Maryland begins spreading around eviction prevention funding

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With the end of a federal moratorium on evictions looming, Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) doled out $2.3 million in eviction prevention funding to eight counties on Monday.

The money is the first wave of Hogan’s $30 million eviction prevention program, according to a news release from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. The $2.3 million in federally funded grants will be split up between several rural Maryland counties:

  • Allegany County – $55,000
  • Cecil County – $100,000
  • Charles County – $200,000
  • Frederick County – $722,129
  • Kent County – $84,246
  • Queen Anne’s County – $80,000
  • Somerset County – $100,000
  • Wicomico County – $1,000,000

Advocates have estimated that more than 150,000 Marylanders who lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic are at risk of eviction when the federal moratorium expires on Saturday. Local officials set up a slew of rental assistance programs in the early days of the pandemic, but were quickly overwhelmed with applications.

Officials in Montgomery County, where some 20,000 households are at risk of eviction, previously told lawmakers that they’ll need help from the state to avoid a “tsunami of evictions.”

The $30 million program is funded by the federal Community Development Block Grant program, according to the state’s news release.

Lydia Walther-Rodriguez, the regional director for CASA Baltimore, said at a rally earlier this month  that even the $30 million in state assistance, coupled with roughly $30 million in rental relief from local governments, won’t be enough to offset the oncoming eviction crisis.

Lawmakers and advocates have called on Hogan to allocate more state funding toward rental relief and to extend the state’s moratorium on evictions, which requires renters to prove that their economic hardship was caused by the coronavirus pandemic. State officials previously indicated that more funding for rental relief could soon be available.

“We are following with [the Maryland Emergency Management Agency] at the state level and FEMA at the federal level to see if eviction assistance qualifies as an eligible expense under disaster relief,” Deputy Secretary of Budget and Management Mark Nicole told lawmakers in a meeting earlier this month. “That $30 million all of a sudden could become $120 [million].”

This article was written by WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters and republished with permission. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

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