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Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Announces Awards for Affordable Rental Housing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development

Announces Awards for Affordable Rental Housing

20 projects across the state will create or preserve approximately 1,500 units

New Carrollton, Md. (March 21, 2017) – The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development has announced the results from the most recent competitive application round for federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits and state Rental Housing Funds for affordable multifamily rental housing projects across Maryland. The department selected 20 projects to receive awards for the new construction and rehabilitation of approximately 1,500 rental units, including 224 units to be specifically set aside for individuals with disabilities. The department’s awards allocation for this competitive round is the largest in its history and will support projects in every region of the state, enhancing Maryland’s total affordable housing stock and continuing the high level of production established under the leadership of Governor Larry Hogan.

“The department’s affordable housing production has steadily increased each year during Governor Hogan’s administration, and this competitive application round continues that upward trajectory, marking an impressive and unprecedented level of investment,” said department Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “Thanks to recent revisions made to the application guidelines with the input of our great development partners, the awards for this round are also among the most geographically diverse allocations in program history.”

Awards are determined through competitive application rounds held periodically by the department. For this latest competitive round, the department received 41 applications for projects in 15 counties and Baltimore City.  The 20 projects selected will receive nearly $20 million in Rental Housing Funds and nearly $28 million in federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits. These awards are the largest total amount awarded in a single competitive application round.

The department’s Rental Housing Funds include a number of programs for rehabilitation or creation of rental housing which are designed to be compatible with tax-exempt or taxable bond financing, low-income housing tax credits, and other private or public funds. The federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program was created to encourage the private sector to invest in the construction and rehabilitation of housing for low- and moderate-income families. States receive an annual tax credit allocation based on population.

For a list of awardees, visit Affordable Rental Housing Awardees March 2017.

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CONTACT: Sara Luell, Director of Communications, sara.luell@maryland.gov, 301-429-7803

 



Governor Larry Hogan Proclaims March 20 “Keep Maryland Beautiful Day”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Governor Larry Hogan Proclaims March 20 “Keep Maryland Beautiful Day”

State becomes Keep America Beautiful affiliate, joins Great American Cleanup

Baltimore, Md. (March 20, 2017) – Governor Larry Hogan today proclaimed March 20th “Keep Maryland Beautiful Day,” supporting Maryland’s new affiliation with Keep America Beautiful, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to volunteer-based community improvement and beautification. The governor’s proclamation creates the Keep Maryland Beautiful program, which will be a cooperative multi-agency partnership to reduce litter and change Maryland for the better.

“From Western Maryland to the Eastern Shore, Marylanders know we are lucky to live in the most beautiful state in the nation,” said Governor Hogan. “Today, on Keep Maryland Beautiful Day, we launch our affiliation with Keep America Beautiful to support clean and green improvements and ensure Maryland remains beautiful for generations to come.”

As a Keep America Beautiful state affiliate, Maryland will focus on neighborhood beautification statewide through increasing urban greening, citizen stewardship, community education, and litter removal activities. The program will also promote local workforce development through volunteer recruitment and jobs skills training.

One of the first Keep Maryland Beautiful activities is Clean Up & Green Up Maryland. This initiative will help local communities establish volunteer Clean Up & Green Up teams. The Hogan administration will celebrate this program at a community open space in the Waverly neighborhood of Baltimore City. Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Deputy Secretary Tony Reed will join with local Clean Up & Green Up Waverly volunteers to plant shrubs and enhance storm water management systems.

Clean Up & Green Up Maryland will also include a grant program, funded by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and administered by the Maryland Environmental Trust, to provide fiscal support for litter removal projects across Maryland. For more information on the grant program, visit http://dnr.maryland.gov/met/Pages/grant_programs.aspx.

“Everyone wants clean, vibrant communities to call home, and Keep Maryland Beautiful will help revitalize neighborhoods across Maryland,” said Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “Our agency is proud to provide grant assistance through Clean Up & Green Up Maryland to support local initiatives and volunteerism.”

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CONTACT: Sara Luell, Director of Communications, sara.luell@maryland.gov, 301-429-7803



Franklin Street Façade Improvements Strengthen Community

On the west side of Baltimore’s downtown, Franklin Street serves as a major thoroughfare, carrying traffic from the heart of the city to its western neighborhoods. For over a century, the Mutual Benefit Society Building, now occupied by Legal Services Associates, Inc., has been a major part of this significant corridor. Thanks to the state of Maryland, the Neighborhood Design Center, ArchPlan Inc. Philipsen Architects and the Living Classrooms Foundation, a Baltimore-based job training initiative, this historic gem received a facelift that will benefit both the business inside and the surrounding corridor.

