During these unprecedented times, many of us are now working from home – and usually with kids in tow, which means that we are using more electricity and water every day.

We want to make sure that you are staying comfortable and healthy in your homes, but being home for extended periods of time can make utility bills skyrocket. Find out more by reading this tip sheet: LowerYourBill_Bilingual

For up to date information on what is happening around the County and state, check this website.

The federal government is extending relief and protections for many student loan borrowers, renters, and homeowners who are having trouble making payments during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can find out more information here. But, remember the COVID-19 pandemic and relief efforts continue to change and develop. Check our COVID-19 webpage for more information.

Do you need IMMEDIATE Assistance?

Has your electricity, water, or gas service been shut off?

Call 311 or 1-240-777-0311 and ask for Montgomery County DHHS Services to End and Prevent Homelessness (formerly Emergency Services) for assistance.

 

Do you need immediate help paying a utility bill?

Call 1-240-777-4450 Hearing impaired: 1-800-735-2258, Office of Home Energy Programs (OHEP).

 

Do you smell gas? 

Leave the area immediately and call 911 and Washington Gas at 1-703-750-1400 or 1-800-752-7520, if you smell gas, or have an emergency involving natural gas.

 

For all other assistance programs, visit our Utility Bill Assistance page.

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Utility Information

Utility Moratorium

Keep the lights on! The Public Service Commission adopted a motion that will, among other things, extend the moratorium on residential utility terminations until October 1, 2020 and prohibits utility terminations through November 15, 2020.

It is important that customers behind on their utility bills do not wait for a turn-off notice or, when they receive one, to contact their utility right away and work with them to discuss payment plans and bill assistance programs that are available to help them.

The Commission is holding utilities responsible for proactive outreach to their customers to let them know about utility, state and community resources that are available to assist customers who are unable to pay their bills due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and to keep customers in service if they enter into a payment arrangement.”

On June 29, 2020, Governor Hogan issued an amended Executive Order extending the prohibition on residential utility service terminations and late fees until September 1, 2020. More information from the Office of People’s Counsel.

Additional information on steps utilities are taking to help customers can be found here.

Information for Specific Utilities 

Pepco

Contact  PEPCO online or call 202-833-7500

What Customers Should Know–PEPCO 

BGE

Contact  BGE online or call 800-685-0123

What Customers Should Know–BGE 

Potomac Edicson

Contact Potomac Edison online or call 1-800-686-0011

What Customers Should Know–Potomac Edison 

Washington Gas

Contact  Washington Gas online or call 703-750-1000 (or 800-752-7520)

What Customers Should Know–Washington Gas 

WSSC

Contact  WSSC online or call 301-206-4001

What Customers Should Know– About Their Water Bill 

For more information on specific utilities: www.psc.state.md.us/covid-19-utility-operational-changes/ 

Information on additional utilities like phone, internet: https://montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/get-help/Utilities.html 

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Evictions

Eviction Update

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced an extension to their current order that halts certain residential evictions. The extension stops evictions until at least March 31, 2021.

If you already get rental help from HUD, and your income has changed, ask for income recertification.

Learn about help for renters and what you can do

In Montgomery County and the State of Maryland there is a temporary eviction moratorium, it prohibits landlords from physically removing renters from their homes for any reason. During the eviction moratorium, landlords are permitted to issue eviction notices pursuant to their lease agreements and to pursue collection actions.

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Renter Information

COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program

The COVID-19 Rent Relief Program provides short-term rental assistance to eligible households who have experienced lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused them to fall behind on their rent. The program is managed by the County’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) with funding from the Department of Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

Apply here: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/HHS/RightNav/COVID19_RentReliefProgram.html

Households must meet the following minimum eligibility requirements:

  • Have experienced a loss of income due to COVID-19
  • Gross household income from previous 30 days at or below 50% of Area Median Income (AMI) (link below has detail)
  • Have been a Montgomery County resident since at least August 2020
  • Owe at least $1,000 or more to current landlord

Rental assistance may be as much as $12,000.00 depending on one’s situation.

Click on link to learn about how you, a neighbor, a friend or a co-worker can apply for rental assistance.

If you do not have access to internet, call 240-777-0311 and a county representative will provide assistance.

Renter’s Tax Credit 

Renters may qualify for a tax credit (a check of up to $1,000). Learn more about the Renters Tax Credit.

Working with Landlords

See tips for working with landlords during financial difficulties.

Montgomery County’s DHCA Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs recommends that tenants experiencing financial distress contact their landlord to discuss their situation and possible payment arrangements.

Residents with questions or concerns also are invited to contact the County’s Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs directly by calling 311 or 240-777-0311 if dialing from outside of Montgomery County, submitting an online request, or emailing olta.intake@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Residents are also encouraged to review Montgomery County’s Landlord-Tenant Handbook, which offers a description of the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants in Montgomery County.

