Per Montgomery County:
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, November 24, 2021
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich announced today the transmittal to the County Council of $48.5 million in COVID-19 relief funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) as supplemental budget items to be included in the Fiscal Year 2022 operating. These supplemental budget requests consist of $34 million in Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) 2 funds from the Department of the Treasury, $7.7 million for Por Nuestra Salud y Bienestar (Latino Health Initiative) and the African American Health Program (AAHP), and $6.8 million toward food security efforts. These funds will provide direct support to Montgomery County residents who need financial rent support and/or are food insecure. These expenditures also expand County equity efforts by combatting COVID-19-related health disparities through engagement within the Black, Latino, and immigrant communities.
“By most measures, Montgomery County has performed among the best in the nation in dealing with this pandemic, and we have done it with a focus on equity,” said County Executive Elrich. “As we approach Thanksgiving, I am thankful to live among neighbors who are compassionate and respect science, work with County Government colleagues who care, and are represented by Congressional and State delegation members who are working nonstop supporting our community. The American Rescue Plan has been crucial to providing desperately needed help to our communities. Montgomery County is grateful and appreciative to Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, Representatives Jamie Raskin, John Sarbanes and David Trone for their diligence to provide these funds.”
The rental relief funds supplement the $58 million already received in ERA 1 funds and $22 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds. These new funds are available for the County to use through September 2025 and will complement the existing COVID Rent Relief Program. To date, the COVID Rent Relief Program has distributed more than $54 million in direct rental assistance, preventing more than 8,000 households from evictions. In the current round of assistance, the program has received more than 12,000 applications and has processed more than 62 percent of all applications received to date. As one recipient of assistance noted, “there are no words that can express my gratitude. I appreciate your effort and patience with me more than you know.” The program continues to process and accept new applications. To review program eligibility and apply for assistance visit www.mc311.com/rentrelief.
The Latino Health Initiative and the AAHP have become best practice models for improving racial and socio-economic health outcomes. These efforts have been critical to the County’s overall success in combatting the pandemic, vaccinating residents of color, and addressing health inequities.
In addition to COVID-19-related outreach and support, the AAHP initiative connects residents to primary care physicians and specialists to address pre-existing health disparities within the community. This initiative also provides access to a robust network of social supports within Montgomery County.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Latino Health Initiative, through its signature program, Por Nuestra Salud y Bienestar (For Our Health and Wellbeing), has successfully provided holistic and wraparound culturally competent and language appropriate services that have focused on COVID-19 prevention, testing, vaccination and care for Latino residents of the County. Por Nuestra Salud y Bienestar is a public-private partnership between the County and seven preeminent Latino-serving community-based organizations that offers pop-up and clinic-based COVID-19 testing and vaccination; case management referrals for priority care and health and human services; a community education and outreach component led by Promotoras de Salud/Community Health Workers; a multifaceted community mobilization communications campaign; an information line staffed by trained bilingual information/navigation specialists; and financial and technical support for County-supported service HUBS. Por Nuestra Salud y Bienestar received an Emmy Award as well as national and international media recognition for these efforts.
In April 2020, County Executive Elrich created the Food Security Task Force, partnering with community partners to create more than 100 food assistance providers. Montgomery County has provided more than $20 million to our food banks and food access providers in the collective work to help our food insecure residents. The additional $6.8 million of ARPA funds towards food security meets a great need as food prices continue to increase.
These supplemental funding items have been transmitted to the Montgomery County Council and are awaiting for their vote and approval to be included in the FY22 budget.