Montgomery County faces looming rent relief spending deadline

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — Jurisdictions across the state of Maryland are facing the possibility of losing federal and state rent relief money if 65% of the combined funds aren’t spent by Sept. 30.

Montgomery County’s Department of Health and Human Services says it has distributed just over $20 million in Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) funds to residents since the start of the pandemic.

That’s about 66% of the county’s combined rent relief funding from the feds and the state. They’ll meet the federal target of 65% of total combined ERAP funds spent, but they may not meet the state’s target.

Montgomery County has only spent 29% of the funds it has recieved from the state, not even close to the state’s 65% target.

“Like all other jurisdictions in the state, we wanted to make sure we spent that direct ERAP funding first. That posed the greatest risk of us losing the second round of the ERAP funds. So, we wanted to make sure we met the federal deadline first,” said Amanda Harris, the county’s Chief of Services to End and Prevent Homelessness.

With that decision, Harris says the county stands at risk of losing the second round of ERAP funds from the state.

Montgomery County has spent 29% of its state funds, but some other Maryland jurisdictions haven’t spent any state funds at all.

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