Maryland failed to meet a federal benchmark in early fall for distributing COVID-19 relief funds it received for rent to tenants at risk of eviction, according to the US Treasury Department . Gov. Larry Hogan’s office rejected any threat of money loss and said payments were moving at a good pace.

The department wrote to U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Late last month that Maryland was among states that could lose funding because it didn’t spend 30% of the money. as of September 30, reported the Baltimore Sun. The state “may be subject to reallocation because it is below the 30% spending ratio,” the Oct. 26 email said.

Maryland launched its emergency rent assistance program in May 2020 with the help of $ 401 million in federal funds. About $ 143 million was distributed among the state’s eight largest jurisdictions, with the remainder being sent to the Department of Housing and Community Development for distribution statewide.

Van Hollen and fellow Democratic Senator from Maryland Ben Cardin wrote to Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth Holt on Friday urging more disbursements. The state must act quickly “to prevent these funds from being revoked by the Treasury Department on Nov. 15, unnecessarily leaving tens of thousands of vulnerable Marylanders at risk of losing their homes,” the letter said.

Housing & Community Development is a Cabinet agency reporting to Republican Hogan, which spokesman Mike Ricci said the state was in no danger of losing funds. The Treasury Department recently told states there are several ways to avoid or mitigate the loss of funds, including submitting plans to “improve the program,” the newspaper reported.

Ricci cited Housing & Community Development’s forecast that its October report will show the state “more than exceeded Treasury targets.” He accused Van Hollen of not having done his “homework”.

State eviction protections expired on August 15, and a federal moratorium on evictions expired at the end of the month.

About three-fifths of the states have joined Maryland on skipping the original schedule, according to Treasury Department data. In their letter, Van Hollen and Cardin noted that Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC, spent more of their funding than Maryland, “as did all local government recipients.”

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