Housing Authority of Baltimore City Urges Residents to Apply for Remaining $3M Emergency Rental Assistance
Funding available through United Way of Central Maryland can help residents avoid eviction for failure to pay rent
BALTIMORE — The Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) is urging residents who cannot pay rent to immediately contact their management office and resolve outstanding payments to avoid court action. HABC staff are standing by to help residents apply for Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) that is administered through United Way of Central Maryland (United Way).
The Federal government provided ERA funds to help eligible tenants with their rent, which can provide up to 15 months of rental payments. Currently, there is $3 million in ERA funds available through United Way that HABC residents can take advantage of.
“Residents cannot apply for ERA funds on their own. That is why we are urging them to immediately contact their management office where HABC staff are ready to submit the applications on their behalf,” said Janet Abrahams, HABC’s President and CEO. “We are doing everything we can to help our residents maintain their housing status, but the clock is ticking.”
HABC has been communicating the ERA availability to its residents over the last year and a half. With a week left before the ERA application deadline (June 23), HABC doesn’t want any residents to miss out on the opportunity. There are more than 2,000 HABC residents who have failed to pay their rent and could face court action. The ERA funds would greatly assist many residents who qualify, especially those who have gone several months to more than a year without paying their rent.
“We’re here to provide what’s needed, where it’s needed, for these tenants,” said Franklyn Baker, president and CEO of United Way of Central Maryland. “Our STEP (Strategic Targeted Eviction Prevention) Program has been the primary vehicle for HABC public housing residents to access rental assistance since the start of the pandemic, and the STEP effort as a whole has assisted more than 12,500 households throughout the Central Maryland region in the past two years. There are many contributing factors that lead to residents falling behind on rent, and while the national pandemic emergency has officially ended, many are still feeling the effects. This partnership with HABC is a perfect example of United Way working alongside government partners to respond quickly to emerging needs and co-create solutions that are nimble and innovative.”
HABC residents who owe rent received 30-day lease termination notices. Failure to pay rent when rent is due is a violation of the lease. To avoid court action, residents who received notices must satisfy their outstanding balances.
Over the last 18 months, HABC has implemented several measures to reach families who are behind on rent, including:
- issued several letters and reminders about rent delinquency
- conducted interim rent adjustments where applicable
- held rent conferences
- initiated and processed almost 1,000 rent relief applications valued at almost $3 million on behalf of our residents
- directed prevention referrals through the Baltimore City Community Action Partnership
- conducted several public service announcements through traditional and digital media
“The Housing Authority of Baltimore City’s (HABC) primary focus is to help individuals and families maintain their housing,” said Abrahams. “HABC understands the financial challenges many residents face and works with individuals to help them pay their outstanding rent.”
While many residents successfully pay their owed balances, HABC is required to follow leasing guidelines recognized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for those who do not satisfy their delinquent balances. It is a standard procedure that begins with an initial court filing followed by additional actions and outreach to residents before a final legal action is taken.
“HABC wants residents who owe outstanding rent to meet with staff immediately and satisfy their delinquent balances, avoiding any legal proceedings that could put their public housing at risk.”