More than 5,500 households have begun or completed applications for Baltimore City’s $13 million rental assistance program, according to Tammy Hawley, spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Housing.
Applications for the program, which aims to prevent mass evictions by paying April, May and June rent for renters who have lost income due to COVID-19, were due at 7 p.m. Sunday. The payments go directly to landlords.
The department sought to help at least 6,000 households and may have leftover funds.
“It would be our intention to continue to make funds available for other eviction prevention efforts that we expect to follow this effort,” Hawley said.
The program was originally scheduled to close July 13, but the city extended the deadline after it had received only 4,000 applications by that time.
Applications came from all parts of the city, with the majority coming from the northeast. Most of them also came from households with children.
Maryland has a moratorium on evictions that expires July 25, and the department expects to pay landlords by the end of July. Hawley noted that because renters get the approval of their landlords before applying, it is highly unlikely that landlords will evict renters if they do not get their payments before the moratorium
The city developed the program in consultation with tenant and landlord advocates.
“Given the timeline that an action would normally take to move through the court process, we don't anticipate any eviction actions getting ahead of disbursement of these funds,” Hawley said.
Hawley said that other rental assistance resources are available on the department’s website for those who were not eligible for the program or whose applications are not approved.
“We want people to really understand the support is available now,” Hawley said.