Elkton Spruces Up its Main Street with $50,000 from Maryland’s Community Legacy Program

Elkton Mayor Robert J. Alt, far right, meets with the owners of The Coffee Place as the town's historic downtown business district commemorates Economic Development Week.
Elkton Mayor Robert J. Alt, far right, meets with the owners of The Coffee Place as the town’s historic downtown business district commemorates Economic Development Week.

Elkton, MD – Elkton is one of those charming old small towns that Maryland is so famous for. Founded by Swedish mariners in the 17th century; nestled at the northern headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay; Elkton once was the destination of choice, according to some sources, for ardent young couples looking to elope.

The Town of Elkton, one of the state’s 28 designated Main Street Maryland communities, and the Elkton Chamber and Alliance have been working with DHCD through the Community Legacy program to revitalize its commercial district while preserving its unique history and charm.

Thursday, in recognition of Economic Development Week, the Elkton Chamber and Alliance recognized The Coffee Place as the latest local business to participate in the alliance’s residential and commercial facade improvement program.

Funded through DHCD’s Community Legacy program, the alliance has awarded $50,000 in less than three months to eight property and business owners in Elkton’s designated Main Street Maryland district. The projects range from $500 to nearly $20,000 and include painting, signage, awnings, window repair and exterior lighting. Since the program requires the property or business owner to contribute at least 50 percent toward the total project costs, these awards have leveraged $100,000 in improvements to buildings downtown.

The project is part of the Hogan administration’s commitment to change Maryland for the better by helping the state’s small businesses innovate and grow. Through the Community Legacy program, DHCD provides grants that help local governments and community development organizations strengthen traditional downtown districts through projects that promote business retention, encourage homeownership and commercial revitalization.

Five tips for using household appliances more efficiently

Small changes to how you use household appliances can add up to big results overtime (Photo by Aaron Beall).
Small changes to how you use household appliances can add up to big results overtime (Photo by Aaron Beall).

When you get your monthly electricity bill, do you ever wonder which appliances consume the most power?

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that major appliances in your home account for 13 percent of household energy costs. Our homes are a hub of activity for some energy-hungry appliances. Your refrigerator, clothes dryer and water heater use most of the electricity, according to this list.

There are many ways to lower your electricity bill and enhance your quality of life. This week, we’ve put together five tips for using appliances efficiently.Read More »

DHCD Announces New Funding, Streamlined Application for Local Governments and Nonprofit Groups

Operating Assistance Grants can support local governments reach their community revitalization and economic development goals.
Operating Assistance Grants can support local governments reach their community revitalization and economic development goals.

A key goal for Governor Larry Hogan is to make Maryland state government more user friendly, with a greater emphasis on customer service. Taking this to heart, DHCD has consolidated three programs into a single Operating Assistance Grants application for the current fiscal year: the Main Street Improvement Assistance Program, the new Nonprofit Assistance Fund and the Technical Assistance Grant.

These programs offer funding to support local housing and revitalization projects. They are part of DHCD’s commitment to helping the state’s local governments and nonprofit agencies achieve their community revitalization and economic development goals.

With applications due Oct. 29, available program funds total $900,000. The programs are:

  • Main Street Improvement Program: $150,000. This program was last offered in 2008.
  • Nonprofit Assistance Fund: $600,000. This is a new program.
  • Technical Assistance Grant: $150,000

As long as the applicant meets program eligibility requirements, they may submit an application for funding from each program.

“Local governments and nonprofits need operating funds in order to carry out their economic development and revitalization priorities,” Secretary Kenneth C. Holt said. “Through the new Operating Assistance Grants program, DHCD is providing support for critical projects that will expand economic opportunities within local communities, and change Maryland for the better.”

Applicant organizations must serve communities that include designated Sustainable Community areas http://www.mdhousing.org/Website/Programs/dn/communities.aspx and projects or initiatives themselves align with local Sustainable Community Action Plans.

To obtain an Operating Assistance Grants application, applicants MUST register via DHCD’s Project Portal System http://projectportal.dhcd.state.md.us. If your nonprofit or local government is already a registered user, once logged in, you can access the application by selecting “Operating Assistance Grants” from the “My Opportunities” tab.

Groundbreaking for Station North arts incubator reinforces Governor Hogan’s commitment to Baltimore’s revitalization

From left, MICA President Samuel Hoi, DHCD Deputy Secretary Ellington Churchill Jr., Delegate Maggie McIntosh, DBED Secretary Mike Gill, Maryland Lieutenant Governor Boyd K. Rutherford, Rep. Elijah Cummings, and Laurens
From left, MICA President Samuel Hoi, DHCD Deputy Secretary Ellington Churchill Jr., Delegate Maggie McIntosh, DBED Secretary Mike Gill, Maryland Lieutenant Governor Boyd K. Rutherford, Rep. Elijah Cummings, and Laurens “Mac” Maclure of BARCO.

