People, who are facing eviction line up in front of the Bons Secours Community Works center 90 minutes before it opens.
Each month tenants arrive early with paperwork in-hand to apply for a $700 grant, which will prevent them from getting evicted from their homes.
An estimated 70,000 eviction notices are issued each year in Baltimore. In 2016, roughly 7,500 tenants were evicted from their homes. The remaining tenants found a funding source to pay their rent, so they didn’t have to vacate their home, moved into a new home, crashed with family and friends, checked into motels or braved the streets or shelters.
Many people will pack what belongings they have into a car or truck, friends’ basement, or storage unit and set out looking for help to get by for another month. However, this type of help is becoming very limited.
According to previous studies, governments save money by providing people with financial assistance to allow them to stay in their home. While other cities are working to expand their efforts, the government resources to prevent evictions in Baltimore continue to diminish.
In fiscal year 2011, the city provided 1,185 grants to people facing eviction, this number dropped to 324 in fiscal year 2014. In fiscal years 2015 and 2016, subsequent budgets revealed targets of 500 grants. However, city officials say they are unable to confirm these figures for those years or the current fiscal year.
The city’s budget has identified that nearly “5,000 households” face eviction annually since fiscal year 2013. Since then, the actual yearly average has been about 7,000 evictions.
In fiscal year 2015, Mayor Catherine Pugh’s Office of Human Service awarded a total of seven nonprofits $663,519 for eviction prevention, which was down from $758,080 or 10.8 percent in 2014.
In fiscal year 2014, the city spent $745,080 on 324 grants, which are typically $700 each. City officials could not provide details on how much money was allocated or how much money was spent in fiscal years 2016 and 2017. In 2014, the city spent a total of $745,080 on merely 324 grants when the typical amount was $700. If you tally up the numbers, 324 grants at $700 each, the total is still only $226,800.
City officials said, the Mayor’s budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, will include $806,524 for 1,900 households facing evictions.
According to the Housing Authority of Baltimore City, Baltimore has “one of the highest eviction rates in the country.”