Gov. Janet Mills announced Thursday at a briefing on Maine's response to the coronavirus pandemic that the state is doubling the amount of money being given renters through the state's renter's relief fund and expanding the length of some eviction proceedings.
Citing a coming "housing cliff" caused by the reopening of the state's courts and the end of federal unemployment benefits, Mills said she was dedicated $5 million of the state's coronavirus relief funding to the COVID-19 Rental Relief Program.
That will raise rental assistance that Mainers can apply for from $500 to $1,000 starting Monday.
Maine landlords are also being required to give more notice if they plan to evict a renter on a month-to-month lease, up to 45 days from 30 days, the governor said.
That gives more time to "the person to be able to make the rent, negotiate in good faith with the landlord and get up to date on the rent, but at the same time have these [rental assistance] funds available for those that can't pay the rent," Mills said.
Joining Mills was Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Nirav D. Shah and Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew.
The state has reported 3,888 cases of the virus and 122 deaths as of Thursday.