In most major urban communities in Maryland especially in Baltimore City, tenant eviction is a major community problem. In the years 2008 – 2012, property owners filed a monthly average of 140,000 complaints on rent default and eviction in the Maryland District Court. In 2008 - 2009, after attending four days of District Court hearings in Baltimore City to get an eyewitness understanding of the tenant eviction process, it was evident that financial education was a critical missing component in addressing tenant eviction. In most of the situations, it was not as if tenants did not have income. Most of the tenants (low-income households) were not making rent payment a priority, running out of money before the end of the month with no backup funds as savings for emergencies, and some tenants were perpetual lease defaulters.

In 2009, the University of Maryland Extension-Baltimore City finance educator organized a meeting with community agencies and stakeholders that provides rental housing to subsidized and unsubsidized income households. The central focus of the meeting was the essence of a community effort to promote awareness on rent default and eviction prevention through financial management education intervention. This was the inception of Housing Eviction Prevention Seminars.


The objective of housing eviction prevention education is to provide financial management classes to tenants to acquire knowledge, and skills in better decision-making in budgeting income to pay rent timely, minimize consumption, and maximize saving. Also, financial management classes would enable tenants to acquire knowledge from participating in credit, debit, identity theft, and workforce development classes. The second objective is to provide professional development seminars as financial management skill enhancement to frontline staff working with rental housing and human services agencies. Staff is encouraged to become mentors to the tenants in need of assistance with financial management.


Foundations for decision-making in the economy

This course teaches basic, but  essential decision-making ideas (scarcity, choice, opportunity costs, and rationality) to help participants understand how to:

  • Make concrete decisions when money is scarce (limited, not enough)

  • Make appropriate choices due to scarcity of income

  • Be mindful of opportunities and cost associated with each opportunity

  • Be a rational decision-maker such that any action or choice should result in  being better off without making anyone else worse off

Personal Budgeting Class (Income, Spending, and Savings)

This class teaches participants basic methods of designing a household budget:

  • Authentic sources of deriving income

  • Allocating income to consumption spending and saving

  • Budgeting and Prioritizing - Making rent payment the priority in the budget

  • Understanding the relationship between income, spending, and saving

  • Factors affecting income, consumption, and saving

Credit/Debt Management Class

This class teaches credit and debt management to help those who are concerned about obtaining credit or managing debt.

  • Unsecured and secured credit cards

  • Credit bureaus, credit report, and credit scores

  • Borrowing money, interest, and interest rate

Identity Theft Class

This class teaches participants to be aware of identity theft as a rising crime in the nation. Participants learn how to:

  • Protect

  • Detect

  • Defend and report identity theft

 Teaching Resources

Staff Professional Development

Professional development seminars provide financial management education enhancement to frontline staff employed by housing and human services agencies. Staff is encouraged to become mentors to the tenants in need of assistance with financial management.

  • The topics are selected topics from the above programs

  • Presenters are guest speakers from the partnership agency and the UME Educator.

Targeted audiences – Frontline staff

The audiences include frontline staff from public housing authority agencies, private housing (Catholic Charities, Affordable Housing Inc.), transitional housing (homeless shelters, halfway housing, etc.), caseworkers and social workers from family investment programs, and teachers.


Teaching Format
  • Before COVID-19 Pandemic – In-person classroom or conference setting.

  • During COVID-19 Pandemic – Virtual (Zoom or WebEx)

  • After COVID-19 Pandemic – In-person classroom or conference setting      


  • Maryland Department of Labor, Department of Workforce Development and Adult Learning

  • Maryland Department of Health, Minority Health and Health Disparities

  • Maryland Department of Human Services – Family Investment Programs, Office of Cash Programs

  • Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, Community Outreach

  • Maryland State Attorney General’s Office

  • Maryland Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services

  • Social Security Administration



In 2020, the program was statewide and virtually reached 99 tenants from 3-multi-sessions and 910 professionals from 17-sessions of staff professional development. By estimate, the 910 staff who attended professional development would serve 9,100 additional tenants at risk of eviction.  

The percentage overall behavioral change estimates during the COVID-19 pandemic derived from pre-seminar and post-seminar evaluations of participants:

  • Confidence to make choices about managing income: pre-seminar 68%, and post 89%

  • Confidence to save money for emergencies: pre-seminar 55%, and post 68%

  • Confidence to spend money wisely based on needs: pre-seminar 75%, and post 89%

  • Confidence to pay rent: pre-seminar 69%, and post 85%

Looking at the outcomes, although participants acquired knowledge to build confidence in managing their income (a), spending money wisely (c), and confidence to pay rent (d), but from eyeballing the percentage changes the overall change in confidence levels are not extremely high due to COVID-19 pandemic. This is more evident when looking at the outcome of the confidence to save money for emergencies (b), households are not saving becomes they are struggling financially.