BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Mayor Jack Young announced a $30 million eviction prevention program on Wednesday, meant to help keep Baltimore families in their homes as the eviction moratorium expired this week.
The program, set to begin in late September, builds on the city’s Temporary Rent Support program to give more extended support to families, the mayor said Wednesday.
Baltimore residents can qualify if they have a household income of 50 percent or less of the average medium income, prove their issues are related to COVID-19 and provide proof of pending eviction proceedings.
The percentage of Baltimore residents receiving food stamps jumped 25 percent to 33 percent from March to June, while the percentage of residents falling behind on rent during that time nearly tripled, from 10 percent to 28 percent, city officials said Wednesday.
The program will give financial assistance to cover past-due bills and up to six months of back rent, relocation assistance for those who are evicted or forced to leave an inhabitable unit, legal assistance for eviction proceedings and general resources during the pandemic, officials said.
“The impact of COVID-19 on Baltimore families is vast and becoming increasingly complex when it comes to rental housing because it affects both tenants and landlords, a majority of which are, themselves, families struggling to make ends meet,” said Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young. “We as a city are committed to doing everything possible to connect our residents to the critical resources they need to avoid eviction and to partner with landlords to get in front of the eviction process and work with tenants to better ensure payment of rent. Together we can—and will—prevent thousands of evictions and avoid a future of homelessness for thousands of residents in the months to come.”
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The funds will include $17.06 million in federal CARES Act community development and housing funds, $10 million as a portion of the City’s general CARES Act allocation and $2.75 million in city funds through the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
Originally planned as a two-year effort, the city will seek more resources as needed, they said.
“We have heard from families in recent weeks that they are struggling financially on many levels right now, and the Eviction Prevention program offers significant relief on what is for many households the single largest monthly expense: rent,” said Tisha Edwards, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Children & Family Success. “Coupled with utility assistance, case management, and other resources available through our CAP centers, this effort is designed to really support families in their effort to achieve a measure of financial stability in an incredibly unstable time.”