Creating Homeowners, Preserving Neighborhoods in Maryland

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Raymond Skinner to Retire; Clarence Snuggs to Serve as Acting DHCD Secretary Effective Sept. 1


Deputy Secretary Clarence Snuggs congratulates Secretary Skinner, who has announced his retirement.

Deputy Secretary Clarence Snuggs congratulates Secretary Skinner, who is retiring.

Annapolis, MD – Governor Martin O’Malley has announced that Raymond A. Skinner, who has served as Secretary of DHCD since 2007, is retiring at the end of the month and that he will appoint Clarence J. Snuggs as acting secretary effective Sept 1. Read the governor’s release.

Secretary Skinner skillfully guided the agency to record achievements during one of the deepest economic downturns in the nation’s history and helped shape Maryland’s successful people-oriented response to the housing crisis.

“Ray’s experience, vision and genuine concern for working families made him an invaluable asset in establishing one of the most comprehensive, effective and far reaching responses to the foreclosure crisis in the country,” Governor O’Malley said. “He fought for every home as if it was his own — our State is tremendously grateful for his efforts.”

As secretary, Skinner managed the state’s housing finance, asset management, community development, and building code programs. He previously served as DHCD secretary from 1999 to 2003, during the administration of Governor Parris Glendening. He has devoted his career to public service and is a well-respected leader in the housing and community development field, serving as a trustee of the National Housing Conference and on the board of the National Council of State Housing Agencies. He previously served as president of the Council of State Community Development Agencies.

Under Secretary Skinner’s leadership, the O’Malley-Brown administration launched key initiatives such as Rental Housing Works that greatly expanded the state’s stock of affordable rental housing even as the collapse of the national financial markets brought commercial lending to a virtual standstill. Projects launched through neighborhood revitalization initiatives such as Community Legacy and Sustainable Communities were recognized repeatedly for innovation by organizations such as the National Council of State Housing Agencies, the Council of State Community Development Agencies and the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials.

“Over the course of a long and successful career, Secretary Skinner dedicated his time, energy, efforts, and considerable skill to ensuring that each and every Marylander, in communities throughout our state, had a safe, affordable place to call home,” said Lt. Governor Anthony Brown. “As we look to the future, we will continue to build on his legacy of housing advocacy and work together to build stronger communities throughout our state.”

“It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to work with the O’Malley-Brown administration to expand housing opportunities for the hardworking families of our state and to ensure that all citizens live in safe, opportunity-rich communities,” Secretary Skinner said.

Snuggs, who will serve as acting secretary, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Winston-Salem State University and a MBA degree from Howard University. He was appointed deputy secretary of DHCD in 2007 after a distinguished career in affordable housing and community lending. He was director of Enterprise Community Partners’ Baltimore office, deputy executive director and corporate treasurer for the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp. in Washington, D.C., and vice president for community lending for Maryland National Bank and Signet banks. In June 2009, Snuggs was awarded a certificate of completion for the Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and is a 2013 graduate of the Leadership Maryland program.

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Hundredth Homebuyer Opts for Federal Tax Credit Through the Maryland HomeCredit Program


Secretary Skinner announces the Maryland HomeCredit program that started in June.

Secretary Skinner announces the Maryland HomeCredit program that started in June.

Crownsville, MD – The Maryland HomeCredit program reached an important milestone this month when the hundredth homebuyer signed up for the new initiative that allows eligible homebuyers to take a federal tax credit of up to $2,000 per year for the life of their mortgage.

The program was launched on June 1 and is the state’s newest initiative to help make homeownership more accessible for middle income families.

Eligible homebuyers who purchase a home before Dec. 15, 2015 can use the Maryland HomeCredit to claim 25 percent of the annual mortgage interest paid as a federal tax credit up to $2,000 for every year the mortgage is outstanding and they live in the home. The homebuyer must get the Maryland HomeCredit at the time they close on their mortgage. There are fees associated with the Maryland HomeCredit Program, and refinances are not eligible. To learn more about the Maryland HomeCredit program click here.

