ANNAPOLIS, MD—Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh and Governor Larry Hogan on Thursday announced that $11.7 million in general funds will be directed to the Maryland Legal Services Corporation to provide legal services to families facing eviction and other housing security issues.
As many national and local studies establish, counsel in eviction cases often means the difference between families staying in their homes or losing their homes. Maryland Legal Services Corporation makes grants to nonprofit organizations that provide civil legal services for low-income Marylanders. MLSC’s funds have been decimated in the wake of the pandemic, resulting in less legal services for Marylanders at a time when the need is highest.
“Maryland was one of the first states in the nation to implement a moratorium on evictions for tenants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and we continue to provide targeted relief to help those in need,” said Governor Hogan. “These additional resources are yet another way that we are following through on our commitment to do everything we can to help Marylanders weather this storm, get back on their feet, and recover.”
“One of the most urgent issues facing our state is the wave of evictions that so many residents face as a result of the pandemic,” said Attorney General Frosh. “We need to keep families in their homes and off the streets. I’m pleased we are able to dedicate this money, recovered through the hard work of our lawyers, for this vital purpose. I also want to thank the members of my COVID-19 Access to Justice Task Force for their advocacy for increased legal services funding and their work to help Marylanders facing the loss of their homes.”
Of the funds announced today, $8.7 million was recovered by the Securities Division of the Attorney General for unlawful conduct during the financial crisis and may only be used for housing-related purposes.
“These funds could not have come at a more critical time for the preservation of Maryland’s civil legal aid safety net,” said Susan Erlichman, executive director of the Maryland Legal Services Corporation, the state’s major funder of civil legal aid. “MLSC is experiencing an unprecedented funding shortage due to the impact of COVID on our main revenue sources, and the action taken today translates into literally tens of thousands of Marylanders facing evictions and other matters who otherwise would have had no place to turn, now able to get the legal help they desperately need.”
MLSC makes grants to nonprofit organizations that provide civil legal services for low-income Marylanders. Since 1982, MLSC has made grants totaling over $310 million to help provide services in nearly 3.5 million legal matters.