This project is part of the Maryland Business Recovery Storefront Improvement Program, which is funded by Governor Larry Hogan and his approval of a $650,000 allocation from the Rainy Day Fund. The program assists businesses in updating their facades to improve the small business climate as well as the overall aesthetics of Baltimore City by engaging local architects through the Neighborhood Design Center, Baltimore Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and Baltimore Heritage.

Based on design guidance provided by ArchPlan Inc. Philipsen Architects, the building at 407 W. Franklin received a top-to-bottom facelift on its façade, with the crew of workers from Living Classrooms scraping off the old flaky paint that covered the building. This work revealed missing mortar that had to be filled in between the bricks. Repairs were also made to the cornices above the windows and some of the other unique architectural features of the building. The entire exterior was then sealed and painted twice.

“We’re getting compliments on the façade as well as the work that was done along the side of the building,” remarked Prenterald C. Price, who owns the building and founded Legal Services Associates, Inc. He has referred the program to some of the other businesses in his neighborhood. “The program is great, and I hope it serves as much of the downtown community as possible.”

The Storefront Improvement Program is about more than beautifying Baltimore’s historic buildings. The program includes an emphasis on workforce development, using nonprofit contractors that hire from within the community. The work on 407 W. Franklin was undertaken by Living Classroom’s Project SERVE, an initiative focused on training Baltimore’s disadvantaged and formerly incarcerated young adults on the various skills and crafts required in the construction industry, aiming to prepare the program’s participants to get permanent jobs.

John Daniello, the construction manager on the project for Living Classrooms, said that this experience was beneficial to those involved in the project. From mortar repairs to safely removing flaking paint, he said the project “helped to train some folks in skills they never had before.” The work on the scaffolding outside the three-story building meant that some workers had to confront their fear of heights, but that it was valuable for the Project SERVE participants to “be able to work a job that is a little bit out of their comfort zone.” Daniello also noted that everyone on the crew appreciated that their work had historical significance, helping bring the building back to its original splendor.



A New Canvas for Baltimore: Old Hospital Gets New Life

One of the most historic buildings in Baltimore City, the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, was once known for the care provided within its walls. With Project C.O.R.E. funding, this West Baltimore landmark will again serve as a place of healing for city residents.

Photo courtesy of Preservation Maryland

The Coppin Heights Community Development Corporation received $175,000 during the first round of Project C.O.R.E. funding to assist in completing its rehabilitation. When finished, the building will be the home to the Center for Health Care and Healthy Living, a full-service medical facility, without compromising its integrity as a historical site. The center will include pediatric care, pediatric dentistry, women’s health care and a pharmacy, all operated by the Baltimore City Health Department. The $12 million project received prior funding from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development in the form of $350,000 in Strategic Demolition funds for preparation of the construction, awarded in 2014. The building was formerly owned by Coppin State University, which sold it to the CHCDC in 2014. It has sat vacant since 1989.

The building falls within the bounds of a Health Enterprise Zone as designated by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, meaning it exists in an area where the state has identified a critical need for reducing health care disparities for residents. Currently, options for health care in this area of the city are very limited. To reopen under its new purpose means improved access to vital care for the people of Baltimore City.

After the Hebrew Orphan Asylum moved locations in 1923, it became the home of West Baltimore General Hospital from 1923-1945, followed by the Lutheran Hospital of Maryland from 1945-1989. Renovating this facility to provide optimal health care for city residents keeps with the building’s history. The building was also listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 2010. As the city’s revitalization continues, preserving this important piece of living history will help foster a healthier Baltimore.

 
“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 http://dhcd.maryland.gov/ProjectCORE/.



Maryland SmartBuy Featured on NBC Nightly News

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s homebuying initiative, Maryland SmartBuy, was profiled on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt on February 26. SmartBuy allows qualified borrowers with student debt to purchase a selected home made available through the department. The buyer receives relief of student loan debt up to 15 percent of the total cost of the home, and also gets to take advantage of the Maryland Mortgage Program’s competitive fixed interest rates, along with additional down payment and closing cost assistance. Watch the video here: http://nbcnews.to/2lOg0G1.



Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Releases Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Report

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development has released its Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Report. During Fiscal Year 2016, the department was responsible for more than $3 billion in economic impact and the creation of over 19,000 jobs throughout Maryland while generating nearly $80 million in state and local tax revenue. Each dollar of state funds supporting the department’s homeownership, rental housing, energy efficiency, small business lending, infrastructure, and neighborhood revitalization programs created more than $22 of impact. View the full report at: http://dhcd.maryland.gov/Documents/DHCD_AR_FY2016.pdf

DHCD FY2016 Annual Report Cover

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Report



A New Canvas for Baltimore: Social Clubs Hold Keys to City’s Past and Future

February is Black History Month, and Baltimore’s past is rich in contributions from the black community. As time has passed, some buildings that harbor important parts of Baltimore’s black culture and history have fallen into disrepair and disuse. With a recent award from the state, two of these properties will soon be restored to their former glory.

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development awarded $325,000 in Project C.O.R.E. funding to the Druid Heights Community Development Corporation, a West Baltimore-based nonprofit organization, for building repairs to the Arch Social Club and Sphinx Club. Both properties, located along Pennsylvania Avenue, represent important parts of the history of the city’s black population. The establishments date back to when the city was still heavily segregated, and serve as reminders of how far Baltimore’s black community has come.

While the Arch Social Club is still in use, the Sphinx Club has been closed since 1992. In its heyday, the Sphinx Club, established in 1946, was a members-only venue that attracted well-known black entertainers like Sam Cooke and Redd Foxx for performances. The club sat on a strip known as The Avenue, a length of Pennsylvania Avenue famous for its nightlife that catered to the city’s black population. When renovations are complete, the club will help bring stability to an area of Baltimore heavily affected during the civil unrest in 2015.

The Arch Social Club was established in 1905, and has long been a cultural anchor in Baltimore. Despite only offering membership to a select few, the club regularly opens its doors to city residents for social events. During the civil unrest of 2015, its members offered food, water and use of its restrooms to anyone in need. A mens-only club, the Arch Social Club has seen a decline in its membership over the years as the state of the neighborhood has worsened.

The buildings will be stabilized and renovated, with more intensive work needed for the Sphinx Club; the Arch Social Club will have repairs made to its roof, along with other small internal fixes. The Druid Heights CDC expects all work to be completed in 2018, with work on the Sphinx Club concluding later this year. When complete, they will serve as places for families from Baltimore and beyond to come and enjoy live entertainment, healthy food and other cultural offerings.

“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 http://dhcd.maryland.gov/ProjectCORE/.



Governor Larry Hogan Attends Project C.O.R.E. Demolition in Baltimore City

Governor Larry Hogan Attends Project C.O.R.E. Demolition in Baltimore City

Blight Removal on N. Chester Street Sets Stage for New Housing, Businesses and Community Center

BALTIMORE, Md.(February 10, 2017) – Governor Larry Hogan today joined Baltimore City Mayor Catherine E. Pugh; Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young; Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth C. Holt; Dr. Donte L. Hickman, Sr., Pastor of Southern Baptist Church; and Baltimore City officials and community stakeholders to conduct a demolition marking the latest phase of Project C.O.R.E.’s blight removal on N. Chester Street in Baltimore City. Project C.O.R.E., or Creating Opportunities for Renewal and Enterprise, is a multi-year, city-state partnership to demolish vacant and derelict buildings in Baltimore and replace them with green space or to create the foundation for development.

“Project C.O.R.E. is truly helping us ensure that Baltimore’s future is better and brighter than its present or past,” said Governor Hogan. “I want to thank all the community organizations, neighborhood associations, and other local stakeholders who are working collaboratively with us to support this transformational revitalization. Today, we are taking yet another step forward and proving that our partnerships and our approach are truly working.”

“Thanks to Project C.O.R.E. funding and our partnership with the state, we can eliminate blighted city blocks in Baltimore and clear the way for future development and productive use,” said Mayor Catherine E. Pugh. “The whole block demolition and site assembly on N. Chester Street is part of a community plan that will support the revitalization efforts currently underway in Broadway East.”

The blight on the 1700 block of N. Chester Street sits less than two blocks from Southern Baptist Church and the Mary Harvin Transformation Center, an affordable senior housing and community center project that was rebuilt after the nearly-completed project was destroyed during the Baltimore civil unrest in 2015. That project, which held its ribbon cutting ceremony in April 2016, was supported with tax credits administered by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.

