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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)

A New Canvas for Baltimore: Dressed For Success! Storefront Improvements on Baltimore’s Pennsylvania Avenue Corridor

1800-block-montagePennsylvania Avenue is a bustling commercial corridor on Baltimore’s west side, historically known as a cultural and entertainment district for the African American community.  It is home to a diverse range of businesses, including the Avenue Market, Shake and Bake (a bowling alley and roller rink that serves as an important anchor to the community) and other retailers, such as convenience stores, beauty shops, cell phone stores, appliance stores and carry-out food establishments.

Thanks to Governor Larry Hogan and his approval of a $650,000 allocation from the Rainy Day Fund, the exterior of several of the businesses throughout the city are being enhanced through the Maryland Business Recovery Storefront Improvement Program. The improvements in the 1600, 1700 and 1800 block of Pennsylvania are the first of 26 storefront improvement projects to be completed in the near future.shake-and-bake-montage_front

Through the Art@Work Program, spearheaded by the Baltimore Office for the Promotion of the Arts (BOPA) and Jubilee Arts, the Maryland Business Recovery Storefront Improvement Program provided funds to help spruce up approximately 13 businesses along Pennsylvania Avenue, a historic Main Street in the city’s Upton neighborhood.civic-works-montage

The department partnered with the Civic Works Youth Build Program to repair, replace and prime the metal security gates that cover the shop entrances when they are closed. A mural inspired by the businesses on the block now covers these gates and adds color to the streetscape. Approximately 20 youth from Civic Works assisted in the beautification of Pennsylvania Avenue.crazy-mart-montage

With program funds, Civic Works also installed new exterior lights to brighten both the mural and sidewalk after dark.  Businesses that participated in the initiative included Penn Mart, Cricket, Appliance R US, Mel’s Liquors, Luck Shop, Urban Jewelers, Panda Carry Out, Sissy’s Seafood, Lafayette Market, B-Wireless and the Discount Store.

In addition to the security gate mural, Civic Works also assisted with installing painted wooden panels above the Crazy Beauty Mart.  Reflected on these panels are notable African Americans and neighborhood patrons and residents.

Finally, Civic Works was hired to freshen up the exterior of the Corridor’s recreational anchor, the Shake and Bake.  Youth with the Art@Work initiative painted a unique mural along the base of the front of the building, while Civic Works youth gave the almost 75,000-square foot building a paint job.

after_lafayette-mktThis program doesn’t just benefit the business owners whose storefronts were improved; it has benefited Baltimore’s youth by providing them with employment and workforce development opportunities. Both the Civic Works Youth Build Program and the Art@Work Program are committed to hiring and training Baltimore’s youth so they are better prepared for the workforce.

Like many of the other areas of Baltimore receiving state investment under the Hogan administration, Pennsylvania Avenue was the site of heavy civil unrest in 2015. Efforts like the Storefront Improvement Program aim to keep local businesses successful while highlighting the opportunities for future investment, such as the historic and vacant Sphinx Club and other vacant buildings that were once used as doctor’s offices, theaters and jazz clubs.  Continued stabilization of this corridor will help the Old West Baltimore Historic District thrive once again.    

The Storefront Improvement Program is supporting work elsewhere in the city, including projects along the Main Street corridors in Highlandtown and Waverly. The program funds up to $10,000 of exterior improvements for businesses across Baltimore to enhance the aesthetic quality of the storefronts and business districts.

The department thanks Preservation Maryland for their photographic contributions.

“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

Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Announces FY2017 Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Initiative Awards

BALTIMORE, Md. (October 26, 2016) – The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development today announced the awardees of the FY2017 Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Initiative. Pending Board of Public Works approval, the department will grant over $3.6 million that will leverage an estimated $59 million in other public, private and philanthropic dollars.

The Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Initiative, established in FY2014, demonstrates that strategic investment in local housing and businesses leads to healthy, sustainable communities, grows the tax base and enhances quality-of-life. The initiative assists nonprofit community partners working in the Baltimore region where modest investment and a coordinated strategy have an appreciable impact on neighborhood revitalization.

“The Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Initiative funds to projects that build on the strengths of Baltimore City and surrounding communities,” said Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “It’s another tool in the department’s toolbox to revitalize communities, strengthen local economies, increase jobs and expand housing choices for Marylanders.”

Since its inception, the Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Initiative has awarded more than $13.5 million dollars to nearly 100 projects, leveraging an estimated $137.6 million in both public and private investment.

