Maryland leaders are pushing back on the notion that the state has been too slow to get rent relief money out to residents.
The state and its localities got an initial $401 million in federal money that was earmarked for rent relief, with another $352 million on the way. Through July, only about $38 million of those initial dollars had been given out, according to Stuart Campbell, director of community services programs at the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.
“But prior to that, we allocated over $58 million in rental assistance through a variety of federal and state sources over the past year, and we estimate about 20,000 households have been assisted,” he said.
Campbell also expects payments to start going out at a faster clip.
“As with anything that gets started, it takes a little bit of time to ramp up, but we know that our local jurisdictions are processing a lot of applications, and we expect to see the amount of funding going out the door to increase dramatically.”
To qualify for assistance, a person must be at or below 80% of the area median income and demonstrate financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Residents who need help should visit rentrelief.maryland.gov or call 877-546-5595.
Virginia, by comparison, has performed better, receiving $524 million in an initial round of federal funding for rent relief, and spending about half of that by mid-July. The state is now also getting an additional $451 million in federal rent relief money.
Nationally, out of an initial allotment of $25 billion for rent relief, only about $3 billion had been distributed by states and localities through June. An additional $21.5 billion is going to states as well.
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