BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Mayor Brandon M. Scott is announcing the details of a program starting today that will connect people and families facing eviction with resources and support at the courthouse.
The Baltimore City Pandemic Rent Court Program will allow litigants to apply for back-rent assistance on-site at rent court through Baltimore's Eviction Prevention Program. This is administered by the Baltimore City Community Action Partnership (BCCAP).
This program is just one component of the Scott administration's eviction prevention strategy for vulnerable residents and families.
The BCCAP staff will work with landlords and tenants to resolve issues and settle debts. Judges can refer litigants to on-site BCCAP staff to apply for back-rent assistance.
On Friday, Mayor Scott sent a letter to the District Court of Maryland requesting their partnership in promoting the BCCAP in the courtroom. The letter also encouraged the judges to use their authority to recommend voluntary postponements of pending evictions and share eviction filing information with the administration in order to better serve Baltimoreans in need.
"To ensure a strong start to the program and its long-term effectiveness, I am calling on the court to leverage its authority to proactively promote the Baltimore City Pandemic Rent Court Program with tenants and landlords to maximize eviction diversion," wrote Mayor Scott in the September 10, 2021 letter.
"The Pandemic Rent Court Program represents one of several critical partnerships we have forged to maximize the reach and impact of the Eviction Prevention Program," said MOCFS Executive Director Tisha Edwards.
In addition to this court-based program, the Scott administration continues to prioritize eviction prevention by providing rent support, back rent recovery, relocation services, and legal representation.
As of August 27, Baltimore City's Eviction Prevention Program disbursed $21.6 million in past-due rent payments, assisted 4,487 households to come current on rent, and averted approximately 1,044 eviction proceedings.
Residents with eviction notices receive expedited assistance.
To stop cases from landing in the courts, the Scott administration made an agreement with the Baltimore City Sheriff's Office, which is sharing information with the City about pending evictions so that immediate action can be taken to settle debts and keep people in their homes.
"We know that when tenants have access to legal services, they are less likely to be unfairly evicted," said Acting Housing Commissioner Alice Kennedy. "It prevents displacement and homelessness, and reduces housing instability and trauma."
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