Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced a second round of HoCo RISE rental assistance funding, providing an additional $800,000 in CARES Act funds to support residents struggling to pay rent because of the pandemic. These funds build on the nearly $1.6 million provided for rental assistance by the Ball administration earlier this year.
Ball also announced a $60,000 grant to Maryland Legal Aid to provide legal support for residents facing eviction earlier this month.
Beginning Oct. 5, residents may apply for assistance to pay up to three months of past due rent. Applications will be available at the Community Action Council (CAC), Grassroots and FIRN. Residents must live in Howard County and provide documentation that the loss of household income is related to COVID-19 to qualify for assistance. Household income limits apply. Details can be found at www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/Housing-and-Community-Development.
“The longer this pandemic stretches on, the more urgent rental and eviction relief becomes,” said Ball. “With more than 23,000 renters in the county and more than 46,000 residents who have filed for unemployment, we are doing all that we can to keep people safely housed. This $800,000 is in addition to nearly $1.6 million we provided in rental assistance earlier this year. As we continue to battle this virus, we must deliver the necessary relief and services to make sure no one falls through the cracks.”
The county previously awarded $800,000 in CARES Act funding to six nonprofit partners in early July. During the last 10 weeks, 196 households have received $543,006 in assistance to pay up to three months of past due rent. The average amount of assistance provided to each household is $3,300. There are 74 applications still in process. Based on the average amount of assistance per household, the applications currently in process will deplete these funds before the end of September.
The county also previously awarded $770,356 in CDBG-CV funds from HUD to the Howard County Housing Commission and Bridges to Housing Stability. Both agencies are working with clients in properties owned and managed by the respective agencies. These funds will be provided to their tenants by the end of the year.
Efforts to secure additional funding are ongoing, as Howard County is seeking $2 million in support from the Maryland Eviction Prevention Partnership Grant program. The application for additional funds will be posted on the Howard County DHCD website on Sept. 21 and public comment will be accepted through Sept. 25. The County Council will concurrently consider a local resolution authorizing submission of this application at a public hearing on Sept. 21. If approved, the application will be submitted to the State before the Oct. 2 deadline.
For legal assistance to prevent evictions, residents can contact Maryland Legal Aid intake line at 301-560-2100 or www.mdlab.org. Residents with concerns about unfair landlord practices may contact the County’s Office of Consumer Protection for assistance at 410-313-6420.