CENTREVILLE — Governor Larry Hogan Monday, July 20, announced eight counties will receive more than $2.3 million in the first round of Maryland Eviction Prevention Partnership grants. Five of them are on the Eastern Shore.

“These awards reinforce my administration’s strong support for ensuring Marylanders stay safe and secure in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hogan said in a news release. “We are dedicated to assisting counties in their efforts to prevent eviction during these tough economic times.”

Locally, Queen Anne’s County received $80,000, Kent County received $84,246; and Cecil received $100,000. On the Lower Shore, Wicomico was awarded $1 million, while Somerset received $100,000.

Other counties receiving first-round grants include Frederick County with $722,129, Charles County with $200,000 and Allegany County with $55,000.

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development will administer the grants, funded by the federal Community Development Block Grant program. The $2.3 million distribution is the first wave of funding in the Hogan Administration’s promised $30 million program to prevent evictions across the state. These efforts, combined with the additional $30 million in efforts of local governments, represent more than $60 million dedicated to providing rental assistance for Marylanders.

Mike Clark, executive director of Queen Anne’s County Housing and Family Services, said when they knew the stay on evictions was going to be lifted, Cindi Boone from his office contacted landlords directly to tell them if they had tenants behind on their rent, there were funds available to help. Prior to the Eviction Prevention Partnership Grants, they had received some CARES Act funding.

“We were able to catch quite a few people up,” Clark said. The office estimated the first funds would help 63 families; with the new grant, they’ll be able to help more, he said.

Michelle Marshall, officer coordinator, sent a letter to the courts July 10 about available housing assistance.

“Currently, we have programs that can assist tenants who are in rental arrears. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic we are able to assist households with income levels from 0-80% of the Area Median Income Limits set forth by HUD. We encourage any tenant in Queen Anne’s County to contact our office to be screened in order to determine which of our programs will work best for that client, as many cases are so different,” she wrote. “During their time with us, we will also be able to offer other resources that we are aware of that may assist the client into becoming more self-sustainable and help them move forward in a positive direction.”

She said Tuesday that the new grant funds are expected to help an additional 22 families with emergency rental assistance.

The Housing Services office is located at 104 Powell Street, Centreville; the phone number is 410-758-3977. During the current state of emergency, most business is being done over the phone, but appointments are available if needed.

Queen Anne’s County actually received a little more than the $80,000 mentioned in the governor’s release, Clark said, explaining it was a two-part grant. The other part of the grant provides funding to help provide a safe place for people with COVID-19 who need to isolate and have no where else to go. These funds help pay for a hotel room during the person’s quarantine.

The national CDBG program was enacted into law by Congress as part of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974. For 45 years, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program has supported community redevelopment, affordable housing, and the expansion of economic opportunities, principally for persons of low and moderate income. The program is a vital resource for Maryland’s counties, cities, and towns in their efforts to provide critical services to their residents.

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