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DHCD Staff Complete Hundreds of Volunteer Hours for Habitat for Humanity

In 2016, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development staff responded to Governor Larry Hogan’s call to serve by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake. Some of the participants worked in Habitat ReStores that generate income from the sale of recycled building materials and furnishings to support Habitat’s affordable housing programs.

Others worked in teams to assist in builds in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood of west Baltimore and on McCabe Avenue, north of the Johns Hopkins Homewood campus. Staff framed walls and parged basements on 611 & 740 McCabe Ave., helped with finish trim work at 729 McCabe Ave., and continued the brick work at 1522 Presstman St. By the time the final build was completed in December, 36 staff had logged more than 200 volunteer hours.
By volunteering for Habitat organizations, DHCD employees help a grassroots housing developer while supporting the agency’s mission to provide affordable housing and build stronger communities. The department looks forward to continuing the partnership with Habitat for Humanity in 2017.

A New Canvas for Baltimore: Roberta’s House Offers Healing for the Grieving

Since its inception, the projects and programs that have sought Project C.O.R.E. funding have been diverse, both in scope and type of project. On December 9, Governor Larry Hogan, in partnership with the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, announced that nearly $16 million would be awarded to 30 different projects through FY17 funding.

One such recipient is Roberta’s House, a grief support center for the family of Baltimore residents who have been the victims of violent crimes. The department awarded Roberta’s House $500,000 for the acquisition and demolition of 14 properties located in the 900 block of E. North Avenue, four of which are vacant and 10 of which are severely blighted. Once those properties have been demolished, the organization will develop an approximately 18,000 square foot new construction building on the site of the former March Family Funeral home.

The new location is advantageous for a few reasons. It’s located in close proximity to significant city landmarks, including the National Great Blacks In Wax Museum and MICA, and is near communities that are currently being targeted by department revitalization efforts like Oliver, Barclay and the Station North Arts and Entertainment district. It is also located along a major thoroughfare in the City, North Avenue, US Route 1. Despite the block’s current state of disrepair, new construction here maintain’s the goal of Project: C.O.R.E.’s demolition phase.

When it’s finished, the new building will more than double the amount of space available for Roberta’s House to provide services to the families of homicide and violence victims. From their current location on St. Paul Street, the existing grief support center allows the organization to serve 500 children, families, and adults annually; the construction of the new facility will allow them to triple the amount of families that they are able to serve. They will be able to expand their current programs and provide comprehensive mental health services along with necessary grief support.
“A New Canvas for Baltimore” is a regular series covering Project C.O.R.E. (Creating Opportunities for Renewal and Enterprise). Project C.O.R.E. will clear the way for new green space, new affordable and mixed use housing, and new opportunities for small business owners in Baltimore City. The initiative will generate jobs, strengthen the partnership between the City of Baltimore and the State of Maryland and lead to safer, healthier and more attractive communities. For more information on Project C.O.R.E., visit

Governor Larry Hogan Announces Project C.O.R.E. Awardees in Baltimore City

Governor Larry Hogan Announces Project C.O.R.E. Awardees in Baltimore City

State initiative provides $16 million to 30 projects

BALTIMORE, Md. (December 9, 2016) – Governor Larry Hogan today announced awardees for demolition funds through Project C.O.R.E., or Creating Opportunities for Renewal and Enterprise, a multi-year city-state partnership to demolish vacant and derelict buildings in Baltimore and replace them with green space or create the foundation for redevelopment in Baltimore City. The governor was joined by Baltimore City Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Secretary Kenneth C. Holt, as well as Baltimore City officials and community stakeholders at the demolition site in West Baltimore. The demolition site, which is the former Madison Park North apartments, is the first of more than 200 units that will be demolished as part of this project. It will serve as the future site of an Innovation Center in West Baltimore – a hub for the city’s first designated “innovation district.”

“This city-state partnership will bring much-needed investment, services, housing, and jobs to Baltimore,” said Governor Hogan. “By working with local community organizations, as well as the private sector, transformative projects like this will help ensure that Baltimore’s future is better and brighter than its present or its past.”

