Salisbury and Wicomico County will soon be getting more funding from the state for emergency rental assistance and street outreach for the city’s homeless population.
The city of Salisbury is in line to receive $117,600 through the state’s Emergency Solution Grants program that will be administered through the Somerset County Health Department.
The grant will be used to hire a third Homeless Services Case Specialist for the city and also provide additional rapid rehousing funds to help people get out of homelessness and into housing, Christine Chestnutt, the city’s Housing and Homeless Manager, told City Council members during a Monday afternoon work session.
The funds will be used to pay for up to one year’s rent, she said. The grant funds also will cover the cost of two portable toilets and hand washing stations for a year.
“Heaven knows we need it,” City Council President Jack Heath told Chestnutt.
Council members are expected to approve the grant agreement at their next meeting on Nov. 22.
The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development also recently awarded Wicomico County an additional $5.5 million to continue the Wicomico County Emergency Rental Assistance Program, bringing the total amount of assistance provided to Wicomico County citizens to $12.8 million.
The county will partner with Habitat for Humanity of Wicomico County, Salisbury Neighborhood Housing Services, Shore Up and Maryland Legal Aid to distribute the funds.
The award will provide funding for up to 15 months of rental, utility and housing stability assistance along with funding for Maryland Legal Aid for renters in need of legal services and assistance.
Cheryl Meadows, Executive Director of Salisbury Neighborhood Housing Services, said her agency will get $1 million from the grant which will help people struggling to pay rent. Many of the people seeking help are repeat clients who have been unable to find work.
“The need is definitely still there,” she said.
The grant award to the county will provide funding for up to 15 months of rental, utility and housing stability assistance along with funding for Maryland Legal Aid for renters in need of legal services and assistance.
Meadows said anyone who has applied for previous rounds of funding and still needs help should return to the agency that helped them the first time because all of their information is still on file.
Since the program started last year, grant funding to Wicomico County has assisted more than 1,400 households avoid eviction.
The funding is the latest grant for rental assistance awarded to the county since the start of the pandemic in early 2020.
In May, the county was awarded $7.38 million through the state’s the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
Last December, the county received $300,000 from the Corona Relief Emergency Fund that was divided among Salisbury Neighborhood Housing, Habitat for Humanity of Wicomico County and the Wicomico County Local Management Board.
The county also got a $900,000 Maryland Eviction Prevention Partnership grant in January and the city of Salisbury received a $90,000 Community Development Block Grant that was used to help 35 families.
In summer 2020, the county received $1.1 million to help people who live outside Salisbury limits, while the city of Salisbury received a separate $200,000 coronavirus relief grant.
For more information on the rental assistance program in Wicomico County and how to apply, visit wicomicocounty.org/728/Emergency-Rental-Assistance-Program