Creating Homeowners, Preserving Neighborhoods in Maryland


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Talk About Smart! Baltimore County Officials Cut Ribbon on Shared Space for Two High Schools, a Md. Smart Site Project

OCTOBER 1

Dundalk-HS-10.1

Dundalk, MD – Over 100 students, faculty and staff, Board of Education members, community stakeholders, and government representatives attended a ribbon cutting event at Dundalk Sollers Point Technical High Schools on Oct. 1, to officially open the new shared building.

The almost $100 million project houses Dundalk High School, serving southeast Baltimore County students, and the regional magnet Sollers Point Technical High School. The schools feature a shared atrium, gymnasium and 500-seat auditorium, with specialty learning space including state-of-the-art media center, science laboratories, culinary arts kitchen, cosmetology facility, and automotive and construction departments. Continue reading


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Housing Conference News: Secretary Skinner Discusses Governor’s Housing Conference, Other Housing-Related Issues on WBAL’s “11 TV Hill”

SEPTEMBER 19

WBAL-Interview-9

Baltimore – Secretary Skinner discussed the state’s foreclosure picture, the improving housing market and the upcoming 2013 Governor’s Housing Conference with WBAL-TV’s Lisa Robinson during a taping Wednesday of the public affairs program “11 TV Hill.”

The program airs Sunday at 11 a.m., right after Meet the Press.

The discussion provides a preview of issues that will be explored at length during the Sept. 27 conference, the largest and most comprehensive forum on affordable housing issues in Maryland, bringing together housing advocates, community development leaders, homebuilders, lenders and lawmakers. To learn more about the conference, including how to register, click here.

This year’s conference features an all-star roster of speakers, including Governor Martin O’Malley, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and keynote speaker Henry Cisneros, co-chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission. Also, Dr. Daraius Irani, director of the Regional Economics Studies Institute at Towson University, will provide an overview on Maryland’s economic outlook and a lawmakers’ roundtable including Seventh District Congressman Elijah Cummings and Fourth District Congresswoman Donna Edwards will provide a national perspective.

The daylong conference underscores the importance of housing to Maryland’s economic vitality, community development and the quality of life for working families, senior citizens and individuals with special needs.


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Walking Tour of Main Street Maryland Communities in Elkton and Havre de Grace Reveals Revitalization Plans in Action

JULY 23

Havre-de-Grace-7.23

Elkton, MD – The $2.6 million renovation of a historic opera house in downtown Havre de Grace and arts and crafts shops in downtown Elkton were among the sites that Secretary Skinner visited Tuesday during a walking tour of neighborhood revitalization projects in the northeastern part of the state.

Both towns are designated Main Street Maryland communities, making them eligible for targeted resources under the state’s initiative to help strengthen the economic potential of Maryland’s traditional main streets and neighborhoods. Secretary Skinner also has toured projects in western Maryland and the Eastern Shore. Continue reading


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Vote Early, Vote Often: Three Main Street Maryland Communities Competing in “Paint What Matters” Contest

JUNE 20

Main-Street-Takoma-Pk-pic-1Crownsville, MD – Three Main Street Maryland communities are competing in Benjamin Moore’s “Paint What Matters” campaign, the New Jersey company’s nationwide initiative to help revitalize communities.

The Main Street Maryland communities of Cambridge, Sykesville and Takoma Park could receive a complete repainting of facades, porches, railings, shutters and other exterior building trims courtesy of Benjamin Moore and the company’s color experts will be on hand to consult on the best choices to enhance the architectural style, regional influences and history of each winning community. A fourth Maryland community, Ellicott City, also is competing in the contest.

Main-Street-High-Street-SpringThe campaign asks consumers around the country to cast their vote online for which 20 Main Streets should be revitalized of the more than 100 North American cities nominated at http://www.paintwhatmatters.com. Continue reading


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DHCD Secretary Tours Hurricane Sandy Recovery Sites, Agrees Not to Offer Property Purchase Option for Smith Island

JUNE 10

District-7-Crisfield-20130606-00013Crisfield, MD – Maryland’s plan to use $8.6 million in federal funds to help Somerset County recover from the effects of Hurricane Sandy will not include an option to purchase the property of Smith Island residents in deference to local opinion, Secretary Skinner announced.

On Thursday, Secretary Skinner and other DHCD staff toured areas damaged by the October storm and met with Somerset County officials, Crisfield officials and local leaders from the Somerset County Long-term Recovery Committee. The goal of the secretary’s trip was to see recovery progress first hand and get direct guidance from local leaders. Continue reading


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Maryland Continues to Refine its Plan to Help Somerset County Residents Recover from Effects of Hurricane Sandy

MAY 23

Crownsville, MD – DHCD continues  to refine its plan for use of $8.6 million in federal funds to help Somerset County residents recover from the effects of Hurricane Sandy.  The department’s draft proposal – discussed in public meetings over the past month and detailed in a May 17 blog post – had allocated $2 million for property purchases on Smith Island but DHCD agreed to limit the allocation to $1 million after receiving feedback from the public and after assessing interest in that part of the program.

The department has also agreed to limit property purchases to Smith Island residents who need to relocate due to medical needs, unsafe housing conditions or other compelling circumstances.   The state will submit its plan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development by June 10, after first getting further comment from the public. Continue reading


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A Main Street Maryland Success Story: CNN Puts Frederick on its List of “America’s Best Small Town Comebacks”

MARCH 12

Fun in Frederick

Frederick, MD – The historic crossroads town of Frederick, nestled in western Maryland with its fabled clustered spires, is on CNN’s list of “America’s Best Small Town Comebacks;” part of the news organization’s “Best of” series.

