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Press Releases - County Council

Council Approves Two Million Dollars in Funding for Covid-19 Emergency Rental Assistance

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Special appropriation spearheaded by Councilmember Glass is one element
of four-part solution to help provide housing stability for low- and middle-income renters

ROCKVILLE, Md., April 28, 2020—Today the Montgomery County Council unanimously approved a special appropriation of two million dollars to be used for emergency eviction prevention and housing stabilization programs. Funds will be allocated to provide a short-term rental subsidy program to low- and moderate-income households in response to the current Covid-19 declared state of emergency in Maryland. Councilmember Evan Glass, who is the Council’s Lead on Homelessness and Vulnerable Communities, spearheaded this appropriation, which was sponsored by the entire Council.

This support will be managed by the County’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to support programs administered by Services to End and Prevent Homelessness during the Covid-19 public health emergency. This program will be time-limited and recipients would not be prevented from accepting a permanent subsidy program for which they are eligible.

“On Friday rent will be due for the 130,000 renter households here in Montgomery County. I have heard from renters all over the county who are hurting, struggling and have been hit hard by this pandemic. These rental assistance funds will help provide economic stability for thousands of individuals and families who are concerned about keeping a roof over their heads,” Councilmember Evan Glass said. “This is one more step toward strengthening our social safety net and ensuring that all residents have a safe place to call home.”

Before the pandemic crisis, approximately half of Montgomery County renters were cost burdened. A recent Urban Institute report noted that renters are less financially stable than homeowners; in 2018 one in five renters did not have $400 readily available if needed for unexpected costs. With non-essential businesses closed during the Covid-19 declared state of emergency in Maryland, many County residents have been left with no income or significantly reduced income. Many residents are having difficulty paying all or a portion of rent. DHHS reports that they are having increased requests for housing assistance, particularly from people who have never asked for assistance before.

While renters with leases are currently protected from eviction, people in informal housing agreements, such as renting a room, are not. The County will leverage any federal and state housing and rental assistance, such as funding expected through the Community Development Block Grant, for which a County resident is eligible. DHHS will assist residents in applying for unemployment, utility assistance and other available benefits. The County will seek federal and state reimbursement for program costs associated with the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

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Release ID: 20-179
Media Contact: Valeria Carranza 240-257-6198