Mayor Scott Announces Two New Programs to Support Housing Opportunities for People Exiting Homelessness
Friday Nov 17th, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Scott Administration Uses Historic Investment in Homeless Services to Increase Housing Accessibility and Stability
BALTIMORE, MD (Friday, November 17, 2023) – Today, Mayor Brandon M. Scott and the Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services (MOHS) launched two new programs – the House Baltimore Property Owner Engagement Initiative and the Flex Fund for Diversion and Rapid Resolution.
“The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare many of the challenges our communities face, and the City’s historic American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) investments have given us the opportunity to think outside the box and meet these challenges with well-executed plans and financial resources,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “Housing is a fundamental human right, and we wanted to ensure that this once-in-a-generation funding opportunity was utilized equitably to serve all Baltimoreans, particularly our most vulnerable neighbors. My administration is proud to spearhead innovative initiatives like House Baltimore and the Flex Fund to ensure affordable housing is available and accessible to our neighbors who need it most.”
The House Baltimore initiative aims to increase the availability of quality, affordable housing by supporting housing partners that rent to households exiting or at risk of homelessness. By becoming House Baltimore members, property owners can receive a variety of benefits including incentive payments and support from City housing specialists. House Baltimore property owners will also be able to list their available units on a free online listing platform exclusively accessed by local homeless service providers. More information can be found on MOHS’ website: bit.ly/HouseBaltimore.
“We have partnered with Padmission – a web-based platform for homeless services – to give local homeless service providers an easy-to-use listing site to search for housing that has been prescreened as suitable for our vulnerable clients,” said Ernestina Simmons, director of MOHS. “We are committed to working alongside our community partners to make homelessness rare and brief. Partnerships such as this strengthen our providers’ ability to connect clients with safe, suitable, and affordable housing of their choice in a timely fashion.”
The Flex Fund will offer short-term financial assistance to people at imminent risk of homelessness or those who have recently become homeless. Eligible households can receive direct financial assistance to cover rent, security deposits, relocation costs, and other specified housing-related costs. The fund is specifically targeted to individuals and families who do not need extensive support services, can self-resolve, and fall into four eligibility categories that align with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) definitions for homelessness. More information can be found on MOHS’ website: bit.ly/MOHSFlexFund.
The United Way of Central Maryland (UWCM) serves as a fiscal partner for both House Baltimore and the Flex Fund. UWCM will distribute incentive payments, reimbursement for claims approved for damage and vacancy to House Baltimore property owners, and direct assistance to approved Flex Fund applicants.
"The economic hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted housing security in various ways. Job losses, reduced work hours, and business closures placed an increased financial strain on many Baltimoreans, placing them at risk of losing their homes and becoming homeless," said Shamiah Kerney, director of the Mayor's Office of Recovery Programs. "Using ARPA funding to support partnerships that create innovative programs is one way to use our collective resources to assist our most vulnerable populations."
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provided $641 million to the City of Baltimore in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and its negative economic impacts. Mayor Brandon M. Scott has established the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Programs to transparently and effectively administer this funding on behalf of the City. For additional information, visit the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Programs website at arp.baltimorecity.gov.