Under the terms of Project C.O.R.E, the state will invest $75 million supported by an $18.5 million investment from Baltimore City over the next four years. Today’s awards represent the latest phase of ongoing Project C.O.R.E. activity, which began this summer with the demolition of targeted groups of properties managed by the Maryland Stadium Authority and the city. During this time, DHCD was engaged in extensive outreach to local community organizations to assess their redevelopment needs prior to the application process for Fiscal Year 2017 Strategic Demolition Funds. The department received applications from 36 different Baltimore City agencies and nonprofit community development organizations for 77 projects. After careful deliberation, the department awarded nearly $16 million to 30 projects. These awards will serve as the catalyst for an additional $285 million investment from public, private, and nonprofit development partners.

“Project C.O.R.E. is an excellent example of what I mean by seeing challenges as opportunities for innovation,” said Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh. “I am committed to building from strength in every zipcode and it’s an honor to join Governor Hogan to begin this process with today’s award recipients. Revitalization and broad urban development must be thoughtful, insightful, and well executed. As we move West Baltimore and our City forward, I am eager to build on the synergy that exists among our state, city and community partners.”

“Thanks to our direct outreach to community organizations, the response to this application process was overwhelmingly positive,” said Secretary Holt. “The funds requested far exceeded the amount available for 2017, and in fact, the total amount allocated for demolition over the life of the initiative. This is a strong indication of the importance and potential of Project C.O.R.E. to the city.”

The awards were announced at the site of a planned Innovation Center, sponsored by the Mount Royal Community Development Corporation. The Innovation Center will be the main anchor in a new, mixed-use development gateway and town center situated on a contiguous quarter mile in the 700-900 blocks of West North Avenue. The center is part of the larger Innovation Village initiative, which calls for the creation and development of the city’s first “innovation district” by transforming 6.8 square miles of West Central Baltimore into a smart city with free WiFi and access to jobs and opportunities. This innovation district will stretch from Coppin State University to the Maryland Institute College of Art, and north from Mondawmin Mall to Martin Luther King Boulevard.

After the demolition phase, Project C.O.R.E. will be supported by more than $600 million in financing opportunities through DHCD programs. Guided by the needs of each community, the state’s investment in housing and small businesses will attract families and support economic growth in Baltimore’s neighborhoods.

For more information about Project C.O.R.E., including maps and applicable state programs, visit:

Fiscal Year 2017 Project C.O.R.E. Awards

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CONTACT: Sara Luell, Director of Communications,, 301-429-7803

Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Celebrates Designation of Over 100 Sustainable Communities

Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Celebrates Designation of Over 100 Sustainable Communities

With the recent designation of eight new Sustainable Communities, the program has reached a milestone — there are now over 100 Sustainable Communities across the state. Since 2010, the Sustainable Communities program, overseen by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, has provided local governments with a framework for promoting environmentally, economically and socially responsible growth and development in Maryland’s existing population centers.

But the program is about more than a label and a broad set of ideals. The Sustainable Communities program is based on a proven history of targeting investments in places with a detailed revitalization plan, specific geographies for investment, and stakeholders within the community who are committed to implementing the plan. As part of the program, local officials evaluate their own community’s strengths and weaknesses, identify implementation partners, and strive for tangible goals for the long-term vitality of the places many Marylanders live and work.

To help local governments achieve their goals, Sustainable Communities have access to various funding programs from a number of state agencies. These programs are aimed to promote the wellbeing of both residents and businesses through grants, loans and tax credits.

To date, the program has designated 103 Sustainable Communities. These communities comprise 102 municipalities and 60 unincorporated areas, since some Sustainable Communities contain more than one locality. While only 3.6 percent of Maryland’s landmass is located within designated Sustainable Communities, the department estimates these areas are home to 40 percent of Maryland’s small businesses. Over 80 percent of the cities and towns designated by the program have been incorporated for at least 100 years, and more than half of all Sustainable Communities contain a nationally designated historic district.

