$6.5 Million In Howard County Funding Set Up For Pandemic Aid

Kristin Danley-Greiner

HOWARD COUNTY, MD — Emergency legislation to reallocate $6.5 million of Howard County funds in fiscal year 2021 has been approved to help ensure critical pandemic support for residents, businesses and families is available.

The aid includes:

  • $2 million for the Howard County Economic Development Authority to issue additional grants and low interest loans;

  • $1 million for Howard County General Hospital to continue creating infrastructure for additional ICU and bed capacity;

  • $1 million in housing assistance to prevent evictions and foreclosures;

  • $1 million for food and utility bill assistance;

  • $1.5 million for the extension of vital educational support and childcare programs like HoCo Scholars and RecZone.

“Over the past 10 months, we have used every tool in our toolbox to ensure the health and safety of our community,” Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said. “While we are encouraged that Congress is acting to extend the CARES Act spending deadline, the recent Congressional relief package unfortunately provides no additional funding for state and local governments as we prepare for a winter surge. At this moment, it is necessary for Howard County to once again step up and ensure the well-being of our residents and businesses. We all know there are brighter days on the horizon, but this pandemic is far from over. What is most clear, is many people cannot wait for relief and action is needed now.”

The CDC order on evictions expires Dec. 31, said Kelly Cimino, director of the Howard County Department of Housing and Community Development.

“The governor's moratorium on foreclosures will expire on Jan. 31. While the moratoriums have helped, the past due rent and mortgage payments are still accruing and residents experiencing COVID-related income losses are really struggling to keep their housing. We are hopeful that this much needed funding will help more than 200 residents stay safely housed this winter," Ciminio said.

In June, Howard County received $56.8 million in funding of which $41.4 million was directly appropriated for Howard County government. This funding has been granted to provide the following types of support to the community:

  • More than $11 million in business assistance grants;

  • Nearly $6 million to the Howard County Public School System for virtual learning assistance and technology procurement;

  • Nearly $6 million in total rental assistance support for county residents, including $1.6 million in CARES Act funding;

  • More than $2.1 million in grants for more than 40 non-profits, who have been vital in serving the needs of our most vulnerable residents throughout this pandemic;

  • $850,000 to subsidize the RecZone program, helping more than 150 Howard County families address the child care needs created by the pandemic;

  • $750,000 to the HoCo Scholars program, providing supplemental support to virtual learning through social and emotional development and enrichment activities;

  • $500,000 to provide energy bill assistance to support 1,500 families who sought help from the Community Action Council;

  • $450,000 to improve food access through support for our local food banks and meal deliveries for those who cannot access food distribution centers;

  • $650,000 in grants for Howard County live venues;

  • $100,000 for the arts community, supporting seven artist organizations and 39 individual artists.

This article originally appeared on the Ellicott City Patch