County Executive Steuart Pittman announced a new Eviction Prevention Program that will help renters struggling to pay rent or utility bills because of recent job loss or employment disruption in the wake of the COVID-19 public health crisis.
“While Maryland courts have suspended evictions and foreclosures for the time being during this crisis, many renters will still owe rent at the end of the day and many landlords will still owe mortgage payments,” said Pittman. “This program will help people stay on track so that when the moratorium is lifted, they do not have a bigger problem with months of arrears and late fees.”
The Eviction Prevention Program, an initiative the county developed with the Local Development Council (LDC), will provide temporary assistance to households with incomes up to 80 percent of Area Median Income adjusted for household size (about $75,000 for a family of four). The LDC provides guidance to the County Executive and the nonprofit housing agency Arundel Community Development Services on the expenditure of Video Lottery Terminal proceeds.
“Much of the County’s workforce, including retail workers and hospitality staff from around Arundel Mills Mall and Live! Casino and Hotel ― the LDC’s target area ― are now out of work,” said Karen McJunkin, chair of the LDC. “We wanted to deploy funds swiftly and efficiently to help these folks avoid being evicted down the road.”
To complement this countywide program, ACDS also offers free financial counseling for residents who may be facing tough economic realities or struggling to pay their mortgage, said ACDS Executive Director, Kathleen Koch. “Our experienced financial advisors are standing by, remotely, ready to help people navigate a variety of resources, including unemployment benefits and the federal stimulus payments. We also can help you call your mortgage servicer and work out a plan to hopefully avoid foreclosure.”
Case managers at ACDS and partner agencies will work with applicants to process their eviction requests remotely. Participants will need to provide documentation that shows their income was disrupted in the wake of COVID-19, a letter from their landlord that they are in arrears, and household income documentation.
Beginning Monday, April 20, interested residents can apply to the Eviction Prevention Program and access the free confidential financial and foreclosure prevention counseling services by calling ACDS at 410-222-7600 and dialing zero.
For the latest COVID-19 information and updates, visit www.aacounty.org/coronavirus.