In November 2016, eight communities received the Sustainable Communities designation:


Town of Cecilton (Cecil County)

As Cecil County’s largest crossroads south of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, Cecilton is a charming town with extensive green infrastructure and a successful new Town Activities Center. Environmental sustainability has been a major priority for the town, which recently completed a subwatershed study funded by the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program and a Maryland Energy Administration-sponsored energy audit. Among its assets are the Town Park and bike lanes, the expansion of which Cecilton hopes can serve its goal of becoming an even greater regional destination for recreation. In addition to upgrades and repairs that make the park more multifunctional, the town will also pursue efforts to improve drainage ditch maintenance due to excess agricultural runoff and to expand its housing stock, especially for seniors. Pedestrian safety has been a challenge, so Cecilton intends to seek Safe Routes to School funding and respond to the heavy truck traffic detouring from Delaware’s stretch of U.S. Route 1. The town also aims to attract commercial opportunities to provide retail services and jobs for its residents, many of whom currently travel to nearby Elkton or across the state line to Middletown, Delaware, for their daily needs.

Town of Cheverly (Prince George’s County)

Just a couple of miles away from the Washington, D.C., border, the Town of Cheverly is a diverse community with convenient access to the District and other parts of Maryland via the WMATA Metrorail Orange Line, the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, U.S. 50 and Maryland 202. These routes surround a cohesive and affordable residential community with rising property values and a healthy commercial and industrial base with low vacancy rates. Several park areas, streams and vegetative buffers define the town, which also has an extensive tree canopy. Cheverly’s revitalization priorities include reducing impervious surfaces to enhance the quality of stormwater runoff and implementing environmental site design in new construction and redevelopment projects. There will also be efforts to boost the already strong retail market by making aesthetic improvements to the town’s outdated commercial areas and expanding its shopping and dining offerings, such as a centrally-located coffeeshop. Upgrades are needed for Cheverly’s transit facilities, including its Metro station which currently has the system’s lowest daytime ridership. Rounding out the town’s plans are new community gathering spaces and events, as well as enhancements to bike and pedestrian connectivity inside Cheverly and with nearby trail networks.

Long Reach Village (Howard County)

One of the earlier villages to emerge from Columbia’s innovative mid-century master plan, Long Reach comprises a commercially-oriented village center and four residential neighborhoods. The village center area, which will be the primary target of Howard County’s redevelopment efforts, includes retail space as well as the Columbia Association’s Art Center and Stonehouse community center. Popular nearby recreational amenities, such as Blandair Park, Jackson Pond and a future indoor tennis facility, are complements to Long Reach’s trail network, community gardens, and the high school’s top-ranked environmental program. Revitalization strategies will promote new uses for the blighted village center, which is now largely county-owned, currently without an anchor store, and facing nearly 70 percent vacancy as recently as 2014. The county also plans to reduce impervious surfaces, employ better energy practices, improve its transit, bike and pedestrian networks, and develop more active public spaces. Homeowners in Long Reach would have access to programs for rehabilitation of older properties, and the county plans to investigate ways for the village to offer new housing units in response to the area’s high demand.

Town of Mardela Springs (Wicomico County)

The small town of Mardela Springs can be found along Barren Creek, a tributary of the Nanticoke River, providing it with navigable water access and plentiful acreage for recreation. Mardela Springs is also a haven for small businesses, such as the nation’s largest indoor coral farm, and a central component of the Lower Eastern Shore Heritage Area, boasting the County’s Westside Historical Society and the Barren Creek Heritage Museum. The town recently submitted a Waterway Improvement Grant application to improve its boat ramp facility, which could expand to include a kayak launch by way of other funding mechanisms now available through Sustainable Communities. Mardela Springs will also look to revamp its streetscape by developing more sidewalks and ensuring its existing pedestrian network is ADA compliant. Drainage improvements will help overcome stormwater issues brought by curb and gutter deterioration, and new and improved commercial development will expand the tax base for the historic creekside town. Home repairs on the town’s abandoned and condemned properties would supplement Mardela Springs’ already affordable housing opportunities.

