MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now) — If you live in Montgomery County and are struggling to pay your rent because of the pandemic, you have one more week to apply for the rental relief program.
The county still has about $17.5 million to distribute from the $40 million total they received this last round of funding. The COVID-19 rent relief program provides short-term rental assistance to those who have financially been impacted by the pandemic.
During its four rounds of assistance, the county has distributed 92.8 million dollars. Matt Losak, the Executive Director of the Renters Alliance says while the program has helped over 10 thousand households, it’s not a panacea.
“Obviously for those who have benefited from the program, it was extremely helpful and kept many of them from disaster,” said Losak. “We are still seeing thousands of renters, who are at risk of losing their homes. One of the things that we measured our evictions that we get data from the court to see, but what we don’t see are all the people who are hopeless.”
To qualify for this funding, applicants must:
- Have experienced COVID-19 financial hardship
- Have a household gross income from either their 2020 or 2021 tax return or the previous 30 days that is at or below 50% of area median income
- Have resided in Montgomery County since at least August 2021
- Be behind on rent by at least two months
The maximum award that applicants can receive $12,000 and utility assistance of up to $2,000 is available for applicants making $30,000 or less than the area median income.
In terms of long-term solutions, County Executive Marc Elrich proposed a permanent stabilization bill that the council is considering.
“Rent increases are going up in the double digits and they are forcing long-term mentors from their homes,” said Losak. “We are all going to pay that price if we don’t get some kind of stabilization in place.”
The last day the program will accept applications is midnight on January 13. The county says they expect that when they process all of the current applications and those that come in the next week that they will have spent a total of $40.5 million. To apply, click here.
If you have received an eviction judgment you may be eligible for other assistance, just call 311 for help.