BALTIMORE (WJZ) — State and nationwide bans on evictions are soon set to expire, meaning thousands of Marylanders behind on their rent might be at risk of losing their homes. However, United Way of Central Maryland announced today that it’s expanding a program that helps out renters.

“With the federal eviction moratorium ending next month and the statewide eviction ban ending in august, as many two hundred-thousand thousand renters that are in our state could be at risk for homelessness,” said

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The United Way of Central Maryland is offering up more help now by expanding their strategic targeted eviction prevention program or STEP.

It launched last year as a first-of-its-kind effort in Baltimore County to prevent evictions and now it’s also open to people in Baltimore City and Harford and Howard Counties.

The first iteration of the STEP program provided $4,300 on average per household, but with the increased funding, the organization said it estimates households will qualify for $13,500 in aid.

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The program will also pay for past-due utilities, and even provide up to three months of future rent for some tenants.

“A major strength of step is to get money out quickly and efficiently,” said

The program works directly with landlords instead of making people apply individually so several past-due accounts can be bundled together. They’ll focus on communities with the highest rates of housing instability and Covid cases and pay out $43 million to help an estimated 3,100 households avoid eviction.

“We know we have only scratched the surface of the need. like every jurisdiction in the country, we are standing up and administering an expanded eviction program amid an unprecedented crisis,”

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STEP pays up to 12 months of back rent for people who qualify.  For more information about the program dial 211.

Stetson Miller