Creating Homeowners, Preserving Neighborhoods in Maryland


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

JULY 18

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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Weatherization Grants to Help 1,700 Low Income Family Homes Improve Energy Efficiency

JULY 21

Crownsville, MD – Five contractors with proven experience in providing weatherization services to low income households have been awarded $3.3 million each through DHCD’s Targeted and Enhanced Weatherization program.

Awarded grants were Edge Energy; Green and Healthy Homes; Hawkeye Construction; Elysian Energy and ADP Consultants.

Funded through the Customer Investment Fund, the three-year grants will enable the contractors to assist more than 500 households a year or about 1,700 households in all. The Customer Investment Fund was established by the Maryland Public Service Commission under the merger settlement between Exelon and the Constellation Energy Group, Inc.

Weatherization is a significant part of the O’Malley-Brown administration’s EmPOWER Maryland initiative to reduce statewide energy consumption by 15 percent by 2015. Improvements such as the installation of energy conservation materials and more efficient furnaces can help reduce a household’s consumption, lower the monthly utility bills, make occupants more comfortable and may improve the air quality and overall health of the family. Continue reading


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DHCD Earns National Honors for Sustainable Communities; Baltimore and Annapolis Projects

JULY 21

Long-time community activist Lillian Jones attended the groundbreaking for the award-winning senior apartments project named in her honor.

Long-time community activist Lillian Jones attended the 2012 groundbreaking for the award-winning senior apartments project named in her honor.

Crownsville, MD – The multi-year effort to replace deteriorating public housing in Annapolis and the construction of new affordable housing for senior citizens in west Baltimore were recognized last week by the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials as examples of innovative projects that met the needs of people in the communities they serve.

NAHRO also recognized the Maryland Sustainable Communities initiative, the comprehensive community revitalization strategy that brought the state’s several programs under a single designation. To date, 55 communities have been designated “Sustainable Communities” and more than 70 have applied. The designation makes a community eligible for a comprehensive package of resources as part of a holistic strategy for community development, revitalization and sustainability.

Working with Anne Arundel County and the Annapolis Housing Authority, DHCD has built attractive, new energy efficient public housing at Annapolis Gardens, Bowman Court, Obery Court and College Creek with more projects in process. Those rebuilding efforts also include homeownership opportunities for residents through partnership with Habitat for Humanity and other groups. Continue reading


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Maryland Housing Beat: May Home Sales Hit Third Consecutive Month of Double-Digit Growth

JULY 14

Crownsville, MD – Maryland’s housing market keeps growing … and growing … and growing. That’s the news from the latest issue of Maryland Housing Beat, DHCD’s monthly profile of the state’s housing market.

Vol. 3 Issue 6 – reflecting statistical data from May – can be viewed by visiting DHCD’s website at mdhousing.org or by clicking here to download a PDF version.

According to the most recent data released by the Maryland Association of Realtors, existing home sales reached the highest volume in nine months and recorded the third consecutive month of double-digit growth. May foreclosures declined 5.2 percent below last year, registering the first year-over-year drop in 23 months.

Maryland Housing Beat is an in-depth review of housing-related data compiled by DHCD’s Office of Research and Statistical Analysis from a broad range of sources, including the National Association of Realtors and the Maryland Association of Realtors; Freddie Mac; the Mortgage Bankers Association and RealtyTrac.

Maryland Housing Beat is a monthly publication of DHCD’s Office of Communications and Marketing.


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International Festival in Prince George’s Co. Will Feature Foreclosure Prevention Workshops

Homeowners found lots of empowering information at a DHCD exhibit booth in June.

Homeowners found lots of empowering information at a DHCD exhibit booth in June.

JULY 11

Largo, MD – This weekend’s International Festival at the Boulevard at the Capital Centre won’t be all about singing and dancing, although there will be plenty of that!

