City extends deadline for rent assistance program to July 19

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Baltimore is extending the deadline to apply for the COVID-19 Temporary Rent Support program until Sunday, July 19 at 7 p.m., the Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development announced.

Applicants must be renters in the city, have a valid lease or tenancy agreement, have lost revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, live in a rental property that is registered with the city, and have been up to date on rent or on a payment plan as of March 31.

They must also have a household income no greater than $36,400 for a one-person household; $41,600 for two people; $46,800 for three people; $52,000 for four people; $56,200 for five people; $60,350 for six people; $64,500 for seven people; and $68,650 for eight people.

Kevin Nash, a spokesperson for the department, said more than 4,000 residents have started the process, but the agency doesn’t have a tally of how many people have completed the application. The original deadline to apply was July 10.

The fund, announced in late June, uses $13.1 million in Community Development Block Grant funds from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The city is also kicking in $3 million from its homelessness prevention program and expects another $2.75 million from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund Commission to help renters who may not be eligible for the program.

“Like millions of families across the country, many Baltimore families are struggling to pay rent and have faced record unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said in a statement when the program was announced. “With this program, along with the support aimed at overall homelessness prevention, we will serve low-income households facing financial hardship or loss of income and prevent a wave of evictions during this pandemic.”

Under the program, the city will make payments of up to 80 percent of rent on the behalf of tenants whose applications are accepted. Tenants who are receiving unemployment must contribute some of their benefits to paying back rent for April, May and June.

Priority is given to households with at least one member who is age 60 years or older, at least one child under 18 years old, three or more people in the household, and/or no household members approved for unemployment benefits.

More details about the application process can be found on the housing department’s website. Residents can call (410) 396-3023 for any questions about the application.

At the state level, Gov. Larry Hogan has committed $30 million to prevent renters from getting evicted, including $20 million for local governments and $10 million for a housing relief assistance program.

With the state’s moratorium on evictions set to end on July 25, housing advocates have called on the Hogan administration to provide more aid.

In a March letter to Hogan, representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, the Homeless Persons Representation Project and the Public Justice Center called for $153 million in rental assistance to cover the costs of 141,030 Maryland families for four months.

During a protest on July 1–the first day rent is due for many–advocates and tenants called for more relief and an extension of the eviction moratorium for one year beyond the end of the state of emergency.

Brandon Weigel


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