County Executive Calvin Ball announced $60,581 in CARES Act funding for Maryland Legal Aid (MLA) to assist residents facing eviction and other legal challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant will help provide the education, assistance and representation needed to prevent evictions in forthcoming failure to pay rent proceedings.
“With the Courts re-opening this week, there is an immediate need for legal assistance to support tenants in demonstrating substantial loss of income-related to COVID-19,” said Ball. “We’ve seen more than 46,000 residents file for unemployment since March, and there are many of our neighbors who are unable to afford private attorney assistance on top of their daily needs.”
MLA will provide in-court tenant assistance and representation, conduct virtual training and presentations to educate the public on tenants’ rights, and engage in community outreach and promote project services.
“With hundreds of thousands of Marylanders facing eviction as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for legal assistance is dire,” said Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh. “On behalf of the Attorney General’s Access to Justice Covid-19 Task Force, we appreciate County Executive Ball’s efforts in providing support for these essential services.”
MLA’s range of legal assistance includes:
- Representing tenants at Failure To Pay Rent (FTPR) court hearings;
- Pursuing post-trial motions as appropriate to change or enforce court orders;
- Gathering documents or proof of rent payments for self-help tenants;
- Informing tenants about COVID-19 financial assistance available to tenants;
- Negotiating payment plans with landlords;
- Creating self-help packets and materials for ineligible tenants to use; and
- Creating a packet and materials to train volunteer attorneys on representing tenants in court.
Established in 1911, The Legal Aid Bureau, Inc. (Maryland Legal Aid/MLA) is a statewide non-profit law firm whose mission is to provide free, high-quality, civil legal assistance to low-income persons throughout the state of Maryland. MLA is the largest nonprofit legal services provider in Maryland and maintains 12 offices throughout the state, with a dedicated staff of 300, including 153 attorneys and 65 paralegals.108,497 vulnerable citizens were served in 2019 statewide with legal assistance that directly addressed their most basic and essential needs, enabling them to live stable and productive lives. Of these, nearly 2,000 residents of Howard County benefited from MLA’s services.