Baltimore County will receive an additional $1.1 million in rental assistance funds from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced Thursday.
The funds are coming from the reallocation of the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program funds. According to a press release from Olzsewski’s office, “Baltimore County was one of only three jurisdictions statewide to receive reallocation funding – obtaining the largest reallocation of federal dollars in the state.”
The county and its nonprofit partners have invested more than $116 million in stabilizing housing since the pandemic began, helping over 8,500 families stay in their homes and avoid eviction. The new funds will help approximately 90 additional households.
“We should do everything possible to help families who have fallen on hard times stay in their homes,” Olszewski said in a statement. “We are grateful to our federal partners for these reallocated funds, which will help nearly 100 of the most vulnerable households in Baltimore County avoid eviction and potential homelessness as they work to stabilize their finances — and their futures.”
The funding will be distributed through the county’s Eviction Prevention Program (EPP), which works directly with residents through local nonprofit organizations to help them stay in their homes.
U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) appreciates the government’s help keeping Marylanders housed.
“Every Marylander deserves a secure place to call home,” Van Hollen said in a statement. “That’s why we fought to deliver emergency rental funds to our communities throughout the pandemic and worked to extend these funds so families can continue to use this lifeline to avoid eviction while they get back on their feet. These federal dollars will help more Baltimore County residents working to make ends meet live securely in their homes.”
U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Maryland) agreed.
“Every family deserves a safe place to call home,” Ruppersberger said in a statement. “When families don’t have to worry about making rent, they can focus on finding and keeping jobs, putting healthy food on the table and purchasing life-saving medications. I am proud to have supported this federal funding and thank Baltimore County for delivering this vital lifeline to struggling families.”
Baltimore County has also invested nearly $1.5 million since 2021 to ensure access to legal counsel for Marylanders caught in precarious housing situations. This has come in the form of free housing-related legal services through tenant hotlines, community clinics, and scheduled or day-of court legal representation.
Residents who require housing-related legal services may contact Maryland Legal Aid, Pro Bono Resource Center, St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center, or the District Court Self-Help Resource Centers. The District Court Self-Help Centers provide free limited legal services for individuals who are not represented by an attorney in civil cases on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. by calling 410-260-1392, or through an online chat.
Terry Hickey, director of Baltimore County’s Department of Housing and Community Development, believes the allocation of funds to the county speaks to the confidence the government has in Baltimore County’s ability to deliver help to those facing a housing crisis.
“The US Treasury provided this additional funding to jurisdictions based on their proven ability to effectively and efficiently assist households in preventing the loss of stable housing due to ongoing economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hickey said in a statement. “We are proud that Baltimore County’s Eviction Prevention Program is again receiving recognition for being a national model, and feel fortunate that we will have the opportunity to continue serving Baltimore County’s most vulnerable residents.”
Baltimore County is investing an additional $3 million over the next two years on other services supporting housing stability efforts, including case management, employment assistance services, housing navigation, benefits screening, financial navigation such as credit repair and budgeting, tenant/landlord advocacy, and tenant and landlord mediation.