Creating Homeowners, Preserving Neighborhoods in Maryland


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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 www.mdhousing.org, 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.

AUGUST 4

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

JULY 30

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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

JULY 23

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

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

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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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