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Maryland could prevent eviction and homelessness for 15,000 families with a program that more than pays for itself

December 20, 2023


Kali Schumitz, 703-509-5322
Matt Hill, 443-904-4263

Fewer evictions would mean healthier families, more successful students and schools, and stronger communities, research shows.

Today the Maryland Eviction Prevention Funds Alliance (MEPFA) released new research showing that Maryland could prevent 15,000 families from being evicted each year through short-term eviction prevention funds, providing significant benefits to families and their communities and also resulting in significant savings for the state over time through the reduced need for other services. To start implementation, MEPFA is calling on Governor Moore and the General Assembly to allocate $15 million in FY 2025 to stop the evictions of approximately 5,620 families and to pass legislation focused on preventing eviction for families in community schools as part of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future.

Watch the press conference.

An investment of $40 million in eviction prevention funds would yield approximately $92 million in cost savings or fiscal benefits, according to the study conducted by Stout Risius & Ross with the Maryland Center on Economic Policy and MEPFA members. In other words, for every dollar the state spends on eviction prevention funds for families most at risk of displacement, the state recovers $2.39 in costs from a reduced social safety net and other fiscal benefits. The critical importance of eviction prevention funds and Stout study findings are described further in a policy brief compiled by the MEPFA coalition.

“Preventing evictions is a critical part of creating a Maryland where all families can have safe, stable, affordable housing,” said Taneeka Richardson, Policy Analyst with the Maryland Center on Economy Policy. “So many families are living on the edge and our coalition members hear stories every day about how the lack of $1,000 or $2,000 puts a family on the brink of homelessness. We hope Maryland policymakers see the value in strengthening our families and communities by providing significant eviction prevention funds.”

“Housing stability affects everything,” said Claudia Wilson Randall, Executive Director of the Community Development Network. “No one should have to choose between paying rent and affording basic necessities for their family, such as food and medicine. When a family’s housing situation is unaffordable and unstable, chances to lead a healthy life dwindle rapidly.”

Eviction prevention funds pay 1-3 months of past due rent for families facing a short-term crisis – ensuring a missed month’s rent doesn’t become a catalyst for homelessness. Approximately 56% of families are unable to cover a $1,000 emergency. With rapidly rising rents, far too many families are living just one emergency away from homelessness.

“When families lose their homes to eviction, they often lose not only the roof over their heads, but also medicines, critical documents, furniture, food, clothing, kids’ toys and cherished family mementos, even pets. The effects are devastating financially and emotionally, and studies show those effects can last for generations,” said Lisa Sarro, of Arundel Community Development Services. “Evictions also create a huge strain on local governments, our school systems, and nonprofits as they scramble to help pick up the pieces. Eviction prevention programs work remarkably well to get landlords paid and keep families in their homes. The infrastructure for these programs is already in place – the state just needs to partner with local governments and agencies to ensure there is adequate funding to keep them going.”

Eviction prevention funds will also stabilize communities and save the state money over time, the report shows, by reducing the use of services families experiencing homelessness often need, such as emergency shelter and additional educational supports.

“Housing is health care. Eviction too often leads to homelessness – which is devastating to health,” said Kevin Lindamood, President and CEO of Health Care for the Homeless. “Even the threat of eviction causes trauma and diminishes family cohesiveness and personal well-being. As we’ve learned over the past four decades, stable and affordable housing is the very foundation for health and the best way to end homelessness.”

Preventing an eviction stabilizes the family, the school, and the community. Families cannot thrive without safe, stable housing. Schools cannot thrive with a student body living in fear of eviction, or worse, experiencing unstable housing or homelessness after they’ve been evicted.

Magdalena Escobar, renter and member of CASA, emphasized the importance to her children of the eviction prevention funds that she received: “My kids didn’t want to go to school because they were worried they were going to come home and our things would be on the street. When we told the kids that the rent had been paid, they were so happy that they started shouting and yelling. Now they smile more and worry less.”

The report also found that:

The report also compiles best practices for eviction prevention programs based on other states as well as the experience of Maryland state and local agencies and nonprofits involved in distributing federal eviction prevention funds that were part of pandemic relief programs.

“We hope the Governor and General Assembly will join numerous other states and recognize the importance of eviction prevention funds as part of a comprehensive housing plan,” said Public Justice Center attorney and Renters United Maryland member C. Matthew Hill. “We can’t decrease childhood poverty and right historical wrongs if we don’t invest more in keeping families in their homes. To start implementation, we ask the Governor and General Assembly to include $15 million in the budget for eviction prevention funds this year and pass legislation to fund eviction prevention for students in community schools in the coming years.”

The MEPFA report was made possible with financial support from the Abell Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation and United Way of Central Maryland.

View the full report and policy brief, and watch the press conference.


The Maryland Eviction Prevention Funds Alliance is made up of more than 30 grassroots organizations, tenant groups, local government agencies, advocates, and services providers who support the creation and funding of eviction prevention programs statewide to stop families from becoming homeless and reduce the negative impacts of eviction on educational achievement for children, health care outcomes, maintaining employment, foster care placements, and other socioeconomic needs.

MEPFA members include:

Advance Maryland
Allegany County Human Resources Development Commission, Inc.
Arundel Community Development Services
Baltimore Renters United
Catholic Charities
Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility
Community Assistance Network
Community Development Network of Maryland
Community Legal Services
Economic Action Maryland
Enterprise Community Partners
Health Care for the Homeless
Homeless Persons Representation Project
Howard County Department of Housing and Community Development
Jews United for Justice
Job Opportunities Task Force
Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services
Maryland Center on Economic Policy
Maryland Nonprofits
Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland
Public Justice Center
Renters United Maryland
Santoni, Vocci & Ortega, LLC
Shepherd’s Table
York Road Partnership