In addition to name performers such as Ludacris and TLC, the program also features an Empowerment Pavilion where DHCD will host its second “Mortgage Late? Don’t Wait!” foreclosure prevention workshop of the year.

The highly regarded “Mortgage Late? Don’t Wait!” workshops connect homeowners with counselors, pro bono attorneys and lenders and are considered one of the most effective means of helping financially struggling families find sustainable alternatives to foreclosure. Few things are more empowering! Online registration has closed, but it’s still possible to register at the event. Click here for more information.

Last year, DHCD participated in 130 workshops and events, often in partnership with local elected officials, churches and civic organizations.

DHCD is holding these workshops even as the latest reports indicate that last year’s surge in foreclosures is moderating. The good news is that fewer foreclosures are entering the system. However, lenders are taking advantage of Maryland’s strengthening housing market to move forward with their most seriously delinquent loans.

But even seriously delinquent homeowners should not give up hope, which is the over-arching message of the foreclosure prevention workshops.

Maryland’s counseling-oriented approach to fighting foreclosure has enabled tens of thousands of citizens to save their homes. The state has enacted far-reaching reforms, outlawing predatory practices that helped trigger the crisis and giving embattled homeowners the time, the counseling and the pro bono legal advice to explore their options. Continue reading


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Membership in Maryland Mortgage Program’s Fast-Growing Partner Match Program Reaches 300

JULY 9

MMP_Logo_FINAL_ColorLogoForLightBG-(2)

Crownsville, MD – Three hundred local businesses and organizations have joined the Maryland Mortgage Program’s Partner Match program, the state’s fast-growing initiative to help Maryland families obtain the home of their dreams.

DHCD provides a dollar-for-dollar match of up to $2,500 to a participating partner’s financial contribution for down payment and closing cost assistance through programs such as House Keys 4 Employees, the Builder/Developer Incentive, and Community Partner Incentive. Click here to learn more.

Recognizing that homeownership plays an integral role in the economic vitality of Maryland, DHCD has formed partnerships with participating employers, builders and community organizations throughout the state – as well as with local governments – to promote homeownership and Governor O’Malley’s Smart, Green & Growing initiatives.

Down payment assistance is one of the significant features of the Maryland Mortgage Program, the state’s flagship homeownership initiative. Maryland Mortgage Program borrowers can qualify for up to $5,000 toward their down payment and closing cost expenses at a zero percent interest rate, repayable upon sale or transfer of the home or when the loan is refinanced. Any Partner Match funds are in addition to the basic $5,000 down payment assistance.

DHCD ‘s Partner Match participants include 160 partners in the House Keys 4 Employees program, 125 in the Builder Developer Incentive Program and 15 in the Community Partner Incentive Program.


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Maryland Among First to Progress on HUD’s Rental Assistance Program for Low Income Disabled Persons

JULY 7

Washington – Maryland is the first state to complete a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, setting the stage to put more than $11.2 million to work providing rental assistance to extremely low-income persons with disabilities, many of whom are transitioning out of institutional settings or are at high risk of homelessness.

The $11.2 million will provide five years of rental assistance for 150 units through HUD’s Section 811 Project Rental Assistance Demonstration Program. The program will be administered by DHCD in partnership with the Maryland Department of Disabilities and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The units will be selected by DHCD from its portfolio of affordable rental housing projects. It is anticipated that the 150 units will be split evenly between the Baltimore and Washington, DC metro areas. Prospective tenants will be referred to DHCD by the departments of disabilities and health and mental hygiene.

In addition to those units, DHCD and local Public Housing Authorities have committed to provide local preferences for up to 97 Housing Choice Vouchers as part of their support for Maryland’s efforts.

HUD has allocated approximately $98.8 million in rental assistance for 3,530 units nationwide through the program.


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Groundbreaking Marks Restoration of Senior High-Rise in Baltimore’s Iconic Bolton Hill

JULY 2

Memorial-Apartments-7.2

Baltimore – Secretary Skinner joined Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake in the city’s historic Bolton Hill community for groundbreaking ceremonies for the restoration of Memorial Apartments, preserving 266 affordable rental housing units for senior citizens.

