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Update: Montgomery County Launches $20 Million COVID Rent Relief Program: Now Accepting Requests for Second Phase of Rental Assistance

Montgomery County officials today launched the second phase of the COVID Rent Relief Program to provide financial assistance to eligible residents.  Administered by the County’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the program will accept applications on a rolling basis while funds remain available.

The $20-million funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security or CARES act expands rental assistance and homelessness prevention to low-income households that have experienced a loss of income due to the COVID-19 health crisis. The funding was introduced by County Executive Marc Elrich and approved by the County Council in July.

More than $1 million in financial assistance was given to eligible households in the initial phase of the program. DHHS has continued to maintain an active waitlist and the process for requesting assistance has been streamlined since the first phase was introduced earlier this year.

Eligible renters must certify that they have income under 60 percent of the average median income, which is $65,529 for a family of three; that they lost income due to COVID-19; that they are rent-burdened and behind on rent; and that they have been a resident of Montgomery County since February 2020. Households may have formal or informal lease arrangements.

Approved households may receive up to $4,000 for rent arrears and a rent credit for future months, paid directly to the landlord when a formal lease agreement exists. Eligible households who have an informal rental arrangement will receive rental assistance based on their monthly rental costs up to $4,000. For households with informal rental arrangements that do not have a lease in their name, the grant may be provided directly to the tenant. All assistance is based on the availability of funds.

For more information, including details about program requirements and an online application are on the County’s COVID-19 website. Households can complete the online application or contact 311 for additional assistance.  Renters facing an immediate loss of housing should also call 311 to discuss their situation with Montgomery County Housing Stabilization Services.

Households that have already received a COVID Rent Relief Grant, a State Assisted Housing Relief Program grant (through their property), or those who are receiving a housing voucher are not eligible. The COVID-19 Rent Relief Program is separate and different than the Rental Assistance Program operated by Housing Opportunities Commission, but households may apply to both.

Applications will be prioritized based on areas of highest COVID-19 impact, with households outside of the initial “high impact” neighborhoods placed on a waitlist and contacted as capacity allows.

DHHS has developed a Homeless Prevention Index to evaluate all neighborhoods in relation to COVID-19 impact, housing stress, and social determinants. Applications will be prioritized based on areas of highest COVID impact, with households outside of the initial “high impact” neighborhoods placed on a waitlist and contacted as capacity allows. This will enable to the program to ensure that an equity lenses is utilized, recognizing that communities of color have been significantly impacted by COVID, disproportionately experience homelessness, and are more likely to get evicted.

Breakfast for the Unsheltered Homeless

Montgomery County, the City of Gaithersburg Homeless Services Division, and the Montgomery County Muslim Foundation have combined forces to host a breakfast for unsheltered homeless individuals. It’s available 7 days a week from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at Griffith Park on the grounds of City Hall, 31 S. Summit Ave.

Job Announcement: LGBTQ Services Navigator SMYAL

SMYAL is seeking an LGBTQ Services Navigator

Position Description

The LGBTQ Services Navigator will work with staff at the Montgomery County Reengagement / Drop‐In Center to engage disconnected youth. The goal of the work will be to identify and build culturally competent resources for youth, to refer youth to the appropriate resources through Case Management, and to develop solutions to gaps in services. The LGBTQ Services Navigator, along with the dedicated Case Managers, provides client centered case management services to address the education, mental health, physical health and permanent living situation through coordinated activities and referrals. The LGBTQ Services Navigator will also consult on the general space and environment for the Reengagement / Drop‐In Center, helping to ensure the space is culturally competent towards and inviting to LGBTQ youth. The LGBTQ Services Navigator needs to have vision, drive, and passion as the role will shift with time andneeds.

Please see the job description for Primary Duties and Responsibilities, Core Competencies and Qualifications.

County Offers Mini-Grants for Food Security Organizations; Applications Due September 3

County Offers Mini-Grants for Food Security Organizations

Applications Due September 3

Effective August 1, community organizations involved with food security issues can apply for mini-grants from the county that range from $2,000 to $10,000. Tax-exempt organizations applying for the mini-grants can use the funding to improve direct service or assistance to vulnerable populations.

The application deadline is Tuesday, September 3.

Information and the application form are available online. Questions can be directed to Diana Tato-Niktash at 240-777-3404 or by email to diana.tato-niktash@montgomerycountymd.gov.

