The number of families with children experiencing homelessness decreased by 52 percent between 2020 and 2021, according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Point-in-Time survey. The data is part of an annual regional analysis and report that started in 2001. The overall number of persons experiencing homelessness in Montgomery County decreased by 14 percent.
Since 2017, there has been a 35 percent decrease in the overall number of homeless individuals and a 65 percent decrease in homeless families.
The survey was conducted on Jan: 27, 2021. On the night of the count, there were 577 persons who were homeless in Montgomery County, as compared with 670 persons counted in 2020.
“In spite of the pandemic, we have worked hard as a community to continue our commitment to rapidly exiting people from homelessness,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “We have maximized federal resources to connect people experiencing homelessness to permanent housing, placing twice as many households in 2020 as were housed in 2019. Our ‘At Home Together’ initiative to end and prevent homelessness for families with children has paid off. The partnership between our County programs and nonprofit partners who work every day of the year to end homelessness is a statement of the values we hold as a community.”
The number of single individuals experiencing homelessness on the night of the Point-in-Time count was only a modest decrease of 1.4 percent from 2019 and despite placing more than 250 individuals in permanent housing in 2020, the number of people in emergency shelter remains constant. In response to COVID-19, Montgomery County altered its shelter strategy in 2020 by keeping all winter overflow shelters open year-round, resulting in a decrease of 34 percent in the 2021 count of unsheltered individuals.
"As COVID-19 cases among those experiencing homelessness skyrocketed nationally, here in Montgomery County, our providers put themselves on the frontlines to ensure the health and safety of our most vulnerable residents," said County Councilmember and Lead for Homelessness and Vulnerable Communities Evan Glass. "Housing is a basic human right -- and while we have made significant strides in Montgomery County, we can and should always strive to do better to ensure that homelessness is brief, rare and nonrecurring."
The COG 2021 Point in Time survey report is available on the COG website. For more information on County services, visit https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/homelessness/
Advice for Renters Facing Eviction
In light of federal court action regarding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) CDC Order for a Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions, County Executive Marc Elrich emphasized that Montgomery County renters, along with all Maryland renters, still have eviction protection even if the federal court decision results in cancelling protections under the CDC Order.
“Last week’s ruling by a federal judge vacating the CDC’s temporary halt to evictions is extremely concerning and could be confusing to our renters,” said County Executive Elrich. “We need all Montgomery County residents to be fully aware that Maryland’s Executive Order from Governor Hogan is still in effect and helps protect renters. If you are in the process of being evicted, please reach out to us, know your rights, and apply for rental relief resources if applicable. Furthermore, this federal ruling is another reason why Governor Hogan needs to not only keep, but extend, the eviction moratorium throughout our State.”
Renters should apply for rental assistance at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/HHS-Program/SNHS/rent-relief.html and work with their landlord on how that assistance can address past due rent. Renters need to prepare for possible court action while they apply for rental assistance and work with their landlord to use rental assistance in maintaining their housing.
Governor Hogan’s Executive Order suspending evictions for tenants who demonstrate income loss related to COVID remains in place until the end of the state of emergency. Under the Governor’s Order, eviction suspension is available if a renter attends their court hearing and provides documentation to show COVID-related impact on income.
Renters who receive a summons to appear in court must appear in court and are encouraged to access free legal and other assistance – both ahead of time and at court. To get help in preparing for court, renters may contact any of the legal assistance and tenant support organizations listed at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/DHCA/covid-19/eviction_process_and_renters.html Renters also should also contact the County for Housing Stabilization Services by calling 311 (240-777-0311).
On their scheduled court date, renters should bring income-impact documentation and ask for Legal Aid when they arrive at court. If a renter receives multiple court dates, they should attend each one.
Whether the renter accesses Governor’s Order or CDC Order protections to prevent eviction, both protections require a tenant to take certain actions and attend their court date. More information about the Governor’s Order and CDC Order is available at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/DHCA/covid-19/eviction_process_and_renters.html
Renters who already missed their court date and received an eviction notice from court are encouraged to do two things. They should call 311 (240-777-0311) for guidance from Housing Stabilization Services and they should call one of the tenant support organizations listed at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/DHCA/covid-19/eviction_process_and_renters.html to learn about any other possible options.