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Attorney, nonprofit save 20 families from holiday evictions

By Annie Rose Ramos

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    ANNAPOLIS, Maryland (WJZ) — Days before Christmas, 20 families in Annapolis were facing eviction.

They’re among the many Marylanders who are at risk of homelessness due to economic hardship during this pandemic.

Within the past week, tenants at the Robinwood Townhomes in Annapolis all received the notice nobody wants to receive.

“I had a pin paper taped to my door,” said tenant, Akia Gray. She said her son screamed, “Mommy, we got an eviction notice.”

It’s the same notice 19 other tenants received at the townhomes, including Gwendolyn Pindell.

All of them were ordered to be out of their home in days.

“Come on now, we’re out here struggling, we don’t have no place to go,” said Pindell.

Gray, who lives with her two sons at Robinwood Townhomes, said she felt helpless.

“It’s very scary not to know what’s going on, ” she said.

Pindell has lived in her home for seven years with her family. She said she didn’t know who to reach out to for help so she prayed to God for help, so “someone would reach out and help us.”

Attorney Kat Hyland and the Civil Justice Network answered her prayer.

“I volunteered that I was available,” said Hyland, who couldn’t stand the idea of people getting kicked out of their homes on Christmas.

Alexa Bertinelli and Carolyn Wetzel from the Civil Justice Network also worked with the tenants. The network has arranged over $150,000 in rental assistance throughout Annapolis.

“We contacted every single family and made sure they all got their application for CARE’s Act funding,” said Hyland.

During the pandemic, millions of dollars from the CARES Act, which passed in 2020, went toward rent relief in Maryland.

So when Hyland came before a judge this morning in district court, the judge dismissed all 20 cases.

“We have a home for Christmas,” Pindell said, calling the case dismissal a miracle.

“This is my Christmas present,” Gray said.

If you are a renter who has questions about eviction or needs more information about rental assistance, head to this webside to larn more about the Emergency Rental Assistance Program in Maryland.

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