Town of New Market (Frederick County)

For more than 200 years, New Market has stood watch over one of the state’s most important corridors, connecting Baltimore with Frederick and points west. The town’s history can be seen in the storefronts of its historic Main Street corridor, the heart and soul of New Market and the focal point of many of its future plans. The roadway is currently undergoing major repair work, allowing for a fresh start to streetscaping in front of the town’s businesses. The town hopes to invigorate the business climate along Main Street by helping property owners renovate their downtown commercial spaces and storefronts to allow for new businesses to set up shop. To help these businesses thrive, New Market plans to better connect the Main Street with the rest of the town by refurbishing alleys, filling in sidewalk gaps, and creating a bike and pedestrian network map for the area. Furthermore, New Market wants to add to its park assets by creating a space downtown large enough for concerts, festivals, and other community events, including the celebration of its 225th anniversary, or quasquibicentennial, in 2017. The park, in addition to a new Town Hall set to open in the next few years, will help solidify New Market’s identity.

Town of Sharpsburg (Washington County)

On September 17, 1862, the farms and valleys surrounding Sharpsburg became one of the bloodiest battlefields in American history. While the fog of war has lifted since the Battle of Antietam that rattled this town more than 150 years ago, the past plays an especially strong role in the future of this small Washington County town. The historic downtown features several small businesses, including bed and breakfasts and a popular ice cream parlor. Sharpsburg hopes to draw in more bicycle tourism by connecting to the nearby C&O Canal and wants to help businesses by adding more off-street parking. But most of the town’s goals are focused on those who live in the community. These goals include attracting a few more businesses to serve Sharpsburg’s residents and creating a loan/grant program for homeowners to renovate their homes. They also want to consider the development of a community center, which can provide services for kids and adults alike, as well as a ridesharing program that can make it easier for town residents to get to nearby commercial centers like Hagerstown or to job centers in the Washington, D.C., region.

Town of Vienna (Dorchester County)

With a population of just 271, Vienna is the smallest municipality to be designated a Sustainable Community. But the town’s small size does not stop it from having big plans for revitalization. The town was founded in 1706 on the shores of the Nanticoke River, one of the wide streams that enters the Chesapeake Bay from the Eastern Shore. Once bisected by U.S. Highway 50, the road bypassed the town in the 1990s, saving the downtown from traffic but limiting commercial opportunities. Vienna is fortunate enough to own most of the town’s shoreline along the Nanticoke, property which is being developed into a park known as Emperor’s Landing. The park will help bring in visitors not just by car off of Ocean Gateway, but also by water through a new kayak ramp. Vienna wants to expand their retail portfolio by attracting a few small stores to the town in order to allow locals to shop without heading to other communities and create new jobs for residents. Other goals in the coming years for the town include expanding transit access to Salisbury and Cambridge, repairing sidewalks to provide safer routes to school, and starting a facade improvement program for local homeowners and businesses.

Town of Williamsport (Washington County)

When Otho Holland Williams settled a town at the site where the Conococheague Creek enters the Potomac River in 1787, he had a grand vision for his future community. Williamsport, as the town would become known, was one of the candidates to be the capital of the United States. The town did not end up becoming a seat of government, but its location along the C&O Canal, now a National Park, helped it to flourish throughout the 19th century. Williamsport plans to undertake streetscape and facade improvements in its historic downtown to make it a welcoming destination for new businesses, as well as add parking to make these shops more easily accessible. The beautification would include trees, bicycle racks, and street furniture such as benches. The town also plans to rehabilitate aging housing stock and add a community center to provide activities for the fast-growing population of the area.

Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Partners With Wicomico County for New Homeownership Initiative

Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Partners With Wicomico County for New Homeownership Initiative

Maryland NewBuild will provide incentives to purchase newly-constructed homes in the county

NEW CARROLLTON, Md. (December 1, 2016) – The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development has partnered with Wicomico County to launch a new homeownership initiative through the Maryland Mortgage program.  Maryland NewBuild will provide incentives to homebuyers purchasing newly constructed homes in the county, including reduced interest rates on Maryland Mortgage loans.  The initiative will be available to Wicomico County homebuyers for one year, running until December 1, 2017.

