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Baltimore launches 2 new housing programs to battle homelessness

Baltimore launches 2 new housing programs to battle homelessness

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Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott and the Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services (MOHS) Friday launched two new programs – the House Baltimore Property Owner Engagement Initiative and the Flex Fund for Diversion and Rapid Resolution – 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.

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.

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 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provided $641 million to Baltimore in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and its negative economic effects. Scott has established the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Programs to transparently and effectively administer this funding on behalf of the city.

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