Grant could aid tenants facing eviction


A private social service agency that suffered cuts in state funding this year may get new money from the state government to help some county residents who face eviction from their homes or apartments.

But the safety net for tenants who cannot meet rent payments has bigger holes this year across the state.

If the county Homelessness Board approves, Human Services Programs Inc. will apply for a $6,500 Department of Human Resources grant to prevent evictions. The HSP is a non-profit agency that operates county homeless shelters and other social services programs.

The Homelessness Board is scheduled to act on the application at its meeting tomorrow.

The new DHR eviction-prevention grants program partially replaces a $2 million allocation cut from the state agency's budget by the General Assembly last spring. The agency was left with about $500,000 for eviction programs to distribute statewide, said Harriet Goldman, director of the DHR homeless services program.

Carroll's share of the money comes to about $6,500, a figure that DHR based on past experience with emergency rent payments in the county, Ms. Goldman said.

She said that in many counties, local departments of social services will be designated as the agencies qualified to receive the grants, "but in some jurisdictions, they're not the agency that jTC has worked with emergency assistance."

Because the total budget is limited, it could also mean that money will run out before the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 1993. The program eliminated by state legislators was an entitlement program, which meant that those who qualified would receive aid payments even if the program ran over its estimated budget.

Sylvia Canon, HSP executive director, said the agency plans to divide the allocation into 40 grants of $150 apiece. The mean rent in Carroll County was $484 a month, according to 1990 census figures. Ms. Canon said the agency plans to combine the DHR grant with eviction-prevention assistance money from other local, state and federal agencies to make up rent payments that are adequate to stave off evictions.

The new program will be limited in Carroll County to

court-ordered evictions, Ms. Canon said. A tenant may receive the aid only once during the year, a rule that also applied under the former DSS eviction-prevention program.

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