The federal moratorium on evictions ends Dec. 31 and those facing financial hardship from COVID-19 should not delay seeking rent relief, said Chris Benzing, executive director of the Maryland Rural Development Corporation, which administers a state rent relief program for Kent County.

“If people take their time applying, they could end up eight months behind in rent by the time Dec. 31 comes and it could be too late,” Benzing said. “It will make it hard for us to help because the program pays a maximum of three months’ rent.”

Kent County received $84,000 in late August from a Maryland Eviction Prevention Partnership grant, a program under the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development to help renters that have fallen behind due to COVID-19. The funding came from an outlay to eight counties that shared $2.3 million.

There is still money left, said MRDC Deputy Director Tammy Duff. She said those facing eviction need to apply directly to MRDC. The amount of relief paid will be based on income and the number of dependents in the household. 

“Once the application is approved we send the paperwork to the county and the county cuts a check directly to the landlord,” Duff said in an interview. “We handle everything.”

Benzing said there are other eviction prevention programs offered by MRDC.