March 11, 2021
Scott Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412
ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Today, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced residents can apply for the $9.7 million in grant funding Howard County received from the U.S. Treasury for rent relief and utility assistance and $1.4 million in County funding to support a new foreclosure prevention program. The Treasury funding will be distributed through local non-profit organizations and can be used to pay past due rent and utility expenses for up to 12 months. Photos of the event can be found here.
Our residents still have significant needs as they manage utility bills, rent payments and mortgage payments during this challenging time. Rental delinquency data from the Maryland Multi-Housing Association and the Housing Commission estimates that 1 in 4 of the 23,000 renter households in Howard County are past due on rent. Beginning today, residents can apply to one of our four nonprofit partners to receive assistance to pay past due rent and utility expenses for up to 12 months.
The following local non-profits will be distributing the funding:
- $2.35 million through Community Action Council – Howard County;
- $1 million through Foreign-Born Information and Referral Network (FIRN);
- $1 million through Grassroots; and
- $200k through Springboard Community Services.
Rent & Utility Assistance
Assistance is available for residents experiencing a loss of income due to COVID-19. Residents that have received assistance previously are eligible to apply for additional assistance from this funding. With the current eviction moratorium set to expire at the end of March, the Department of Housing and Community Development is encouraging all residents with COVID-related household income losses to contact one of these providers as soon as possible to bring rent and utility accounts current and avoid eviction. To apply, please click here.
Ball also announced the County is funding a new foreclosure prevention program with $1.4 million supported through County pandemic assistance funding. Residents impacted by COVID and not able to pay their mortgage payments should contact the County’s Housing Department to complete an application for mortgage assistance. Residents with pending or approved forbearance plans with their mortgage lender are eligible to apply for assistance. The moratorium on filing of Notices of Intent to Foreclose also ends on 3/31.
“While we have focused on providing rental assistance over the last year, we realize many homeowners have also been struggling to make their mortgage payments during this time,” said Kelly Cimino, Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development. “With the moratorium on foreclosures expiring at the end of the month, we are taking action now to help homeowners pay past due mortgage payments, so they can retain the equity in their homes and avoid foreclosure.”
“Currently, the moratorium on covid-related evictions is still in place in Howard County,” said Howard County Sheriff Marcus Harris. “The Sheriff’s Office is however, serving orders from District Court regarding non-covid related eviction, breach of leases and tenant holdovers. If residents have any questions or concerns regarding the eviction process, please contact our Landlord/Tenant Unit at 410-313-7553.”
“This unprecedented level of funding represents a key investment in our community that helps mitigate hunger, homelessness and hardship,” said Bita Dayoff, Executive Director of Community Action Council-Howard County (CAC). “It offers a real lifeline to families facing unprecedented challenges of COVID-19. CAC is thankful for the lifechanging support the County Executive is providing our community and honored to partner with all of the providers so that together we can help our neighbors overcome this difficult period in our history.”
“This virus hasn’t just threatened our lives, it has spread by threatening our livelihoods and even homes,” said Mike Mitchell, Executive Director of Foreign-Born Information and referral Network (FIRN). “FIRN has been grateful to be a part of stopping and reversing that spread through housing assistance. Because of County Executive Ball and the Housing Department, we’ve been a proud partner in fighting the virus by ensuring people can keep a roof over their heads.”
“During the pandemic, I lost my job, all the way back in March, and I was four months behind in my rent. I reached out to FIRN, and they paid my rent in full, they took care of it,” said Raphael Eze, Howard County resident. “A few months later I was behind again, and they helped a second time, and I’m really thankful for that.”
“Springboard Community Services is excited to continue assisting families in need, while recognizing the far-reaching impact of the global pandemic on many communities throughout Howard County,” said Tiffany Jordan, Director of Client Services at Springboard Community Services. “We look forward to continued engagement with these communities in need, focusing on the goal of eviction prevention and housing stability.”
“Rental assistance is a humane and effective way of stemming the avalanche of miseries that are affecting some families in Howard County because of the pandemic. Intervention is necessary to stabilize financially strapped families until the parents return to work and can get on their feet again,” said Grassroots Executive Director Dr. Mariana Izraelson. “With money from the County for rental assistance last year, Grassroots was able to help 93 struggling families maintain their own homes for their children and themselves. With this grant Grassroots will be able to prevent more families falling into homelessness, and we are grateful to Howard County Government for providing this financial assistance.”