After the failure of federal block grants to reach those in need, the Kent Commissioners last week awarded $30,000 to the Maryland Rural Development Corporation to administer a rent relief program for Kent County residents who’ve fallen behind as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The money will come from the county’s Coronavirus Relief Fund — and the MRDC will administer and approve applications for rent relief to qualified applicants.

The Commissioner’s decision comes after a failure of federal block grant money awarded to Kent in August to reach those in need — due to the cumbersome 25 pages of documents required and restrictions put on renters and landlords. 

“The restrictions have made it nearly impossible to get anyone approved for the money,” said Kent Commissioner Ron Fithian in an interview.

MRDC made a request from the Kent Commissioners in late September for  $50,000, lamenting that the federal block grant funds were difficult to approve because of the restrictions — and had failed to reach those in need.

The nonprofit said that reducing restrictions and the complicated application process would make more money available for those who’ve fallen behind as a result of the pandemic.

Fithian said MRDC will have the ability to determine COVID-19 rent assistance “and move the money more quickly where it’s needed.”

The money would have to be used by Dec. 31 or revert back to the the county’s Coronavirus Relief Fund.

Feature image by Lynn Friedman/Flickr

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