BALTIMORE – As part of Governor Larry Hogan’s pledge to invest in Baltimore’s livability and economic success, Deputy Secretary Ellington Churchill on Tuesday joined Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford to celebrate the groundbreaking of Open Works, an $11 million project Baltimore Arts Realty Corp. (BARCO) is developing in the Station North Arts & Entertainment District.

​Also attending were ​Rep. Elijah Cummings​, Delegate Maggie McIntosh​​ and Mike Gill, Secretary of the ​Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED).

Open Works, at 1400 Greenmount Avenue, will house an arts incubator for artists, designers and manufacturers of all varieties. The 34,000-square-foot facility will offer a complete wood shop, metal shop, digital media studio and fabrication shop, 3D imaging and printing studio, a microelectronics lab, and a digital embroidery and fibers studio.

“Open Works is an important part of the renaissance happening in Baltimore and the restoration of manufacturing jobs that were thought to be lost forever,” Churchill said. “DHCD is proud to be a part of projects like this that truly improve lives and communities by bringing jobs, new manufacturing, and more opportunities to the people of Baltimore.”

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Maryland Mortgage Program Reaches All Maryland Jurisdictions for First Time

MMP helping families find homes across state

New Carrollton, MD – Governor Larry Hogan announced today that for the first time since the creation of the Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP) in 1977, the state finished a fiscal year helping families obtain a home in all 24 of the state’s jurisdictions.

Administered by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the program has been widely accessed throughout Central Maryland, and has been active on the Eastern Shore, and in the D.C. Metro area and Southern Maryland.

However, MMP had never purchased a mortgage in each of the state’s 23 counties and Baltimore City— that is, until the state closed the books on Fiscal Year 2015.

“I want every corner of Maryland to know that state government is working for them,” Governor Larry Hogan said. “For the first time in the program’s history, MMP will now be well-established from Southern Maryland to the Eastern Shore, and all the way to Western Maryland. A healthy housing market is key to a healthy economy. By helping more families in more places purchase a home, we are changing Maryland for the better.”

Offering loans at competitive rates, the Maryland Mortgage Program supplied 2,348 mortgages valued at more than $444 million in Fiscal Year 2015. The program also offered 2,233 families down payment assistance, worth more than $13.5 million. MMP also provides Maryland homebuyers a federal tax credit of up to $2,000 for every year of the life of the mortgage.


Five ways homeowners can cut costs on water heating

Faucets can use a lot of hot water. On a daily average, kitchen and bath faucets use up to 2 gallons of hot water per minute (Photo by Evrim Icoz).
On a daily average, kitchen and bathrooms faucets use up to two gallons of hot water per minute (Photo by Evrim Icoz).

With fall weather underway and chilly temperatures ahead, we’re going to be using more and more hot water.

The U.S. Department of Energy found that water heating accounts for about 18 percent of an average family’s utility bill. This makes water heating the second largest energy expense in your home.

To help Maryland families prepare for the cold months, we’ve collected five ways to help cut costs on your water heating bill. Read More »

Maryland WholeHome: Investing in Families by Helping Families Invest in Their Home

DHCD’s Colin Choney helps Snow Hill residents learn how they can make their homes healthier, safer and more energy efficient during a presentation that DHCD is taking statewide.

Maryland WholeHome is a statewide initiative that brings together the resources available to help homeowners learn how they can make their homes healthier, safer and more energy efficient through DHCD’s low interest loans and grants.

DHCD launched the initiative Thursday evening in the historic Eastern Shore town of Snow Hill.  Soon DHCD staff members will be taking their presentation across the state to share with residents in other small communities.

Nearly 100 people joined Snow Hill Mayor Charlie Dorman, Town Manager Kelly Pruitt and other city officials at Snow Hill Middle School.  Jo Ellen Bynum, administrator of the Worcester County Housing Rehabilitation Program, also attended and encouraged participants to make use of all available state and county programs.

Read More »

Introduction of Maryland WholeHome in Snow Hill Thursday Launches One-Stop Shop for Home Improvement

Improve your home with DHCD: WholeHome program gives Marylanders access to funds that can be used to complete repairs and upgrades to their homes.

Governor Larry Hogan’s ongoing effort to make state government more customer-oriented and user-friendly continues Thursday, Sept. 10, with the launch of Maryland WholeHome in Snow Hill.

Maryland WholeHome is a statewide initiative to help low-income homeowners pay for valuable improvements to their homes.

Representatives from DHCD’s Special Loans and Energy programs will attend the Town of Snow Hill’s Homeowners Meeting to discuss how WholeHome can assist low-income homeowners with repairs and upgrades to their homes using our low-interest loans and grants.