The Maryland HomeCredit Program is available to all Maryland homebuyers that meet the state’s eligibility requirements.

But the tax credit could be particularly attractive for first-time homeowners when paired with the competitive rates and significant down payment assistance available through the Maryland Mortgage Program, the state’s flagship mortgage purchase program for more than 30 years.

Potential Maryland Mortgage Program homebuyers are also eligible for up to $5,000 in basic down payment assistance. Additional assistance is available through our Partner Match Programs. Through these programs, DHCD agrees to match any down payment assistance up to $2,500 offered by participating employers, builders and developers, and community organizations. Partner Match funds can be combined with the basic down payment assistance.

A list of participating lenders and current interest rate specials are available at the Maryland Mortgage Program website:

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Counselors Hear How Repurchase Program Helps Homeowners Rebound From Devastating Losses


CROWNSVILLE, MD - Rachel Dorr, general manager of Boston Community Capital's SUN initiatives describes the program to Maryland housing counselors

CROWNSVILLE, MD – Rachel Dorr, general manager of Boston Community Capital’s SUN initiatives describes the program to Maryland housing counselors

Crownsville, MD – A Maryland program that helps financially troubled homeowners repurchase their homes at more affordable terms has helped them reduce their monthly payments by an average 38 percent, housing counselors learned during a training session at DHCD headquarters on Thursday.

Rachel Dorr, general manager of the Boston Community Capital SUN initiative said the typical homeowner in their program has experienced “multiple, devastating losses” and fallen behind in their payments but is now in a position to begin rebuilding their credit.

She said the SUN initiative has helped those homeowners stay in their homes. She urged counselors to submit applications for homeowners at any point in the foreclosure process – even those who have been foreclosed upon and awaiting eviction.

Boston Community Capital’s SUN initiative is a partner in Maryland’s Foreclosure Relief Home Repurchase program, which Secretary Skinner launched last fall. DHCD offers incentives to participating housing counselors and ensures that homeowners in the program receive both pre-purchase and post-purchase counseling.

Maryland is the second state to partner with the SUN initiative after the program was launched in Massachusetts more than four years ago. SUN stands for Stabilizing Urban Neighborhoods. The program has since expanded into Rhode Island.

“Maryland is a dream to work with, because its system of getting people connected with counselors is terrific,” said Dorr. Continue reading

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Rehabilitation of Gateway Village Apts. Adds 84 Units for Senior Citizens in Capitol Heights, MD

CAPITOL HEIGHTS, MD -  Gateway Village Apartments held its grand re-opening Thursday after substantial renovations to the building's 84 rental units for senior citizens, made possible with financing support from DHCD. Assistant Secretary Frank Coakley thanked developer National Church Residences for their partnership.

CAPITOL HEIGHTS, MD – Gateway Village Apartments held its grand re-opening Thursday after substantial renovations to the building’s 84 rental units for senior citizens, made possible with financing support from DHCD. Assistant Secretary Frank Coakley thanked developer National Church Residences for their partnership.

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Maryland Communities to Get $5.1 Million for Crucial Development, Infrastructure Projects

After 40 Years, the Federal Community Development Block Grant Program Remains Vital Source of Revenue for Nation’s Rural Communities

CDBG-40th-Anniversary-8.14BERLIN, MD – Lt. Governor Anthony Brown on Thursday joined Secretary Skinner in front of the historic Atlantic Hotel to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Community Development Block Grant program.

The lieutenant governor also announced more than $5.1 million in Fiscal Year 2015 program awards to 12 Maryland counties and municipalities through CDBG’s States and Small Cities Program. Read the release.

Administered by HUD, the program has been a vital source of revenue to help communities across the nation fight deterioration in lower-income neighborhoods and communities and maintain public infrastructure.

Maryland has received over $2.2 billion since the program began, including more than $61 million since 2007.

It has proved a versatile tool in supporting a wide variety of development goals.