# # # Media Contact: Mary Anderson, 240-777-6534

County Launches 24/7 Homeless Information Line

County Launches 24/7 Homeless Information Line The County’s Department of Health and Human Services, in partnership with EveryMind, has launched a 24/7 Homeless Information Line, with trained specialists to provide information on County homeless services and shelter resources.  Callers can also provide information about the location of individuals in the community experiencing homelessness.  The reports will be forwarded to community outreach partners who will attempt to locate the individual and offer support and resources. The information line number is 240-907-2688.

County Offers Mini-Grants for Food Security Organizations; Applications Due September 4

County Offers Mini-Grants for Food Security

Organizations; Applications Due September 4

Community organizations involved with food security issues are urged to apply for mini-grants ranging from $500 to $10,000 to improve capacity and infrastructure dedicated to increasing food security or to support inventive and collaborative approaches to reducing food insecurity. Tax-exempt organizations applying for the mini-grants can use the funding for direct service or assistance to vulnerable populations; this may involve meal preparation, distribution, transportation and/or delivery. The funding may also be used for recovery of food that is good to eat but otherwise would be wasted. The County’s vision for food security is a community where all residents have access to safe, sufficient, nutritious food.

Funding for the grant program is included in the FY19 operating budget for the County’s Department of Health and Human Services. Organizations can apply independently or in collaboration with other groups.

Applications are due by close of business on Tuesday, September 4, 2018. For information about application guidelines and to complete an online application, visit https://bit.ly/2mZI76e . Questions can be directed to Diana Tato-Niktash at 240-777-3404 or by email to diana.tato-niktash@montgomerycountymd.gov.

# # #

Media Contact: Mary Anderson, 240-777-6534

Announcing 2016 Community Food Rescue mini-grant recipients

Community Food Rescue is  excited to share this year’s recipients of the CFR mini-grants, awarded to non-profit organizations to build their capacity to distribute recovered food to their clients. Thanks to the generous funding of Montgomery County’s DHHS, The Mead Family Foundation, and Burness, the review committee awarded $60,000 to eleven agencies. You can read this blog post   https://bit.ly/2016CFRminigrants for all the details. 

Maryland Eviction Procedure

Eviction is a legal procedure. To evict you, a Maryland landlord must go to district court to get a judgment against you. If he gets one, the court will issue an order of eviction and a sheriff will make you leave the home. A landlord who moves a tenant’s belongings out of the home, changes the locks, or cuts off utilities without a court order may be criminally prosecuted and liable for damages. If this happens, tenants should call the police and an attorney or legal services organization.

Montgomery County Police, Non-Emergency: (301) 279-8000

The Montgomery County Emergency Eviction Prevention service provides assistance to evicted families. For help or more information, contact 240-777-3075.

Maryland Housing Search

Maryland Housing Search is a FREE resource for finding and listing rental housing anywhere in Maryland.  The site provides helpful tools to prospective renters, including an affordability calculator, rental checklist, and renter rights and responsibility information. Access to the site is available 24/7. A bilingual helpline is available M-F, 8:00 AM-9:00 PM at 1-877-428-8844.  

Applying for Shelter Services in Montgomery County

DHHS provides coordination of services to homeless individuals and families. Services include: outreach, emergency shelter, transitional housing, and permanent supportive housing.

Homeless families can walk-in to any of the following regional offices:

  • MidCounty DHHS Building 1301 Piccard Drive, Rockville, MD 20850
  • DHHS Silver Spring Center 8818 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910
  • UpCounty Regional Services Center 12900 Middlebrook Road, Germantown, MD 20874
  • Neighborhood Service Center at Catholic Charities 12247 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20906
  • Takoma East Silver Spring (TESS) Center 8513 Piney Branch Road, Silver Spring, MD 20901
  • Neighborhood Service Center at Family Services, Inc. 200 Girard Street (Suite 203), Gaithersburg, MD 20877
Homeless single adults can walk-in to the Crisis Center to learn of current openings. For more information on Shelter Services, call 240-777-4448. Additionally, homeless families and individuals can access food and/or clothing at the following agencies:

Manna Food Center

Bethesda Cares Clothing Closet

Adventist Community Services of Greater Washington 

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  • Montgomery School
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  • Mental Health Assocaiton
  • Helping all Seniors Thrive
  • Montgomery County Libraries
  • Nonprofit Montgomery