottage. The largest need is for housing with one and two bedrooms.
The primary conclusion to emerge from this survey is that Tomales Bay workers need local affordable housing. While this general conclusion comes as no surprise, the findings document the extent and severity of the problem. Without more affordable housing, some workers who live locally will likely move away and others who commute will find work closer to where they live. Local businesses and organizations may have difficulty finding workers to replace them, leaving the community without needed services. The call to create more affordable housing in the Tomales Bay area is crystal clear.