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.