Worcester County Gets $6.5M In Rental Assistance

SNOW HILL – A rental assistance grant is expected to help Worcester County residents struggling with housing costs.

The Worcester County Commissioners this week approved a grant agreement with the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) for nearly $6.5 million in emergency rental assistance funding released through the American Rescue Plan Act. The funding will be split between Diakonia Inc. and the Worcester County Department of Social Services.

“We have already put in our application for funding and we are requesting the whole amount our jurisdiction is allowed, which is $6,465,772,” said Kim Reynolds, senior budget accountant for Worcester County.

Reynolds said the county submitted the 16-page grant application last week and that she was now asking the commissioners to approve the grant agreement supplied by DHCD. She said two subrecipients, the Department of Social Services and Diakonia, would administer the grant. Up to 8% of the grant can be used for administrative costs.

“We propose they split the award and split the administrative fees that go along with it,” she said.

When asked how soon the funding would be available, Reynolds indicated there shouldn’t be too much delay.

“We submitted the application last week, which was 16 pages, and they already supplied us with a grant agreement so I believe once we have this uploaded into their portal that the funding will come very quickly,” she said.

Commissioner Joe Mitrecic asked if the grants were meant to help renters who hadn’t been paying their landlords during the pandemic. Reynolds said that was correct.

“It’s only rental assistance and utility assistance,” she said. “It’s not mortgage assistance.”

Mitrecic pointed out the program could still have an indirect impact on mortgages.

“It trickles down because it allows these property owners that have been paying mortgages on these houses that haven’t received any rent to catch up with their mortgage too so it’ll benefit everybody really,” he said.

The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the grant agreement.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.