“We are proud to partner with Wicomico County to support and encourage homeownership through Maryland NewBuild,” said Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth C. Holt.  “The combination of incentives and the stability of a mortgage backed by the State of Maryland makes this an ideal time for potential homebuyers in the county to explore their purchasing options through this initiative.”

Through Maryland NewBuild, Wicomico County homebuyers purchasing newly constructed homes in designated Priority Funding Areas can receive:

  • A 0.25% interest rate reduction on a fixed-rate Maryland Mortgage loan;
  • $5,000 in downpayment assistance through a 0% deferred loan;
  • Mortgage Credit Certificates and tax credit savings through the Maryland Homecredit Program, and;
  • A waiver from Wicomico County for the impact fees associated with the newly-constructed single family homes.

The complete package of incentives is intended to keep the price of the homes low, generate cash resources for homebuyers at closing, and provide increased purchasing ability for participating homebuyers through mortgage loan cost savings.

“We are pleased to be a part of such a meaningful opportunity for our citizens to become homeowners and partnering with Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development” said Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver.

Potential homebuyers are subject to household income limits and must meet standard qualifications under the Maryland Mortgage program, including completion of homebuyer education.  Created over 30 years ago, the Maryland Mortgage program is the state’s flagship homeownership assistance program, providing fixed-rate mortgages, primarily to first-time homebuyers, along with other down payment and closing cost incentives.  For more information, visit

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CONTACT: Sara Luell, Director of Communications,, 301-429-7803

Strategic Demolition Fund and Community Legacy Awards Will Benefit Communities Across the State

Strategic Demolition Fund and Community Legacy Awards Will Benefit Communities Across the State

Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Announces FY17 Grant Awards

NEW CARROLLTON, Md. (November 30, 2016) – Today, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development announced the fiscal year 2017 statewide awardees of two of its neighborhood revitalization grant programs, the Strategic Demolition Fund and Community Legacy. The department will award $3.2 million in Strategic Demolition Fund awards for 15 projects in 12 counties and $3.47 million in Community Legacy awards for 49 projects in 18 counties. These totals do not include projects in Baltimore City, which were announced earlier this fall.

The City of Frostburg was awarded a $50,000 Community Legacy grant for rehabilitation work on the interior and exterior of the historic Hotel Gunter.

The City of Frostburg was awarded a $50,000 Community Legacy grant for rehabilitation work on the interior and exterior of the historic Hotel Gunter.

“The Community Legacy and Strategic Demolition Fund programs are two of the department’s most powerful programs for building healthier neighborhoods in Maryland,” said Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “Whether it’s improving the facades on Maryland main streets, preserving historic buildings or removing blight, these projects will enhance neighborhoods across the state.”

The Community Legacy program provides local governments and community development organizations with essential funding and gap financing for important projects that will strengthen local communities, supporting housing and homeownership goals and attracting and retaining businesses. Projects include improving commercial facades, greening and streetscaping activities, renovating historic buildings for conversion into service or community centers, and rehabilitating blighted properties in downtown areas. It is one of Maryland’s most effective programs for promoting neighborhood revitalization, affordable housing, tourism, and economic growth.

The Strategic Demolition Fund catalyzes activities that accelerate economic development and job production in existing Maryland communities communities by clearing the way for redevelopment and revitalization. Awarded activities include those projects that can have a high economic and revitalization impact in their existing communities.

Grants for strategic demolition and other eligible activities in Baltimore City are administered by the department through Project C.O.R.E. (Creating Opportunities for Renewal and Enterprise). Project C.O.R.E. awards will be announced before the end of the year. For more information on Project C.O.R.E., visit

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CONTACT: Sara Luell, Director of Communications,, 301-429-7803

Mortgage Late? Don’t Wait! Workshop Coming to Eastern Shore For the First Time Ever

NEW CARROLLTON, Md. (November 29, 2016) – To serve residents of the Eastern Shore, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development will bring its Mortgage Late? Don’t Wait! workshop to the Eastern Shore town of Cambridge for the first time in the program’s history this December.