The 2015 awards will assist diverse projects including bridge and road repair in the Town of Lonaconing , rehabilitation of an aging water tower in the Town of Elkton, construction of a multipurpose community center in Dorchester County, and down payment assistance for homebuyers in Charles County. The Town of  Berlin will receive $800,000 for storm water improvements to eliminate flooding in the Hudson Branch area. Continue reading

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MD Issuing $41 Million in Local Government Infrastructure Financing Program Bonds

Unprecedented Sale to Provide Critically Needed Infrastructure Improvements in Six Municipalities

CROWNSVILLE, MD – The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development is selling more than $41 million in bonds through the Local Government Infrastructure Financing program, the largest issuance in the nearly 30-year history of the program.

Proceeds from the Aug. 11 sale will provide much-needed resources for critically needed local projects including shoreline protection in the Town of Charlestown; emergency response equipment in the City of Cumberland; street improvements in the Town of North East; water and sewer improvements in St. Mary’s County; and a wastewater treatment plant upgrade in Taneytown.

“This program helps our small municipalities invest in essential projects that have been deferred for far too long,” said Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. “Working together and by pooling our resources, we can help local governments across the state raise the resources to build and maintain the infrastructure they need for an economy that works.

Through the Local Government Infrastructure Financing Program, DHCD issues bonds on behalf of counties, municipalities, or their agencies to finance projects that serve the community at large. The department has at its disposal the expertise and resources to manage the details of public bond issuance, and to help local governments navigate successfully through the complexities of tax-exempt bond financing.

The program generates savings in the costs of borrowing by pooling local demand and securing affordable capital with advantageous terms. Since the first bond financing in 1988, the program has financed 346 distinct local projects totaling over $340 million.

“A sale of this magnitude is a real tribute to our ability to work in partnership with local governments who have a need for access to the capital markets,” said DHCD Secretary Raymond Skinner.

To obtain the Preliminary Official Statement, click here.

For more information about the LGIF program, visit DHCD’s website at, or click here.

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The Maryland Mortgage Program Adds Howard Bank and PNC Mortgage to its Lender Network


DHCD staff member Catherine Kraemer-Dale answers lenders' questions at the annual conference of the Maryland Mortgage Bankers Association.

DHCD staff member Catherine Kraemer-Dale answers lenders’ questions during the annual conference of the Maryland Mortgage Bankers Association.


Crownsville, MD – Howard Bank and PNC Mortgage have joined the Maryland Mortgage Program, bringing the number of participating local and national lenders in the program’s statewide network to 64.

Headquartered in Ellicott City and locally managed, Howard Bank has branches in Howard, Harford, Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties.

PNC Mortgage is the mortgage division of Pittsburgh-based PNC, the sixth largest bank in the country.

The Maryland Mortgage Program works with an ever-expanding network of local and national lenders to make homeownership more accessible and attractive to middle class families. The O’Malley-Brown administration has helped more than 11,000 families realize their dream of homeownership through the Maryland Mortgage Program, totaling more than $2.1 billion.

The program has a lot to offer: competitive rates, significant downpayment assistance and an expanded array of loan products.

In June DHCD launched the Maryland HomeCredit program, giving eligible homebuyers (not just Maryland Mortgage Program buyers) the opportunity to sign up for a federal tax credit of up to $2,000 per year for the life of their mortgage.

In addition, homebuyers can enjoy even greater savings this summer through a series of regional special offers and discounts aimed at veterans and military families.

Lenders are finding Maryland Mortgage Program products as attractive as homebuyers. Today’s typical Maryland Mortgage Program buyer may have the income and credit history but not the cash in hand to qualify for a conventional loan. Lenders find, the program could make the difference between putting their clients in a home or not.

Visit the Maryland Mortgage Program website for more information about current specials, downpayment assistance, homebuyer education and more!

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A Strategic Demolition Near Route One Corridor Supports the Town of Hyattsville’s Revitalization



OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW: A wrecking ball takes a ceremonial bite out of a vacant property near downtown Hyattsville, MD as the town celebrates its ongoing revitalization efforts.

