Lawmakers to Hogan Administration: Extend Eviction Moratorium

House and CalculatorChairmans’ letter to the Secretary of Housing urges that the eviction moratorium be extended to January 2021 to help stem “a tsunami” of evictions. 

The letter, signed by Environment and Transportation Committee Chairman Kumar Barve and Vice-Chairman Dana Stein and addressed to the Secretary of Housing and Community Development Kenneth Holt, underscored the need to extend the moratorium to allow time for additional planning to properly respond, recovery of the economy, and the ability to introduce emergency legislation if necessary.

The current moratorium on both the federal and state level is set to end on July 25. Advocates fear that resources provided by the state and federal administrations are still not enough to meet the need for assistance.

The Baltimore Sun reports:

“Again, while we recognize the actions taken by the Hogan administration to dedicate $30 million in CARES Act funds for rental assistance and funding for certain housing providers, this amount seemingly pales in comparison to the need stated by both tenant advocates and representatives of property owners and managers,” the letter reads, referring to a federal coronavirus aid bill.

While the state and some municipalities have created assistance funds to aid residents who are behind on rent and mortgage payments due to losing work to the COVID-19 pandemic, tenants’ rights groups have warned the $30 million in funding from the state may be less than one-quarter of what’s needed to aid all of the state’s affected residents.

Maryland Matters elaborates on how overwhelmed county established programs have been with requests from residents.

While many jurisdictions, including Baltimore City and Montgomery County, have designated money toward rental relief programs, they have quickly been overwhelmed with applications.

“In Phase 1 of Baltimore County’s COVID–19 Eviction Prevention Program, it was estimated that $1 million would help approximately 300 households,” Barve and Stein wrote. “However, the program received 1,500 applications totaling over $6 million in requests for assistance.”

The letter follows a briefing the Committee Chairs held on COVID-19 related housing issues at the end of June. MACo’s Legislative Director, Natasha Mehu, briefed the committee on county efforts to provide assistance to renters impacted by the crisis.

For more information:

State Lawmakers Want Md. to Extend Moratorium on Evictions (Maryland Matters)

Lawmakers call on Hogan to extend Maryland’s eviction moratorium until Jan. 31 (The Baltimore Sun)

MACo Briefing to Environment and Transportation Committee on COVID-19 Related Housing Issues