When the housing crisis began in 2007, the Eastern Shore was not as affected by the high foreclosure rates seen across other parts of the state. However, between 2008 and 2011, before the moratorium on foreclosures was enacted, foreclosure rates on the Eastern Shore spiked by 66.5 percent, from 2,062 foreclosure events in 2008 to 3,433 prior to the moratorium. After the moratorium was lifted, the numbers spiked again: there were 4,091 foreclosure events in the region in 2013 and 4,755 in 2014. Foreclosure events include notices of default, notices of sale and lender purchases.

While the foreclosure rates are declining, both on the Eastern Shore and statewide, many are still in need of assistance. According to RealtyTrac, in October Caroline County saw 1 in every 562 homes go into foreclosure, compared to the statewide average of 1 in every 675 homes. To date this year, there have been 2,545 foreclosure events in the region.

The agency first offered the clinics in 2008, not long after the housing crisis began. According to the department’s Director of Community Outreach Kelly Vaughn, the program has grown to be viewed as a valuable resource for those seeking solutions. The event is unique in its one-stop shop setup, offering attendees the chance to meet with loan servicers, pro-bono attorneys and housing counselors all in one day.

“We want to offer homeowners on the Eastern Shore the same resources that we’ve provided Baltimore, Prince George’s and Charles County this year, by way of various options and resources to preserve their homes because home preservation helps stabilize and revitalize communities to build a stronger economy statewide,” Vaughn said. “We want residents to know they have options. They don’t have to go through this alone. We want to help.”

The free event will be held December 10 at the Dorchester Career and Technology Center. For more information, visit To register, visit

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CONTACT: Sara Luell, Director of Communications,, 301-429-7803

Giving Back and Supporting Maryland’s Local Nonprofits

Maryland’s nonprofits are gearing up for #GivingTuesday. Now in its sixth year, Giving Tuesday is celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. This year, November 29 will kick off the charitable season, when many begin to focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.

Following on Governor Larry Hogan’s commitment to encourage Marylanders to give back to their communities, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development created GIVEMaryland.

The GIVEMaryland website is linked to the department’s Community Investment Tax Credit program, which awards state income tax credits to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and issues those tax credits to project donors. Individuals and businesses who donate $500 or more to a qualified organization’s approved project can earn state tax credits equal to 50 percent of the value of the contribution, in addition to regular federal and state charitable deductions.

There are over 100 eligible projects on the site to donate to, from programs aimed at supporting youth, to providing health care for those in need to expanding centers for the arts. For the most recent projects awarded, see: FY2017 Community Investment Tax Credit Awards.

“GIVEMaryland makes charitable giving easier and strengthens our efforts to revitalize Maryland neighborhoods,” said Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “By making a contribution, donors can reduce their state tax liability while making an impact in their own communities. It’s a win-win situation.”

GIVEMaryland gives individuals and businesses the opportunity to help donors tailor their contributions based on their interests and to search for and donate online to nonprofits that have available tax credits and are working in their own communities.

This November 29, join the movement and GIVEMaryland.

A New Canvas for Baltimore: Food Hub Will Bring Healthy Eats to East Baltimore

In September, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development joined with partners from the private and public sectors for a groundbreaking for the Baltimore Food Hub. Developed by American Communities Trust, the Baltimore Food Hub has the potential to help revitalize Baltimore’s Broadway East neighborhood and provide new opportunities for its residents.

The future Baltimore Food Hub sits on the former site of the Baltimore City Water Works Pumping and Repair Station, at the corner of East Oliver and North Wolfe streets. Once completed, the 3.5 acre multi-building campus will feature a 3,300-square foot farm; an 8,000-square foot commercial kitchen; two flexible-use buildings for manufacturing, storage or preparation; and an office space for food-related businesses. City Seeds, a social enterprise of Baltimore-based nonprofit Humanim, will run the teaching and commercial production kitchens for their catering business and School of Food.

