MOHS Dedicates COVID-19 Relief to Permanent Housing

Originally published Sept. 3, 2020, by the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services.

The Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services announced today that it will direct federal COVID-19 relief dollars to permanent housing, ensuring racial equity in the delivery of homeless services and maximizing safety at emergency shelters amid the pandemic.

We know that housing is the most effective solution to homelessness, and have allocated more than two-thirds of the city’s $15.7 million, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-administered Emergency Solutions Grant COVID-19 (ESG-CV) funds to rapid rehousing and homelessness prevention. Remaining funds will support emergency shelters, street outreach, data management and ESG-CV administration and oversight. 

“The Baltimore City Continuum of Care has been working closely with the Mayor’s Office of Homelessness Services, city health officials, and public and private partners to protect our unhoused neighbors and prevent episodes of homelessness for households at risk,” says Continuum of Care (CoC) Chair Winston Philip. “These funds will help support our continued response to the pandemic as we work to meet our community’s needs and develop permanent solutions to homelessness.” 

Three guiding principles drive these funding allocations:

  • Equity. We cannot begin to address homelessness without confronting the systemic racism that has resulted in homelessness disproportionately affecting Baltimore’s African American community. MOHS will work with the CoC to reduce racial disparities in local services, policies, and programming. We also will direct ESG-CV funds to service providers that support youth and survivors of domestic violence, another often overlooked population, to meet their unique needs. 
  • Permanent solutions. Homelessness should be rare, brief, and non-recurring, and affordable permanent housing is essential to realizing that goal. We will direct ESG-CV funds to provide permanent housing for 150 adult households and 40 families surviving domestic violence; and to supporting the city’s comprehensive Eviction Prevention program slated for launch in late September.
  • Safety. We will dedicate ESG-CV funds to enhance safety measures at emergency shelters during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Read the Putting Housing First: ESG-CV Allocations report on the ESG-CV page and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, where we will share highlights from the report in the days and weeks ahead. 

As we move into fall and continued uncertainty about the course of pandemic and its impact, we will leverage the city’s ESG-CV funds to continue to partner with you to advance our shared vision of a Baltimore where everyone has a place to call home.

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