LANHAM, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland has allocated $135 million in emergency rent assistance to 14,860 households through the end of August, according to new data from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.
Of that, $92.1 million has already been disbursed to tenants and landlords to pay for rent and $38.7 million in payments are still in progress–representing applications that have been approved and will be paid out the following month, the agency said.READ MORE: Ravens Marquise Brown Honors Mervo Football Player Who Died Last Week
The housing department has received 38,894 applications for relief.
“The basis of our program, which was built in consultation with a bipartisan workgroup, has been to ensure that rental assistance is provided in an equitable way, with low barriers and a local focus,” said Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “Our approach means that there is a long-term sustainability to the program, all while evictions are at record lows compared to before the pandemic.”
The $135 million represents roughly one-third of the $401.6 million earmarked for the first round of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The stage agency is administering $258 million through the program, and an additional $143 million is set aside for jurisdictions with populations over 200,000.READ MORE: Ravens Shut Down Herbert, Chargers In 34-6 Victory
According to state data, the disbursement of funds increased by $3 million from July to August, going from $29 million to $32 million. During that same period, the number of households served per month increased to 5,100 from 4,400.
Six counties—Carroll, Cecil, Frederick, Howard, Prince George’s and Wicomico—have already distributed 50% of their allocations. The housing department said it set aside $20 million for the fastest-spending jurisdictions and will begin allocating those reserve funds in October.
A survey from the Maryland Multi-Housing Association found that 17% of renters are behind on multiple months of rent, compared with a high of 42% at the height of the pandemic, the agency said.
In 2020, prior to the launch of the the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, the state distributed $113 million in state, local and federal funds to 30,000 renters.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 In Maryland: More Than 800 New Cases & 5 Deaths Reported Sunday
Tenants and landlords can apply for assistance by visiting rentrelief.maryland.gov or calling 877-546-5595