The $54.6 million project will transform the aging high-rise into a state-of-the-art, energy-efficient building with modern apartments and a full complement of services near public transportation and just minutes from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. It will serve as a catalyst for further development in one of Baltimore’s most iconic communities.

Including the Memorial Apartments, DHCD has over 80 affordable rental housing projects throughout the state that are in various stages of construction or underwriting – a building boom of historic dimensions, Secretary Skinner said. That high level of production is made possible by the support of the governor, the lieutenant governor and the General Assembly through their funding and support of the Rental Housing Works initiative. The more than $62.2 million in Rental Housing Works appropriations over the last three years will allow DHCD to finance nearly 4,000 units of housing and preserve more than 5,500 jobs.


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New Initiative Could Significantly Increase the Purchase Power of Veterans and Military Homebuyers in MD

JULY 1

Veterans family

Crownsville, MD – DHCD is announcing a new initiative that will help make homeownership more affordable – and more accessible – to borrowers who are veterans or active-duty military members.

Under the Maryland Homefront initiative, homebuyers are eligible for a reduced interest rate on a Maryland Mortgage Program loan AND a discount on fees associated with the recently announced Maryland HomeCredit federal tax credit.

The initiative could significantly increase the purchase power of active duty military and veterans looking to buy a home in the state.

Since the original launch of Maryland Homefront in 2012, 161 veterans and military families have received more than $35.5 million in mortgage assistance at fixed rates of 3 percent to 3.5 percent.

Under the newest version of the program, which launched July 1, Maryland Homefront borrowers will receive a 0.25 % interest rate reduction on the current Maryland Mortgage Program interest rate for the program’s conventional and government-insured loans.

Veterans and military families using Maryland Homefront to purchase a home before Dec. 15, 2015 also can take advantage of 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. As part of the Homefront initiative, DHCD will waive its fee for the tax credit, providing additional savings to eligible military homebuyers. However, any fees charged by private lending institutions may still apply. The homebuyer must get the Maryland HomeCredit at the time they close on their mortgage, and refinances are not eligible.

The Maryland Mortgage Program has been the state’s flagship mortgage purchase program for more than 30 years. With benefits such as pre-purchase home buyer education and significant downpayment assistance, the Maryland Mortgage Program has helped tens of thousands of middle class families achieve their dream of homeownership.

The loans are administered by an ever-growing network of more than 60 private lending institutions across the state.  A list of participating lenders and current interest rates are available at the Maryland Mortgage Program website: http://mmp.maryland.gov

 


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Senators Mikulski and Cardin Announce More Than $1.3 million in Grants to Provide Job Training to Homeless Veterans in Maryland

WASHINGTON - Four Maryland organizations have received $1.3 million from the U.S. Department of Labor to provide job training to homeless veterans in Maryland, Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin announced.  The grants are being awarded under the department’s Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program, administered by the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service. Learn more.

The Maryland funding is part of a larger $36.7 million package that will aid 12,000 veterans nationwide, including more than $9 million that will go to new grantees.

The funding was awarded on a competitive basis to state and local workforce investment boards, local public agencies and nonprofit organizations, including faith-based and community organizations.  Grantees have proven that they can effectively provide homeless veterans with the requisite skills to find employment.  Grantees will also assist veterans with career counseling, life skills, money management, and housing placement.

 

PY14 (OPTION YEAR 1) GRANTEES

Easter Seals Greater Washington-Baltimore Region $299,940
Maryland Center For Vets Education & Training Inc. $300,000

 PY14 (OPTION YEAR 2)  GRANTEES

Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation $134,487
Way Station Inc. $300,000

PY 14 Homeless Female Veterans and Veterans w/ Families Grantees

Easter Seals Greater Washington-Baltimore Region $300,000

 

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