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Scott Announces $3.3 Million Fund For Security Deposit Assistance

Credit: Bruce Emmerling/Pixabay
Credit: Bruce Emmerling/Pixabay

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott announced Thursday the city will create a $3.3 million fund to help renters with security deposits.

He said the city will launch the fund in the fall to provide security deposit grants of up to $2,000 to renters. The money comes from a federal Community Services Block Grant.

The announcement comes days after the City Council sustained Scott’s veto of a bill requiring landlords to provide security deposit alternatives to renters. That bill, sponsored by Council Vice President Sharon Green Middleton, faced widespread backlash from renters’ advocates for listing surety bonds as an alternative.

Last Friday, Council President Nick Mosby, a vocal sponsor of the bill, sent a letter to Scott proposing security deposit grants. Scott said the fund he announced Thursday was the result of months of collaboration with Acting Housing Commissioner Alice Kennedy and Tisha Edwards, the executive director of the Office of Children and Family Success.

“They were already under the direction to develop a program to figure out how to further the work,” Scott told WYPR.

The mayor said he appreciated Mosby and Middleton's “dedication” to making housing more affordable for renters.

“As we're coming out of the pandemic, we know that loss of jobs and loss of opportunity for people to work can create a devastating wave of people not being able to have safe and affordable housing,” he said.

Applicants for assistance must have an income at or below 125% of the federal poverty level, and live in rental units registered and licensed with the city. They must also have a signed lease and provide documentation showing that they are required to pay a security deposit.

Sarah Y. Kim is WYPR’s health and housing reporter. Kim is WYPR's Report for America corps member, and Anthony Brandon Fellow. Kim joined WYPR as a 2020-2021 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. Now in her second year as an RFA corps member, Kim is based in Baltimore City.