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Coronavirus Updates: Rental and Eviction Rights, Maryland Expanded Mask Order, Travel Advisory, Housing Assistance Deadline, Business Grants Deadline

Coronavirus Updates: Rental and Eviction Rights, Maryland Expanded Mask Order, Travel Advisory, Housing Assistance Deadline, Business Grants Deadline

July 30, 2020

Media Contact: 
Scott Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412 
 
 
ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball highlighted rental and eviction rights for tenants ahead of August 1st. 
 
“This Saturday, many residents will face another month of missed rent due to income loss from COVID-19,” said Ball. “It’s critical that tenants are aware of their rights. Under the current Executive Order issued by Governor Hogan, a court cannot order the eviction of any tenant who can show that their failure to pay rent was a result of COVID-19. While we’ve allocated $1.5 million towards rental and eviction relief, and promoted other relief programs, we know that this crisis is far from over.” 
 
Examples of COVID-19 related rent delinquency include losing employment, needing to care for a school-aged child, or being diagnosed with COVID-19. An additional emergency order prohibits electric, gas, water, sewage, phone, cable TV, and internet service provider companies from shutting off any residential customer’s service or charging any late fees. For additional assistance with housing needs, utility shutoffs, family or financial issues, tenants should contact Maryland 2-1-1 by calling 211 or visiting 211md.org. 
 
For more guidelines for rental tenants, please click here. If you are in need of legal support, please contact Maryland Legal Aid, or Maryland Volunteer Legal Services.  
 
Testing in Howard County 
Howard County currently has a 3.46% 7-day average positivity rate and has tested 14.6% of its population. Residents are still encouraged to get tested if they been to a large gathering, returned to an office, or may have been exposed, even if they are not displaying symptoms. 
 
“A majority of Howard County residents have already made mask-wearing a best practice and we have been able to keep our numbers relatively low,” said Ball. “However, Maryland is at a crossroads – we can easily slip back into a serious outbreak situation if we do not remain cautious. After five months of response, it’s clear that COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon - this is an ongoing crisis. We must not grow weary; our community health depends on us collectively working together.”  
 
To view a comprehensive list of testing locations in Howard County, please click here.  
 
Maryland Mask Order 
Yesterday, Governor Hogan expanded the statewide masking order and provided travel recommendations to Marylanders. The expanded masking order is effective tomorrow, Friday, July 31st at 5 p.m., and requires face coverings be worn in the public spaces of all businesses across MD and in outdoor public areas where at least six feet of physical distancing is not possible.

Maryland Travel Advisory 
Hogan also issued a warning for Marylanders to avoid traveling to the following states, unless essential, which have a high COVID-19 positivity rate: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, and Texas. If you must travel to these states, it is recommended that you get tested as soon as you return to Maryland, and self-quarantine until you receive your results.

Howard County Rent and Eviction Relief 
Howard County residents may apply for financial assistance to pay past due rent payments to prevent eviction. The $1.5 million in housing payment relief is being allocated through local non-profit partnerships. Applicants must be Howard County residents, provide proof of home address, and provide evidence of loss of income due to COVID-related job loss, reduction in hours, and/or medical illness. The maximum assistance per household is three months of housing expense. 
 
Residents may contact one of the participating providers for an application: 
•    Community Action Council, cac-hc.org, 410-313-6440 
•    The United Way, uwcm.org, 211 
•    Grassroots, grassrootcrisis.org, evictionprevention@grassrootscrisis.org, 410-531-6677 
•    Family and Children’s Services, fcsmd.org, lspivey@fcsmd.org, 443-864-0379 
•    Foreign-Born Information and Referral Network (FIRN), firnonline.org, housinghelp@firnonline.org, 443-276-3166 
 
Applicants must also meet maximum household income limits, which are based on 80% of the Howard County area median income.  

Family Size and Amount:
 
One Person       $64,723  
Two Person       $73,969  
Three Persons   $83,215  
Four Persons     $92,461  
Five Persons      $99,858  
Six Persons       $107,255  
Seven Persons   $114,651  
Eight Persons    $122,048  
  
Partnership with Making Change
 
In County Executive Ball’s continued commitment to financial literacy, Howard County is partnering with Making Change, Inc. to provide free financial counseling to residents affected by a loss of income due to COVID-19. The counseling will include budget preparation and contacting creditors for assistance. The request form is available at makingchangecenter.org or by emailing info@makingchangecenter.org
 
Maryland Housing Assistance Program 
Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development is providing rent relief for tenants directly to eligible property managers. To qualify, the inability to pay rent must be COVID-19 related. If you are a tenant of an eligible property you will be credited with a four-month rent rebate that is paid directly to the property manager, this will eliminate your rental debt and the threat of eviction. 
 
This program is first-come, first-serve and the deadline is this Friday, July 31st at Noon. If your property is eligible, you should send applications to your property manager and encourage your neighbors to also apply as soon as possible. For more information, a list of eligible properties, and to apply, please visit: https://dhcd.maryland.gov/Pages/AHRP-NOFA.aspx
 
HoCo RISE Business Grants Deadline
Phase II of the HoCo RISE Business grants will provide $2,500 grants to support to local childcare establishments and the hotel industry. Applications can be filed online at: http://www.hceda.org/c19grants. The deadline for applications is this Friday, July 31, at 11:59 p.m. 
 

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