Montgomery County’s ‘Housing Week’ Recognizes Public and Private Efforts to Ensure People Impacted by COVID-19 Were Not Displaced and Had a Place to Live During the Pandemic 

For Immediate Release: Monday, March 14, 2022

Montgomery County’s month of recognizing and commemorating two years of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic continues this week with “Housing Week” (March 13 – 19). The County is highlighting the sacrifices, dedication and efforts of individuals and partners in the community as we continue to move forward.

“I want to thank all our partners in Montgomery County who worked diligently to make $134 million in rental assistance funds available to help those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and for providing shelter for our homeless population,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “Throughout the pandemic, we have been committed to doing everything we could to stabilize living conditions for people. Our collective efforts helped ensure that thousands of families were not displaced and had somewhere to stay. Our work is not done. We will continue to provide resources to make sure relief is available to renters, and we have expanded our shelter capacity for our homeless population to provide year-round shelter with support and resources. The work that has been done is phenomenal and I am proud of the giving and caring spirit that so many people in Montgomery County consistently exhibit. This week we are saluting the efforts of all those who did so much to make sure our residents had a roof over their heads.”

The monthlong commemoration began with “Memorial Week,” a remembrance of the lives lost to COVID-19 in Montgomery County and the sharing of stories, with #MoCoRemembers, including our County government employees who lost their lives, culminating with a candlelight vigil on March 3. The second week was ‘Public Health and Health Care Week’ which recognized the County’s Public Health Service and countless other health professionals and providers who worked to keep the community safe, protect lives, and meet the needs of those impacted. For more information about the monthlong event, visit the County’s website.

“The pandemic exacerbated existing housing challenges, especially for almost 50,000 households in Montgomery County with incomes up to $50,000 per year who pay more than half their income for rent – many were further impacted by loss of income due to COVID-19,” said Aseem K. Nigam, director of the County’s Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA). “We extend our gratitude to all who helped renters apply for rent relief and participate in the court process so they could remain housed while payments were processed for their landlord. Further, to address the underlying affordability challenge, we deeply appreciate all who continued working with us throughout the pandemic to preserve and produce affordable housing.”

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and DHCA, along with partners, collaborated in preventing eviction and homelessness during the pandemic. The County has received approximately $134 million in federal, state and local rental assistance, which, to date, has supported 9,944 renter households experiencing income loss due to COVID-19, with rental assistance programs managed mainly by DHHS. DHCA communications and outreach to tenants have included detailed information at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/renters and www.montgomerycountymd.gov/landlords; a poster in every apartment building, Ride On bus ads, tens of thousands of flyers distributed via food distribution programs and in apartment buildings with high risk for eviction; and, outreach coordinated with faith and community leaders, support organizations, Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College and the City of Gaithersburg, City of Rockville and City of Takoma Park.

DHCA works to preserve and increase the supply of affordable housing, maintain existing housing in a safe and sanitary condition, preserve the safety and quality of residential and commercial areas, ensure fair and equitable relations between landlords and tenants, and support the success of common ownership communities – all with a focus on reducing racial inequities and climate change impacts. All these efforts continued during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/dhca and review the DHCA Annual Report.

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17th Annual Kensington Day of the Book Festival

Now in its 17th year, the Kensington Day of the Book Festival is a family-friendly street festival featuring 150+ renowned authors, poets, and literary organizations. Enjoy live music on five stages, special guest speakers, military veteran writers and comedians, poetry readings, cookbook demos, children's program, and much more.

Admission is free, and attendees will also be able to explore a marketplace of books and food offerings from local vendors.

Not your average book festival! This festival offers something for everyone!

17th Annual Kensington Day of the Book Festival

Sunday, April 21, 2024, 11am-4pm (held rain or shine!)

Howard Avenue, Kensington, MD 20895

www.dayofthebook.com

Instagram: @kensingtonbookfestival

Contact: Elisenda Sola-Sole, Festival Director

[email protected]

301-949-9416 (text preferred)

FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival

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