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Keyword: housing

Additional $1 Million in Phase One Funding and $2 Million in Phase Two Funding will Assist More Families at Risk of Losing Housing as a Result of Pandemic

After significant response from residents applying for assistance from Phase One of Baltimore County’s Eviction Prevention Program, County Executive Johnny Olszewski has allocated an additional $1 million to support residents who are struggling to pay their rent and other housing-related expenses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This new funding will supplement the County’s previous $1 million allocation to assist households at risk of losing their current housing when the state moratorium on evictions is lifted.

In addition, the County has allocated an additional $2 million in Community Development Block Grant–Corona Virus (CDBG-CV) funds for Phase Two of its eviction prevention efforts. The County in June issued an RFP to enter into grant agreements with eligible community-based organizations to address homelessness and expand eviction prevention efforts through subsistence payments and security deposits.

Phase Two will enable partnering organizations to tackle the issue of eviction prevention in a more comprehensive manner and will focus on the County residents impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

“Families across Baltimore County are facing significant financial challenges as a result of the pandemic, and it’s critical that we help as many of those families as we can. These additional funds will help more families avoid homelessness and provide a bridge while they get back on their feet,” Olszewski said. “We will continue to identify ways to provide resources that help our families weather this storm.”

Applications for Phase One of the Eviction Prevention Program have closed. The additional funding will enable the County to provide support to more of the families who have already applied prior to the announced deadline. The County expects that at least 800 households will receive assistance.

The original $1 million for this phase of the Eviction Prevention Program came from the County’s allocation of federal Coronavirus Relief Funds and Emergency Assistance to Families with Children through the Department of Social Services. The additional funds will come from the County’s allocation of federal Coronavirus Relief Funds.

In addition to financial support for residents, the County has partnered with the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition's Fair Housing Action Center (FHAC) to provide the following services:

  • Financial coaching and counseling, including assistance negotiating with landlords
  • Referral to supportive services, including legal assistance
  • Renters’ tax credit applications and assistance

The eviction prevention initiative is the latest effort by Baltimore County to strengthen the safety net for families suffering economic losses as a result of the pandemic. Baltimore County government and Baltimore County Public Schools have provided more than three million meals for County residents. Information about food resources is available at www.BaltimoreCountyMD.gov/FoodHelp.

For more information about these initiatives and other efforts to respond to the pandemic, visit www.BaltimoreCountyMD.gov/Coronavirus.


Funds will Provide Financial Support to Help Cover the Cost of Rent for Residents at Risk of Eviction 

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced a new initiative to assist County residents who are in danger of eviction due to a COVID-19 related financial crisis. The program’s initial phase will provide $1 million in rental assistance to households at risk of losing their current housing when the state moratorium on evictions is lifted.

“We are here to support families that are struggling financially as a result of this pandemic. This initiative will help families avoid homelessness and provide a bridge while they get back on their feet,” Olszewski said. “This is just a first step, but an important one—and Baltimore County will continue to look for ways to provide resources that help our families weather this storm.” 

County residents who have lost income due to COVID-19, are at risk of losing their housing, and meet other program criteria including income limits, may be eligible to receive assistance towards past due rent accrued during the state of emergency. The County anticipates the average award will cover approximately two months of rent per household.

Funding for this phase will come from the County’s allocation of federal Coronavirus Relief Funds and Emergency Assistance to Families with Children through the Department of Social Services.

How to Apply

County residents can apply on the County’s website, where eligibility details and a list of required documentation can be found. The application will open today, Tuesday, June 9 at 10 a.m. Completed applications must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, June 12. Applications will be reviewed on a first-come first-served basis and are subject to the availability of funds. 

Additional Services

Partnership with the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition

In recognition of the fact that financial support addresses only some of the issues impacting renters, Baltimore County is partnering with the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition's Fair Housing Action Center (FHAC) to provide the following services to applicants: 

  • Financial coaching and counseling, including assistance negotiating with landlords
  • Referral to supportive services, including legal assistance
  • Renters’ tax credit applications and assistance

“We are excited to embark on this new partnership with Baltimore County, as it expands and deepens the work FHAC has been doing successfully for the benefit of Maryland residents and comes at a critical time to provide additional support for Baltimore County residents. We commend County Executive Johnny Olszewski for his commitment to support renters throughout the County,” said Marceline White, Executive Director, Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition. 

The eviction prevention initiative is the latest effort by Baltimore County to strengthen the safety net for families suffering economic losses as a result of the pandemic.

Food Resources

Baltimore County government and Baltimore County Public Schools have provided more than two million meals for County residents. Information about food resources is available at www.BaltimoreCountyMD.gov/FoodHelp

Small Business Grants 

The County has also made available grants to support small businesses and artists, and has established the Baltimore County COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to assist with efforts to support County residents during this challenging time.

More Information

For more information about these initiatives and other efforts to respond to the pandemic, visit www.BaltimoreCountyMD.gov/Coronavirus.


HOME Act Would End Discrimination Based on the Source of a Renter’s Income

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced his plans to introduce the Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) Act, which would prohibit housing discrimination based on the source of a potential renter’s income, including housing vouchers.

The bill will be introduced in the County Council session scheduled for Monday, October 7.

“We have both a legal and moral obligation to expand access to affordable housing in Baltimore County, and the HOME Act is a critical piece of the puzzle,” Olszewski said. “Discrimination of any kind is wrong, and we have to do everything in our power to expand economic opportunity, improve equity, and eliminate pockets of poverty in our communities.”

Details of the HOME Act

The HOME Act would make it illegal for a landlord to refuse to rent to a potential tenant based on the person’s source of income, just as renters can’t be discriminated against based on their race, sex, religion, and other legally protected groups. Source of income can refer to income from a job, public assistance programs, benefits and considerations (such as an inheritance, a pension, an annuity, etc.) or the sale of a property. Source of income includes participation in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program.

A housing voucher is a source of supplemental income that helps low income residents pay for housing. Recipients are required to pay 30 percent of their income on rent, and the voucher provides a bridge to cover the remaining cost of rent. Across Maryland, nearly 70 percent of HCV recipients are seniors, people with disabilities, or children.

The HCV program is a federal program, and the federal government determines the number of overall vouchers available to each local jurisdiction. Baltimore County distributes approximately 5,000 vouchers. The HOME Act would give them greater flexibility in choosing where to live.

Giving People a Fair Chance

“It’s long past time for Baltimore County to act to protect county residents from housing discrimination,” Councilman Julian Jones said. “This bill gives people with disabilities, veterans and others a fair chance to do what’s best for their families. I applaud the county executive’s leadership on this issue and I’m optimistic that my colleagues will support this important bill.”

“I believe it is important for Baltimore County to address the housing needs of our older adults, veterans, people with disabilities and all families. It is a matter of fairness and dignity,” Councilman Izzy Patoka said.

Montgomery, Howard and Frederick Counties have had laws prohibiting discrimination based on source of income for several years. Anne Arundel County and Baltimore City passed similar legislation earlier this year.

Under the Conciliation and Voluntary Compliance Agreement (VCA) signed in 2016, this legislation must be introduced this calendar year and every calendar year until its passage.

This is one of several actions the county is legally mandated to take under the terms of the VCA, which was conceived as a resolution to federal housing discrimination complaints brought against the county in 2011. These complaints alleged that the discriminatory nature of Baltimore County’s housing and zoning policies over the last several decades had led to significant racial and socioeconomic segregation.

For more information about the HOME Act, please download the HOME Act Fact Sheet (PDF).


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017