Some 17,000 Maryland families are at risk of being evicted from their homes, and the Montgomery County Council is asking for funding to help keep that from happening.
“Higher housing costs and the looming end of assistance payments to renters could lead to a new eviction crisis,” Council President Evan Glass said in a statement.
The council on Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution calling on Gov. Wes Moore and state lawmakers to allocate $175 million in the fiscal year 2024 budget to help families struggling to make rent.
Citing a failure to pay rent cases heard in July 2022 in Montgomery County District Court, the resolution said failure to pay happened from October and November 2021, when the federal moratorium on eviction was struck down by the Supreme Court.
Council members said this backlog in cases is just the beginning of what may become a “massive wave of eviction” in the county. Last summer, the county relaunched its COVID-19 rent relief program, which stopped accepting applications on Jan. 13.
The resolution to Gov. Moore also said that eviction prevention would help Black families and families led by women.
“Of the households that avoided eviction with help from Maryland’s current emergency and rental assistance program, 70% were women-led and 74% were Black-led. Trends in eviction demographics show that if this program ends, these families will likely be subject to eviction at much higher rates than other families,” council members said in the resolution.
During the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, the council approved $2 million to be used for emergency eviction prevention and housing stabilization programs in response to the COVID-19 state of emergency in Maryland.
That funding grew to more than $100 million with help from state and federal partners, a council news release said, helping more than 12,000 residents stay in their homes during the pandemic. Another action that helped was widespread federal and local moratoriums on evictions.
However, the council said that some of these resources have since expired or been reduced.
“Montgomery County and jurisdictions throughout Maryland are facing a funding cliff that will end emergency rental assistance throughout the state,” the council said.
In the general assembly, a bill introduced last month would require a landlord to notify a tenant of rent increases of 4% or more with at least 120 days of notice.
And in Prince George’s County, legislation passed in February imposes a 3% cap on rent hikes on nearly all rental properties around the county over the next year.