Housing Stablization Services

Services for emergency housing needs, including homelessness prevention services and housing related financial assistance with eviction, foreclosure, and utility disconnection are available. See current Housing Stablization Service status.

Homeless Information Line

Call the Homeless Information Line at 240-907-2688.

Trained specialists are available 24/7 to:

  • Provide information on County homeless services and shelter resources.
  • Receive reports regarding the location of individuals experiencing homelessness. Information will be forwarded to outreach partners who will attempt to locate the individual to offer support and resources. This is not an emergency response line. Emergencies should be reported directly to 911.

Additional Resources

Learn what protections and resources may be available to help.­­

 

 

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Homeowner Information

Mortgage Relief Options

For mortgages backed by some government agencies, the deadline to request an initial forbearance is February 28, 2021. Others may not yet have specified a deadline or may have specified a later date.

For borrowers with mortgage loans through FHA or USDA, your lender or loan servicer cannot foreclose on your home until after
March 31, 2021.

For those with mortgages backed by the VA, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac, the foreclosure moratorium has been extended through February 28, 2021.

Learn about mortgage relief and options you may have

Temporary Protection from Foreclosure

The vast majority of mortgage loans are owned by HUD-FHA, Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, and VA, which are offering some protections during this time. Learn more about temporary protection from foreclosure.

Housing Stabilization Services

Services for emergency housing needs, including homelessness prevention services and housing related financial assistance with eviction, foreclosure, and utility disconnection are available. See current Housing Stablization Service status.

Homeless Information Line

Call the Homeless Information Line at 240-907-2688.

Trained specialists are available 24/7 to:

  • Provide information on County homeless services and shelter resources.
  • Receive reports regarding the location of individuals experiencing homelessness. Information will be forwarded to outreach partners who will attempt to locate the individual to offer support and resources. This is not an emergency response line. Emergencies should be reported directly to 911.
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Scam Alert

Government Scams

Unfortunately, some scammers are pretending to be affiliated with the government–just to scam you out of money. Here are three ways you can help protect yourself and others from these scammers.

  • Know that the government will never call, text, or contact you on social media saying you owe money, or to offer help getting your Economic Impact Payment (EIP) faster. If you get a message from someone claiming to be from a government agency through social media, it’s a scam. Report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint . If you are eligible and haven’t yet gotten your Economic Impact Payment, visit irs.gov  and follow the guidance. Watch this CFPB video to learn more about your EIP. And read the FTC’s information  on spotting scams related to the EIP.
  • Visit government websites directly for trustworthy information. Don’t click on links in an email or text message. Scammers often send fake links to websites that look like they’re from the government. Instead of clicking on links in messages, open up a new window and search for the name of the government agency. And visit coronavirus.gov  for the most up-to-date information on the pandemic.
  • Say “NO” to anyone claiming to be from a government agency asking for cash, gift cards, wire transfer, cryptocurrency, or personal and financial information, whether they contact you by phone, texts email, or by showing up in person. Don’t share your Social Security, Medicare ID, driver’s license, bank account, or credit card numbers.

For the most up-to-date information on avoiding COVID-19 related scams, visit ftc.gov/coronavirus/scams . And, for further help in protecting yourself financially during this pandemic, visit consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus.

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Internet Access

Free Outdoor Public Wi-Fi 

You may access outdoor public Wi-Fi at ten Montgomery County Public Libraries locations:

Outdoor public Wi-Fi is also available in front of the Silver Spring Civic Building at Veterans Plaza.

This free service is available 24 hours a day in parking lots next to the library buildings. Additional coverage is provided in the grass area behind the Davis branch, in the park from the library to the playground area at Wheaton, and in the Rockville Town Square.

Wi-Fi coverage varies by location. You must follow Executive Orders and Health Officer directives when using the services.

Mobile Hotspot Lending Program 

Montgomery County Public Libraries offers “Internet to Go,” a mobile hotspot lending program for the public. See details about “Internet to Go”.

Comcast

Low-income families who live in a Comcast service area can sign-up for their Internet Essentials package. New customers will receive 60 days of complimentary Internet Essentials service.

Sign up online. The accessible website also includes the option to video chat with customer service agents in American Sign Language.

Or, call 1-855-846-8376 (English) or 1-855-765-6995 (Spanish).

Montgomery Connects!

Montgomery County wants every household and family in Montgomery County to be connected to the internet for school, work, daily living and social interaction.

Montgomery Connects! is a new program of  that can help you with tech support and with low cost internet. This program builds on previous collaborations between the County’s Department of Technology Services (DTS) and Montgomery Recreation.

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Federal Student Loans

Principal and interest payments on federally held student loans are automatically suspended through September 30, 2021.

If you have federally owned student loans, you don’t need to contact your student loan servicer or take any action. However, make sure your servicer has your up-to-date contact information and continue to check your mail or email for updates or information about your loans.

Suspended payments through September 30, 2021, will count towards any student loan forgiveness programs, as long as all other requirements are met.

Learn more about protections for student loan borrowers

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