Housing Authority of Baltimore City to Receive More Than 275 Emergency Housing Vouchers to Combat Homelessness

HABC will work with the city to identify families in most dire need

(BALTIMORE | May 21, 2021) The Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) will be receiving 278 Emergency Housing Vouchers to help homeless and other vulnerable populations find and lease places to live.

The allocation from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the result of the American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law in March by President Biden. The value of the vouchers and related services is $3.1 million.

“These vouchers are very much needed and welcomed in our city,” said HABC President and CEO Janet Abrahams. “We are grateful to HUD for recognizing the dire conditions under which too many of Baltimore’s residents live. We have already taken steps to prepare to put this plan into motion and helping meet the need.”

The vouchers are specifically targeted to assist individuals and families in four categories: homeless; at risk of homelessness; fleeing, or attempting to flee, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking; and recently homeless.

These vouchers will work in the same way HABC’s regular Housing Choice vouchers do. A household pays 30% of its income toward rent and the voucher covers the remainder. Because these are generally very low-income households, the portion of rent they pay will be extremely low.

HABC will collaborate with the city’s Office of Homeless Services’ Coordinated Access System (CAC) to identify and refer potential clients. The CAC verifies that the individual or family meets one of the four eligibility categories and then hands off to HABC, which will then screen the clients to ensure they are eligible.

Because the affected families are in such great need, HUD has included additional funding to overcome barriers to finding and leasing a unit. For example, HABC will help these clients with their housing search, security and utility deposits, and application fees. The housing authority will also help in recruiting property owners and giving those owners incentives to lease to referred clients. Finally, HABC may help with moving expenses and if needed, preparing homeless residents for the obligations of managing their apartment or house.

“Our partners at HUD have provided us with the tools to successfully administer this program,” Abrahams said. “Now it is our job, working with Mayor Brandon Scott’s administration, to make it happen. We believe we have formed a like-minded partnership for this initiative.”

The 278 emergency housing vouchers come in addition to 50 vouchers HABC provided the city’s homeless services office in April. HUD has authorized HABC to begin issuing these vouchers on July 1st. The goal is to incrementally have all 278 vouchers issued by the end of October.

Households on HABC’s regular waiting list are not eligible for these vouchers. HABC is informing them through social media and on the agency’s website.

About HABC

HABC is the fifth largest public housing authority in the U.S., providing quality affordable housing for more than 23,000 households. The agency creates diverse and vibrant communities, provides opportunities for self-sufficiency, and builds pathways for strong partnerships. #bmoreHABC