Important Resources Are Available to Help Stabilize Housing

Local and State Housing, Tax and Water Discount Programs and Clinics  

Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS) emphasizes the importance of investing in our community partners and building strong relationships through outreach and advocacy. Spring is nearly here, which means tax season has arrived making it all the more important to connect residents with critical resources. Several programs have been recently rolled out from the state of Maryland and the City of Baltimore including the Water4All Discount Program, Maryland Homeowner Assistance Fund, and the Statewide Water Delinquency Program. In addition, to state and city programs there are local organizations like MVLS and Securing Older Adult Resources (SOAR). Here’s the information you need to know to help us spread the word.  

Water 4 All Program  – Baltimore City 

What is it? 

This new water assistance program provides a monthly discount for water and sewer costs based on a percentage of residents’ income for Baltimore City Residents. Homeowners and Renters are available. For the first time, tenants who do not directly pay their water bills are eligible to apply for water payment assistance.  

Where do I find more information?  

Find more information here – Water4All | City of Baltimore (baltimorecity.gov) 

How do I apply? 

Apply direct on Water4All | City of Baltimore (baltimorecity.gov) or call (410)-369-5555 

The Emergency Mortgage & Housing Assistance Program (EMHAP) – Baltimore City

What is it?  

EMHAP provides further assistance to Baltimore City homeowners whose homes are at risk of foreclosure due to economic hardship related to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Where do I find more information?  

Find more information here – Emergency Mortgage & Housing Assistance Program | Baltimore City Department of Housing & Community Development

How do I apply?   

You can apply for EMHAP online at Neighborly Software. Click on the Register tab and register for a free account with your name and email. After registering, click Sign In to enter your email and password. Then, under Start a New Application, click Emergency Mortgage & Housing Assistance Program.

If you need assistance, call the LIGHT Intake & Assessment Unit at 410-396-3023. If you do not wish to complete the application online, you can download and print the application, or you can pick up a paper application from us at 417 E. Fayette St., Suite 1125.

Maryland Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) 

What is it?  

The Maryland HAF helps homeowners who need assistance with paying their mortgage, property taxes, and ground rent. Additionally, the homeowner assistance fund provides help to in need of home repairs or weatherization to remain in their homes.  

Where do I find more information?  

Find more information here – Maryland Homeowner Assistance Fund 

How do I apply?   

Apply directly at Maryland HAF or call 833-676-0119, Mon-Fri 8 am to 7pm and Sat 9am to 4pm.   

Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) 

What is it?  

The LIHWAP is available statewide and provides Maryland households with financial relief toward water and/or wastewater bills. Eligible households may receive up to $2,000. LIHWAP funding is limited, and applications will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. 

Where do I find more information?  

You can find more information about the program here – Low Income Household Water Assistance Program – Maryland Department of Human Services 

How do I apply?   

You can apply for LIHWAP assistance online using the consumer portal at mymdthink.maryland.gov. If you are unable to apply online, you may request an application be mailed to you through the service hotline at 1-800-332-6347 or by calling your local Department of Social Services or Office of Home Energy Programs office. A printable paper application can be found at their website

SOAR With Maryland’s Consumer Rights Coalition   

Securing Older Adult Resources (SOAR) supports the financial wellbeing of older adults. They can help you receive a renters’ tax credit which could result in a credit of $1,000 to income-eligible renters. If your name is on the deed, you may be eligible for a homeowners’ tax credit which will cap your property tax. To learn more information and apply please visit Take the Credit — Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition (marylandconsumers.org) or call their tax credit hotline directly at (443)-961-6220. 

Baltimore Rowhome Saved from Tax Sale

Marilyn*, age 65, lives in West Baltimore with her daughter. Her neighborhood is near to some of Baltimore’s most cherished landmarks, like the Poe house and Hollins Market. It’s also full of vacants. At one point, somebody gave Marilyn some bad advice. They told her it would be advantageous to create an LLC with herself, her daughter, and her daughter’s friend, in order to make that LLC the record owner of the house.

In 2014, her house was put up for tax sale by the City of Baltimore. Even though Marilyn only made $10,000 a year, she didn’t qualify for the Homeowners Property Tax Credit, a program designed to keep people like her out of tax sale. She didn’t qualify because the house was owned by the LLC. MVLS placed her case with volunteer attorney Sabrina Kane who worked with Marilyn to redeem the home. Once the home was saved, Sabrina agreed to accept a second case – this time a deed change. She helped Marilyn unravel the LLC and get the home into her own name again so she could qualify for tax credits.

Marilyn lives right in between two vacant houses. Just by living there, she’s contributing to the normalcy and stability of the area. Cases like these are crucial to keeping Baltimore’s neighborhoods intact, and the MVLS community has the legal know-how to help.

To learn to help clients like Marilyn, join us for a tax sale training! And join us for our upcoming clinics in Baltimore and Prince George’s County.

Aug. 26 – New Videos From Maryland Judiciary & MVLS Help Marylanders Understand Foreclosure Legal Process

The Maryland Judiciary has created two new videos in partnership with MVLS to help Maryland homeowners understand the foreclosure legal process, including mediation. The videos, “The Foreclosure Process” and “Foreclosure Mediation,” provide information about what foreclosure is and what happens during mediation. Continue reading “Aug. 26 – New Videos From Maryland Judiciary & MVLS Help Marylanders Understand Foreclosure Legal Process”