The N. Chester Street blight removal is “just another mark of progress for the community,” said Pastor Hickman.

The demolition is managed by the Maryland Stadium Authority, which has been overseeing Project C.O.R.E. blight removal activities across the city since last year. The Authority has implemented dust suppression and environmental standards that could be used as a national model for urban blight control.

For more information about Project C.O.R.E., including maps and applicable state programs, visit: http://dhcd.maryland.gov/ProjectCORE.

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CONTACT: Sara Luell, Director of Communications, sara.luell@maryland.gov, 301-429-7803



Century-old Baltimore Business Gets Facelift

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s Storefront Improvement Program is focused on ensuring the physical health of Baltimore’s commercial districts. For one project in southwest Baltimore, this means improving the façade of an institution aimed at ensuring the health and well-being of Baltimore’s residents. Westside Pharmacy and Wellness Center at 2021 West Pratt Street is an important institution in the underserved Carrollton Ridge neighborhood, serving as both a pharmacy and as a small store for various health and wellness needs. The 97-year-old building stands at the heart of a corridor with numerous stores and restaurants, and saw significant damage during the civil unrest that hit the city in 2015.

Thanks to the conceptual architectural renderings provided by Tomato Design Studio, LLC and the Civic Works YouthBuild Initiative, the storefront at the corner of West Pratt and Harmison Streets received a major facelift, improving the curb appeal along one of the busy roads leading into downtown Baltimore. The flaking paint and deteriorated awning on the front of the building were replaced, allowing the business to stand out better on the block. Lighting was also added to help illuminate the entryway. The concrete step at the entrance to the pharmacy was replaced and a grab bar was added to help elderly and disabled patrons access the store.  The security grate that protects the store entrance when it is closed was repainted to help the business beautify the neighborhood even when the pharmacy isn’t open.

For the repair and maintenance work required for this project, the state partnered with Civic Works, a Baltimore-based nonprofit focused on strengthening Baltimore’s communities through education, skills development, and community service. Through their YouthBuild program, Civic Works provides opportunities to Baltimore City youth aged 17 to 24 to learn skills in the construction field by working on projects like the one at Westside Pharmacy and Wellness Center. The program also provides assistance for its participants to earn a GED or high school diploma, as well as help with job placement.

All architectural design services are coordinated by the Neighborhood Design Center in collaboration with American Institute of Architects Baltimore Chapter and Baltimore Heritage.

This is one of several projects being undertaken citywide as part of the Maryland Business Recovery Storefront Improvement Program, including past, current, and upcoming projects in the Waverly, Upton, Highlandtown and Hollins Market neighborhoods of Baltimore. The program, funded by Governor Larry Hogan and his approval of a $650,000 allocation from the Rainy Day Fund, assists businesses throughout Baltimore with grants to update their façades, which improve the small business climate as well as the overall aesthetics of the city. The grants are generally $10,000, with an option to extend investment even further with a one-to-one match of state funds to those contributed by property owners or another funding source.



Frostburg a Frontrunner for Small Business Revolution Makeover

Frostburg, a Main Street Maryland community in Allegany County, stands to win a $500,000 Main Street Makeover and a featured spot in a Hulu documentary series from Small Business Revolution on Main Street, sponsored by Deluxe Corporation, a small business growth and resource center. Frostburg was selected as one of eight semi-finalists out of nearly 14,000 applicants in fall 2016.

If selected, Deluxe Corporation’s Amanda Brinkman, entrepreneur Robert Herjavec from ABC’s show Shark Tank, and Deluxe’s professional marketing team will select six small businesses within the downtown district to offer services and materials for branding, marketing, and accounting to give small business owners the tools they need to succeed. In addition to these services, Deluxe will work with City leaders to select public improvement projects within the downtown to spruce it up. The Small Business Revolution’s journey in Frostburg will be documented in an eight episode documentary series available on Hulu and on their website.  
The top five finalists will be announced on February 9.  From there, voting will be open until February 16. Vote once a day per device and per browser at smallbusinessrevolution.org.To learn more about how Frostburg has made it this far in the contest, visit their Q & A page at http://www.downtownfrostburg.com/people/smallbusinessrevolution/. Follow their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages for updates on the contest. Contact FrostburgFirst at 301-689-6900 with voting questions.



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