Hyattsville, MD – Secretary Skinner joined Hyattsville Mayor Marc Tartaro and local business leaders for the ceremonial demolition of vacant properties to make way for a public parking garage that will support the renaissance of small businesses, affordable housing and entertainment venues known as Arts District Hyattsville.

Hyattsville has experienced tremendous growth in the past few years, transforming the Route One Corridor into a walkable, mixed-use community with a growing roster of retail and restaurants. The parking garage project, funded in part through the Strategic Demolition and Smart Growth Impact Fund, will create centralized parking for visitors to the area.

Established in 2012, the Strategic Demolition fund provides grants and loans to local governments and non-profit community development organizations working in conjunction with private entities to fund capital costs for redevelopment opportunities in the state’s Sustainable Communities. Sustainable Communities are areas identified by local governments as being in need of revitalization and where the state and its local partners have agreed to concentrate growth and development and leverage scarce state revitalization resources.

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Newly Renovated Columbus School Apartments Are Part of East Baltimore’s Transformation


This 123-year-old building that once housed the Columbus School and represents an excellent example of Romanesque Revival architecture, is being transformed into 50 modern affordable rental housing units.

This 123-year-old building once housed the Columbus School and represents an excellent example of Romanesque Revival architecture. It is being transformed into 50 modern affordable rental housing units.

Baltimore – Secretary Skinner on Thursday joined Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake at the ribbon cutting for the Columbus School Apartments, the $13 million transformation of an abandoned 19th century school building in east Baltimore into modern, energy efficient affordable rental housing for 50 families.

“This building represents more than history and more than fine architecture,” Secretary Skinner said. “It is an important piece of the city’s revitalization strategy for the North Avenue corridor.”

“This project represents the power of transformation to push back blight,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake, adding that the goal of her administration is not just to bring new families into Baltimore, “but to give the families that are already here a reason to stay.”

Constructed in 1891, the historic Columbus School building formerly housed a public school for elementary students. Believed to be one of the highest performing schools in Baltimore City at the time, the school closed its doors in the early 1970s and students were reassigned to the then brand new Harford Heights Elementary School. The Columbus School building, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

Financing for the project was provided by DHCD, Bank of America, Capital One and Hudson Housing Capital, HSA and the Woda Group.

DHCD support included $1 million in federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits for $9.7 million in equity and $1.4 million in Rental Housing Production Program funds.

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Building Beautiful Homes: Annual Tour Helps DHCD Staff Remember Why They Do What They Do


Secretary Skinner receives a plaque of appreciation from Kamau Wise, a resident of the Lillian Jones apartments.

Secretary Skinner receives a plaque of appreciation from Kamau Wise, a resident of the Lillian Jones apartments.

Baltimore – The plaque, presented with a shy but beaming smile, read “Thank you Secretary Skinner for our beautiful home, from the children of the Lillian Jones Apartments,” and it had more than a dozen youthful signatures.

That presentation from young Kamau Wise capped a daylong tour of DHCD-funded projects in Baltimore City, where Secretary Skinner and staff members with DHCD’s Community Development Administration got to see the department’s single family and multifamily programs in action.

The Community Development Administration is the housing finance arm of DHCD, working to build homeownership and increase the supply of affordable rental housing for working families, senior citizens and individuals with special needs.

Those programs have a dramatic impact on the state’s economic well-being. Each year, DHCD programs create jobs, stimulate the economy and generate millions of dollars in state and local taxes. In fiscal year 2013, for example, DHCD programs had an economic impact of nearly $24 for every dollar spent.

But those programs have an even more significant and far-reaching impact on what Governor O’Malley calls the most important place in the state – the family home. Staff members got to see that impact firsthand Friday during tours of projects such as Wayland Village, Village Crossroads, City Arts and the Lillian Jones Apartments.

Those projects exemplify DHCD’s success at putting housing to work – to strengthen and stabilize neighborhoods and families. The City Arts and Lillian Jones projects have won national awards for innovation and vision.

But the plaque from the children of the Lillian Jones Apartments pretty much said it best: at the end of the day, DHCD programs are about building beautiful homes – for children, for senior citizens, for families of all walks of life all over the state.


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