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Let’s work together to prevent homelessness | READER COMMENTARY

Advocates at the rally held signs up urging Republican Gov. Larry Hogan to "cancel rent." Maryland renters and families facing the threat of eviction and accumulation of debt are ringing alarm bells about the impending eviction crisis once courts resume evictions on July 25. 07-01-20
Advocates at the rally held signs up urging Republican Gov. Larry Hogan to "cancel rent." Maryland renters and families facing the threat of eviction and accumulation of debt are ringing alarm bells about the impending eviction crisis once courts resume evictions on July 25. 07-01-20 (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Sun)

I am writing to offer a Baltimore County perspective to your aptly headlined article, “Maryland families fear ‘tsunami’ of evictions when courts reopen and federal aid dries up at the end of July” (July 2).

The Community Assistance Network, Inc. (CAN) is one of the few nonprofits that offers eviction prevention support to Baltimore County residents. In a typical year, CAN has enough funding to help between 150-200 households avoid homelessness. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic CAN has helped 76 families remain housed! However, in total since April 9, we have received 13,391 calls for information and referrals, the majority inquiring about rental financial assistance and assistance in securing food.

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With the end of the eviction moratorium, $600 federal unemployment benefit bump and Paycheck Protection Program funding quickly approaching, at the same time as homeless shelters are reducing capacity to accommodate social distancing necessities, I call on our elected officials and philanthropic community leaders to partner with groups like CAN to provide the resources required to house those handicapped by historic economic injustices, a need amplified by the recent financial impacts of COVID-19.

With so many frightening things happening in our world right now that are beyond our control, we can work together to remove homelessness from the list of people’s fears.

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Mitchell Posner, Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Community Assistance Network, Inc.

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