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Readers Respond

Stop scaring the public about evictions | READER COMMENTARY

Contrary to what Detrese Dowridge, a member of Baltimore Renters United, may want readers to believe (”Baltimore must get rental assistance directly to tenants in need,” Jan. 17), Baltimore has experienced an historic decline in evictions since the beginning of the pandemic. The most recent data from district court confirms that the city’s court filings and evictions declined by more than 64% and 63%, respectively, compared to the same pre-pandemic time frame.

The district court’s data absolutely contradicts the author’s narrative and is not included in the commentary. Instead, in an attempt to scare readers, the author references an artificially inflated number of scheduled evictions due to a holiday backlog, ignoring the fact that only a minute fraction of those scheduled evictions resulted in actual evictions.

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Moreover, the author ignored the fact that Maryland’s district courts reverted to Phase III in December, meaning that cases stemming from unpaid rent are paused until at least March 6, 2022. This pause is expected to increase the time between a rent court filing and a hearing in Baltimore to more than eight months. That time frame is more than sufficient to connect residents with rental assistance, as evidenced by the unprecedented decline in evictions since the beginning of the pandemic. Unfortunately, the author declined to mention that important point.

Evictions are a serious matter, and information that informs policy discussions should be sound, accurate and in context. Providing out-of-context and misleading information designed to fit a preconceived narrative is unconscionable. The fact is that no matter how many times tenant lobbyists attempt to conjure an eviction tsunami into existence, it simply is not reality.

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Adam Skolnik, Owings Mills

The writer is executive director of the Maryland Multi-Housing Association.

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