“Frederick is revived,” coos CNN’s March 12 story, “with a nearly chain-proof red brick commercial district lined with indie shops, destination restaurants and weekenders from D.C. and Baltimore (both an hour away) escaping here instead of the other way around.”

And for a Frederick Wow! Factor, CNN advises: “Stroll along Carroll Creek Park’s pedestrian bridges and brick pathways lined with public art and it’s hard to believe this green space was originally a flood control project.”

Frederick’s charm isn’t news to fans of the western Maryland town, of course. Continue reading


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Secretary Skinner Joins Maryland ABCD Network’s Fifth Annual Legislative Luncheon, Notes Improving Housing Market

JANUARY 15 

MD ABCD NetworkAnnapolis, MD – Secretary  Skinner told members of the Maryland Asset Building and Community Development Network that the state’s housing market continues to improve although foreclosure are expected to rise.

The secretary joined several state legislators and members of housing and community development organizations across the state to discuss the network’s housing-related initiatives and legislative issues for the coming year.

Priorities on the Maryland ABCD Network’s legislative agenda for 2013 include expanding and increasing the allocation of Community Investment Tax Credits and maintaining a strong budget for the Department of Housing and Community Development. Doing so is crucial and will result in increased funding for Community Legacy programs and other initiatives. The network also expressed its desire to streamline the application process for community projects and increase flexibility for unsecured loans by supporting Senate Bills 60 and 62.

One of the major topics of discussion was the Rental Housing Works initiative and the allocation of $25 million to its budget. The initiative is not only producing and improving affordable rental housing but also creating jobs throughout the state.

 - By Jack McLean 


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The Year in Pictures – Maryland Housing Stories in 2012

2012 was a year of progress. The key indicators measuring the health of Maryland’s housing market showed sustained improvement; DHCD launched significant new loan products for first-time homebuyers, veterans and military families through the Maryland Mortgage Program; and Governor O’Malley launched an initiative that will stimulate the state’s economy, create jobs and finance the production of affordable rental housing for hardworking families senior citizens and disabled persons across the state.

January

Rental Housing Works 1.12.12

Governor O’Malley and Secretary Skinner announced the Rental Housing Works initiative at a construction site for new affordable rental housing in Annapolis.

Cardin at MLDW 1.28.12

Maryland Senator Ben Cardin urged financially beleaguered families to seek help at DHCD’s “Mortgage Late? Don’t Wait!” foreclosure prevention workshop at Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton.

Be Smart Contractors 1.10.12

Members of the state’s network of Local Weatherization Agencies were briefed on Maryland’s efforts to improve energy effiency in homes, apartments and small businesses throughout the state. The weatherization effort contributes to Governor O’Malley’s EmPOWER Maryland initiative, one of the most ambitious energy conservation goals in the country. He has pledged to reduce the state’s energy footprint by 15 percent by 2015.

February

AG Settlement Banner 1.9.12

The landmark settlement with the five largest mortgage lenders will bring nearly $1 billion to Maryland, including $54 million that will be used to boost foreclosure prevention programs, stabilize communities hard-hit by the crisis and expand housing-related enforcement and fraud prevention.

Affordable Housing Day 2.23

Wearing a bright yellow button that read, “Housing Creates Jobs,” Governor O’Malley joined Secretary Skinner and members of the Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition for the non-profit organization’s annual Housing Day in Annapolis.

March

Read Across MD (4) 3.27

Secretary Skinner reads “Piggies in the Kitchen” to youngsters at the Annapolis Library as part of the annual Read Across Maryland Month.

April

National Main Street Conference 4.1

Maryland hosted the National Main Streets Conference and Baltimore became the first city to host this important forum on economic development and historic preservation more than once. The towns of Centreville, Ocean City and Sykesville joined the state’s roster of Main Street Maryland communities.

Lillian Jones Groundbreaking

Long-time Baltimore activist Lillian Jones attended the groundbreaking of a $16 million affordable housing project that will bear her name, adding much-needed energy efficient affordable housing units for hardworking families.

May

MEDA Awards 4.30

Projects to revitalize historic downtown Hyattsville and to redevelop the historic Union Mills district in Baltimore were big winners at the annual conference of the Maryland Economic Development Association.

2012 Bill Signing

Governor O’Malley signed a measure establishing a statewide foreclosed property database and a measure giving homeowners facing foreclosure the option to seek early mediation, adding to the state’s growing arsenal in the fight to help beleaguered families find sustainable alternatives to losing their homes.

June

Cummings at HomeFree USA 6.2.12

Seventh District Congressman Elijah Cummings told a standing room only audience never to give up on their dream of homeownership at a forum sponsored by HomeFree USA in Prince George’s County.

MMP Announcement 5.31.12

Secretary Skinner joined Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and newly minted homeowner Sara Prammawat to announce new homeownership initiatives featuring the lowest interest rates in the history of the Maryland Mortgage Program.

July

Housing Sales Event 2 7.19.12

Governor O’Malley pointed to positive signs that Maryland’s housing market is getting healthier, including rising home sales in Baltimore and throughout the state.

MMP Veterans Announcement 7.3.12

Lt. Governor Anthony Brown joined Senator Ben Cardin and Secretary Skinner to announce special rates for veterans and military families through the Maryland Mortgage Program.

October

Gov Housing Conference 10.16.12 Partner of Year

Secretary Skinner and DHCD’s Jim McLean congratulate Trudy McFall of the Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition, winner of the 2012 Partner of the Year award during the Governor’s Housing Conference.

November

Community Legacy Baltimore 11.28

Secretary Skinner announced Community Legacy award winners at the site of Baltimore’s new school for young architecture, graphic design and fashion design students. The state awarded more than $5.5 million to support 58 projects in 19 Maryland counties and Baltimore City.

 

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