In the wake of a shift away from COVID-era eviction prevention measures, statewide eviction numbers are starting to reach pre-pandemic levels.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, federal, state, and county actors implemented a slew of policy measures in an effort to prevent a wave of evictions and homelessness during the crisis. Following the pandemic, the housing market has been reeling from a mixture of supply chain and labor disruptions, as well as a multi-year slump in housing production. As many eviction prevention programs come to an end, renters are forced to face an erratic housing market, pushing eviction numbers back to their pre-pandemic levels.
According to the Baltimore Banner,
Between August and September 2022, 13 jurisdictions, including Baltimore (City), recorded an eviction tally in at least one month that exceeded the number of evictions for that month in 2019, the last year before the COVID-19 pandemic was declared.
Earlier this week MACo, along with MML, Maryland Realtors, and the Community Development Network of Maryland, was asked to brief the Maryland Senate’s new Education, Energy, and Environment (EEE) committee on the current statewide housing landscape.
One of the major takeaways from the briefing is the possibility of an impending eviction crisis. As federal and state funds for emergency rental relief begin to dry up, many renters are being forced out of their homes. According to projections from the United Way of Central Maryland:
- Approx. 34,000 households will likely face eviction next year, and 17,000 of those are preventable.
- Roughly 1 in 10 evictions result in a shelter entry, meaning 1,700 households (4,420 individuals) will become homeless.
- This will almost completely reverse all progress that has been made in reducing homelessness in Maryland over the past decade.
Without a state-level emergency rental assistance program, the current crisis will evolve from a housing crisis into a social crisis. Counties will be the primary responder as one of the largest providers of social services statewide. The potential for a mass eviction wave was largely held off by county programmatic infrastructure and federal/state funding. Without action at the federal or state level, the last backstop preventing a potential wave of evictions will soon be gone.