Grassroots Distributes Rent and Utility Relief Funds

Grassroots is distributing $1 million in Howard County COVID-19 Relief funds to help residents pay past due utility bills and rent payments to prevent eviction. The U.S. Treasury is providing the rent relief and utility assistance funding.

In the two weeks since Grassroots partnered with the county to process applications and award the relief funds, it has distributed $257,000 toward rental and utility assistance, helping 44 families catch up and avoid homelessness. In addition, several families identified through the application process have agreed to work with the Family Stability Program to help them stay caught up and obtain long-term housing stability, according to Tina Field, Director of Homeless Services.

The United Way of Central Maryland earlier selected Grassroots to receive a Family Stability Program grant to provide case management to families at risk to regain self-sufficiency so they can stay in their homes and so that their children can avoid a disruptive school transfer.

“Rental assistance is a humane and effective way of stemming the avalanche of miseries that are affecting families in Howard County because of the pandemic,” said Executive Director Dr. Mariana Izraelson.  “Intervention is necessary to stabilize financially strapped families until the parents return to work and can get on their feet again.”

“With money from the county for rental assistance last year, Grassroots was able to help 93 struggling families maintain their own homes for their children and themselves.  With this grant Grassroots will be able to prevent more families from falling into homelessness, and we are grateful to Howard County Government for providing this financial assistance,” Izraelson added.

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Grassroots is the 24/7 single point access for behavioral health, crisis and homeless services for individuals and families.