WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now) — Tens of thousands of people have received emergency rental assistance since the start of the pandemic.

That’s according to the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. The state got more than 480 million in federal funds.

Groups like the Washington county community action council have used more than half of the money they received in just one month.

“We received in the first installment ERAP one, we received about 10.7 million and then in ERAP two,” Geordie Newman said. “We received an additional 10.4 million, but we only have about three million of the first installment of ERAP two and then the supplemental is another 4 million.”

Part of the problem is some landlords bumped their rent up higher, banking on the extra money from the government assistance.

“With the ERAP funding that’s being provided to landlords, they’re not evicting tenants, because they are receiving their full rental amounts but when ERAP is fully expended we fully anticipate that’s when we’ll see the real housing crisis in our community,” Newman explained

But the question still remains, what will happen once the relief money expires? The state sent an email saying in part:

“Most local programs will continue to provide housing stability services for a period of time, connecting tenants to other local rent resources or helping them relocate to more affordable housing options.”

“We’re working to acquire more rental properties,” Newman said. ” So we have 39 rental properties and we’re looking to acquire additional so that we can provide whatever assistance we can.”