The Food Hub  has a transformative potential for a disinvested area of Baltimore. The complex will create new jobs, offer educational opportunities to East Broadway residents, foster microenterprise and rehabilitate the historic properties located onsite. Students will be able to visit the site to learn more about urban agriculture and about their food and where it comes from. There will also be a market that operates year-round on the premises. Much of the site will be open to the public, providing valuable learning opportunities and a new source for fresh, local and healthy food for the residents of Baltimore and beyond.

The state has provided $2.7 million for the Food Hub through the department’s neighborhood revitalization and small business lending programs, combined with direct assistance allocated through the governor’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget.

Federal partners include the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Nonprofit and private partners include Humanim, Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition, the New Broadway East Community Association, J.S. Plank & D.M. DiCarlo Family Foundation, Abell Foundation, France-Merrick Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Johns Hopkins University, Goldseker Foundation, The Reinvestment Fund, Ziger Snead, STV, Kaliber Construction, and Ballard Spahr.

“A New Canvas for Baltimore” is a regular series covering Project C.O.R.E. (Creating Opportunities for Renewal and Enterprise). Project C.O.R.E. will clear the way for new green space, new affordable and mixed use housing, and new opportunities for small business owners in Baltimore City. The initiative will generate jobs, strengthen the partnership between the City of Baltimore and the State of Maryland and lead to safer, healthier and more attractive communities. For more information on Project C.O.R.E., visit

Hogan Administration Announces First SmartBuy Purchase

Hogan Administration Announces First SmartBuy Purchase
Program will Ease Student Loan Debt, Promote Homeownership

ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Hogan Administration today announced the first home purchase under a new homeownership initiative designed to ease the burden of student debt. Maryland SmartBuy, within the Department of Housing and Community Development, is the first program of its kind in the nation and will make move-in-ready homes available to buyers while eliminating student loan debt burden, which is often a significant barrier to homeownership for younger homebuyers.

Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth Holt, Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford, new homeowner Ms. Jasmine Townsel and her fiancé, Brian, celebrate the first purchase under the Maryland SmartBuy program.

Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth Holt, Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford, new homeowner Ms. Jasmine Townsel and her fiancé, Brian Hawkins, celebrate the first purchase under the Maryland SmartBuy program.

Maryland SmartBuy is the latest initiative in the Hogan administration’s ongoing commitment to help qualified buyers move out from under student debt and into homeownership. The event was attended by Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford and Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth C. Holt.

“With the launch of SmartBuy, Maryland is among the first in the nation to actively address student debt as an obstacle to homeownership,” said Lt. Governor Rutherford. “We recognize that first-time homebuyers play a pivotal role in the health of the housing market, which is critical to the strength of Maryland’s overall economy.”

This law, which was introduced by the Hogan Administration in the 2016 Legislative Session, authorizes the department to make direct payments on student loans in conjunction with other financial assistance or residential mortgage loans offered under the Maryland Mortgage Program, beginning with the Maryland SmartBuy initiative.

Under the initiative, eligible buyers with student debt can purchase move-in-ready properties made available through the department. The typical buyer can realize substantial savings on quality homes throughout Maryland. Specifically, Maryland SmartBuy will:

  • Eliminate the buyer’s student loan debt;
  • Provide the buyer with one convenient payment per month;
  • Enable the buyer to access attractive financing and closing cost assistance;
  • Ensure a safe, streamlined, and straightforward home buying and financing experience.

“With Maryland SmartBuy, our state is at the forefront of removing the obstacle of student debt to successful homeownership,” said Department Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “We want to empower young people to establish roots in Maryland and help strengthen our state as they enjoy the financial security of homeownership.”

The initiative will create an innovative home buying model that could be adopted by the rest of the nation. Mortgage loans will be provided through the department’s Maryland Mortgage Program, which has been the state’s flagship homeownership assistance program for over 30 years. Traditionally, the program provides fixed-rate mortgages, primarily to first-time homebuyers, along with other down payment and closing cost incentives.

For more information about the Maryland SmartBuy initiative, visit

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CONTACT: Sara Luell, Director of Communications,, 301-458-1995 (cell), 301-429-7803 (office)

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