BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City is investing in more than $15 million to help tenants pay rent while they struggle financially during the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Jack Young announced Monday.
The Temporary Rent Support program is meant to help residents who are struggling to pay rent due to a COVID-19 related financial impact.
The city is also directing resources to the city's existing homelessness prevention efforts to help address housing instability issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Like millions of families across the country, many Baltimore families are struggling to pay rent and have faced record unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic," said Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young. "With this program, along with the support aimed at overall homelessness prevention, we will serve low-income households facing financial hardship or loss of income and prevent a wave of evictions during this pandemic."
The eviction moratorium is set to expire in late July, and with delinquencies at twice the pre-pandemic rates, the program is a one-time emergency program to help renters get current on their April, May and June rents and bring a "measure of stability to the rental property market," the mayor said in a press release Monday.
The City will ramp up its homeless prevention efforts including eviction prevention and relocation support services to "assure that it is in the best position to help low-income residents as evictions resume,"
"We've been working for weeks with tenant advocates, community partners, and small- and large-scale landlords to design and implement a program that can reach the largest number of those most vulnerable," said Housing Commissioner Michael Braverman. "As a city, we've been able to assemble a range of resources for both rent support and homeless prevention with the shared objective of mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on tenants' ability to pay rent and the cascading effects of eviction."
The funding for the Temporary Rent Support component of the program includes Community Development Block Grant COVID funds, $13.1 million through the CARES Act.
Under the program, landlords will accept 80 percent of contract rent, waive late fees and penalties and agree not to file for any subsequent non-payment during July and August.
It will cover up to three months' rent for April, May and June. Officials said the city will pay the full balance of the delinquency, up to 80 percent of the contract rent unless the tenant received unemployment benefits- in which case the tenant must pay a portion.
Payments will be made on behalf of tenants to landlords.
City residents can apply starting July 1, and the application will close on July 13. Learn more on how to apply here.
"Along with the Temporary Rent Support program to help people with shorter-term needs, we're working to establish a more robust tenant-based eviction prevention program to address longer-term housing instability issues within Baltimore City," said Mayor Young.
The city's longer-term homelessness prevention program is dedicating $3 million CARES Act funding to rent payments and has gotten the support of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund Commission for an expected $2.75 million in additional funds to help income eligible renters who may not have been eligible for the Temporary Rent Support program.
CAP centers also administer a year-round eviction prevention program.
Residents who need rental assistance, but don't qualify for the temporary COVID-19 assistance, should complete the Rental Assistance Inquiry form here
for more features.