Coronavirus Update: Fighting for Rent and Mortgage Relief

July 22, 2020

Dear Friend,

As the COVID-19 public health emergency continues to upend our economy, Marylanders face enormous financial challenges – especially when it comes to rent and mortgage payments.

In March, I voted to pass the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was immediately signed into law. The CARES Act featured several provisions to protect renters and homeowners – including eviction and foreclosure moratoriums for 120 days, through July 16, optional mortgage forbearance for 180 days, through September 14, and significant funding for tenant-based rental assistance, public housing and other programs that provided housing assistance to the elderly and people with disabilities. The bill also included expanded unemployment insurance and one-time economic impact payments to help individuals and families pay for housing, utilities and other living expenses.

In May, I voted to pass the Heroes Act, a relief package to extend – and in some cases to expand – several of the vital programs included in the CARES Act. Among its many provisions, the Heroes Act would help struggling families afford a safe place to live, assist renters and homeowners in making monthly rent, mortgage and utility payments and support other housing-related costs. The bill also included a second round of robust economic impact payments, along with an extension of the expanded unemployment benefits authorized by the CARES Act. However, for more than two months, the Republican-led Senate has refused to bring the Heroes Act up for a vote.

In response to Senate inaction and with many CARES Act housing protections set to expire, I voted in June to pass the Emergency Housing Protections and Relief Act, a bill to extend and expand critical economic relief and housing protections for renters, homeowners and families at risk of homelessness amid the COVID-19 crisis. This legislation, like the Heroes Act, remains blocked by Senate Republicans.

This week, the House and Senate – after a long and unnecessary delay on the part of Senate Republicans – will finally begin negotiating a new round of COVID-19 relief. While I fight to include additional rent and mortgage assistance for Maryland families in this upcoming federal relief package, please see below for a helpful list of housing resources.

* * *

Federal Housing Relief

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has assembled a helpful guide for homeowners impacted by COVID-19. See here.
     

Statewide Housing Relief

  • Mortgage Lender/Servicer Inquiries or Complaints: If you have an inquiry regarding your mortgage lender or servicer, or if you’d like to file a complaint against your mortgage lender or servicer, you can contact the Maryland Department of Labor by emailing DLFRComplaints-LABOR@maryland.gov or by calling (410) 230-6077. See here for more information.
  • Additional Maryland Resources: Maryland HOPE (Home Owners Preserving Equity) – a state-approved nonprofit agency – can provide information and resources to help Marylanders keep their homes. To learn, more see here or call 1-877-462-7555.
     

County-Level Housing Relief

  • Anne Arundel County
    • Arundel Community Development Services, Inc. provides free financial counseling and referrals for eviction prevention, foreclosure prevention, utility turn-off assistance, property rehabilitation and homeownership advice. For assistance, call (410) 222-7600.
       
    • For emergency shelter, residents can call (410) 417-7260 on Monday through Friday, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. In case of a crisis, Anne Arundel residents can call the county’s 24/7 hotline at (410) 768-5522.
       
  • Baltimore City
    • Baltimore City residents facing imminent homelessness can apply for eviction prevention support through the Baltimore City Community Action Partnership office. For more information, see here or call (410) 545-0136 or (410) 545-0900.
       
    • Baltimore City renters facing an eviction action can access free legal advice and information here.
       
  • Baltimore County
    • Baltimore County residents can see here for regular updates about eviction protection funding as it becomes available.
  • Howard County
     
  • Montgomery County
     
    • The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services offers COVID-19 housing stabilization services, including financial assistance to prevent evictions, foreclosures and utility disconnections. To apply for assistance, you can schedule a phone interview by calling 311. If calling from outside of Montgomery County, please call (240) 777-0311.
       

For regular news and updates about COVID-19, you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

For a full list of COVID-19 resources, please visit my website.
 

Sincerely,

00_JPSS_Signature
Congressman John Sarbanes
Maryland’s Third Congressional District