The meeting will be located at the Snow Hill Middle School Cafeteria on 522 Coulbourne Lane, from 6 pm to 7 pm.

​”State government is working for all of Maryland and my administration wants the more rural areas to know we have the tools to help them,” the governor said.​

Attendees will learn how our programs can be used to improve the safety, comfort and accessibility of the whole home:

  • Replace or repair roofs and porches
  • Repair plumbing and septic systems
  • Rectify structural or maintenance issues
  • Upgrade energy-efficient appliances
  • Repair or replace heating and cooling systems
  • Install energy conservation materials and insulation
  • Add accessibility features such as hand railings, ramps, grab bars and wider doorways
  • Remove lead paint hazards
  • Seal air and whole house envelope
  • Correct building code violations

WholeHome will help change Maryland for the better by providing financial assistance so homeowners can invest in affordable home improvements and save money on their monthly utility bills.

“It is our mission to ensure that homeowners are aware of the Maryland WholeHome Program so they have the opportunity to take advantage of the DHCD funding available to improve their homes,” said Tiffany Robinson, assistant secretary for DHCD.

“Most Maryland families don’t know they qualify for our programs,” added Colin Choney, program manager for the enhanced weatherization program at DHCD. “With this whole home approach, we’re providing solutions and engaging the community so everyone is aware of what we do.”

DHCD plans to take WholeHome to municipalities across the state and discuss how our programs can help homeowners improve the quality of their day-to-day lives.

To learn more about our special loans programs, call 1-800-638-7781. To learn more about our energy programs, call 1-855-583-8976. For additional information on all DHCD programs, visit http://dhcd.maryland.gov.

Samantha Lozano

Five ways homeowners can shrink their energy bills


Did you know that windows can account for 10 percent to 20 percent of heating and cooling costs for the average American home?

For example, sunny windows account for unwanted heat to enter the house, forcing air conditioners to work two to three times harder just to cool hot air.

Although summer only has about two weeks left officially, the heat is lingering. We’ve compiled a list of warm climate window tips to save you money and keep cool at home.

Cooling Tips

  1. Install window curtains, shades, drapes or blinds to reduce sunlight entering your home.
  2. Close windows and curtains on south- and west-facing windows during the day to reflect heat away from the house.
  3. Install awnings on south- and west-facing windows. Also, apply sun-control or other reflective films on south-facing windows to reduce solar heat gain. According to the Department of Energy, window awnings can reduce solar heat gain in the summer by up to 65 percent on south-facing windows and 77 percent on west-facing windows.
  4. Open windows when the outside temperature is lower than the inside temperature. The cool air helps pull down the overall temperature of the house.
  5. Buy high-performance windows that have at least two panes of glass and low-e coating. Windows with low-e coatings on the glass reflect some of the sunlight, keeping rooms cooler.

You can also learn how to get innovative financing for energy efficiency improvements to your home through our Be SMART Home Loan program. Be SMART offers flexible financing of up to $25,000 for eligible homeowners.

For more ways to save energy, visit the Department of Energy‘s website. We hope you apply these simple and low-cost energy tips to your home. We’ll regularly share a new topic so don’t forget to subscribe to our blog!

By Samantha Lozano

Secretary Holt Announces Ellington Churchill Jr. As New Deputy Secretary

Ellington-ChurchillNew Carrollton, MD – Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Secretary Kenneth C. Holt today announced the appointment of Ellington Churchill, Jr. as the department’s deputy secretary.

Churchill has more than two decades experience as a construction and real estate development professional and will assist Secretary Holt in providing leadership and oversight in the development of the state’s housing finance, asset management, community development and building code programs.Churchill is active in the community and serves on the board of directors for Outward Bound Baltimore, Arundel Community Development Services, and Peale Center for Baltimore History and Architecture.

“Ellington’s 20 years of hands-on experience in the real estate development industry in Maryland brings a broad range of leadership skills and business development expertise to DHCD,” said Secretary Holt. “He will be an important asset to the Hogan administration and the department in implementing housing and community development solutions to change Maryland for the better.”

Churchill most recently served as director of business development for Lewis Contractors, a family-owned mid-Atlantic commercial general contractor and construction management firm. Churchill was responsible for leading construction management, general contracting and design build project opportunities for the firm. He also developed marketing strategies to gain key construction market penetration to maintain Lewis’ profit margins and forecasted construction volume.

“I look forward to working with Secretary Holt and the team at DHCD in their mission to revitalize communities and provide affordable housing opportunities throughout the state,” said Churchill.

Churchill began his career in 1994 as the project manager and estimator with Lewis Contractors. In 2006, he joined Liberty Project Trust as a senior project manager before coming back to Lewis Contractors in 2011.

Churchill earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture and a master’s degree in construction management  from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Churchill lives in Windsor Mills with his wife, Shareese, and two daughters.

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