Across the country, rental assistance programs have aided in the prevention of evictions. This episode of Econo-Mía features a Montgomery County resident who received rental assistance and an LEDC staff member who is on the ground helping tenants access this critical resource.
Rental assistance programs have helped prevent evictions across the country. Now that moratoriums have ended, the risk of eviction has become a reality for many of the families we serve. On this episode of Econo-Mía, we spoke with an LEDC-staff member who is on the ground helping tenants access rental assistance and a Montgomery County resident who received this aid.
Julia Sarmiento is LEDC’s Tenant Services & Eviction Prevention Program Manager. Julia and her team have been on the ground helping tenants in Montgomery County and Baltimore City access local rental assistance programs. Together, they have submitted hundreds of applications for rental assistance and connected tenants to other critical resources, including legal aid, utility assistance, and food pantries.
The episode also includes an interview with a tenant who received rental assistance with support from LEDC. Calixto Quinones is a local Afro-Ecuadorian poet, author, and radio personality. Calixto contacted LEDC in March 2021 after hearing LEDC’s “Consejos Financieros” radio show on Radio America, where he heard information about rent relief in Montgomery County. By May 2021, Calixto was in significant rental arrears due to financial stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. At an LEDC in-person counseling session in May 2021, Calixto was assisted with submitting his COVID-19 Rental Relief Program application and educated about the eviction process and his rights as a tenant. Additionally, he was referred to Maryland Legal Aid lawyers who would end up representing him at his various eviction hearings throughout the summer. In late September 2021, Calixto’s rent relief case was approved by Montgomery County, and he received funding that helped him pay for his arrears and three future months of rent payments. This money has been instrumental in guaranteeing his housing stability and giving him an opportunity to recover financially from the pandemic.