For more information about the Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Initiative, visit

The FY2017 Baltimore City awardees* are:

Anne Arundel County

  • Strong City Baltimore
    • $325,000 for Arundel Community Development Services Inc. Brooklyn Park Housing Expansion

Baltimore City

  • Belair-Edison Neighborhoods Inc.
    • $100,000 for Belair-Edison Green Sustainability Initiative
    • $75,000 for Belair-Edison Main Street
  • Central Baltimore Partnership Inc.
    • $26,199 for Barclay Street Park
    • $170,000 for operating support
    • $80,0000 for HCPI Community Spruce-Up Grant Program
    • $80,000 for North Barclay Green tenant improvement
    • $50,000 for Remington Commercial Facade Improvement Program
    • $150,000 for Rowhouse Rehab Program
    • $75,000 for WMS Streetscape Improvement Project
  • City Life Community Builders
    • $150,000 for 1517 N. Broadway preservation
    • $40,000 for Green and Clean community clean-up and security effort
  • East Baltimore Development Inc.
    • $175,000 for Emerging Developers rehabilitation program
  • Southeast Community Development Corporation
    • $75,000 for Broadway Services Live Near Your Work incentive program
    • $95,000 for facade improvement and job training program
    • $50,000 for homebuyer incentive match program
    • $80,000 for Neighborhood Spruce-Up Program
    • $150,000 for Southeast Community development Corporation operations
    • $75,000 for Station East Vacants-to-Value project
    • $75,000 for East Baltimore Jobs Hub
  • Southwest Partnership
    • $100,000 for Bon Secours community farm pilot project
    • $100,000 for alley and footpath gating and security on the 1000-1600 blocks of West Baltimore Street
    • $120,000 for general operating funds
    • $150,000 for stabilization and renovation of vacant houses in the 100 and 1100 block of West Fayette Street
  • Strong City Baltimore
    • $200,000 for Baybrook Youth Athletic Complex
    • $85,000 for Greater Baybrook operational support
    • $50,000 for Greater Baybrook block improvement program
    • $50,000 for Greater Baybrook identity and branding initiative
  • TRF Development Partners
    • $250,000 for implementation of the RJSNA 2015 Plan for the Johnston Square neighborhood

Baltimore County

  • Dundalk Renaissance Corporation
    • $50,000 for Curb Appeal Fund
    • $110,00 for Home Owner Repair Program
    • $100,000 for home purchase forgivable loans
    • $150,000 for operating support

*Pending Board of Public Works approval on November 2, 2016.

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

Housing Choice Voucher Program’s Eastern Shore Waiting List to Open November 10, 2016, to November 17, 2016

Housing Choice Voucher Program’s Eastern Shore Waiting List to Open November 10, 2016, to November 17, 2016
Waiting Lists Will Be Available for Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico and Worcester Counties

NEW CARROLLTON, Md. (October 25, 2016) – The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development today announced that the Housing Choice Voucher Program waiting lists will open for Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico and Worcester counties for the first time since 2009. Applications will be accepted online only from noon on November 10, 2016, through November 17, 2016, at noon.

Preliminary applications must be submitted online at The application is available in multiple languages. All pre-applicants will have an equal opportunity of being selected. Submission of a pre-application does not guarantee placement on any waiting list. Waiting list placement will be based on a computerized random selection.  Those selected for the waiting list will be reviewed to determine preliminary eligibility and preferences will be applied to determine the final order. As housing vouchers become available, those next on the waiting lists will be contacted to complete a full eligibility application.

Those with special needs may receive assistance completing their online preliminary application on:

  • Monday, November 14, 2016, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    • Talbot County Library, 100 W. Dover Street, Easton MD 21601
    • Caroline County Library, 100 Market Street, Denton MD 21629
  • Tuesday, November 15, 2016, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    • Kent County Library, 408 High Street, Chestertown MD 21620
    • Somerset County Library, 11767 Beechwood Street, Princess Anne MD 21853
    • Wicomico County Library, 122 S. Division Street, Salisbury MD 21801
    • Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Eastern Shore Office, 503 Race Street, Cambridge MD 21613
  • Wednesday, November 16, 2016, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    • Worcester County Library, 307 N. Washington Street, Snow Hill MD  21863

The Housing Choice Voucher Program is the federally funded, locally administered rental assistance program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly and persons with disabilities to afford decent, safe and sanitary housing in the private market. The department administers the program for several counties on the Eastern Shore and in Western Maryland. Other counties in Maryland maintain their own programs and waiting lists.

Eligibility for a housing voucher is determined based on a family’s total annual gross income and is limited to United States citizens and specified categories of non-citizens who have eligible immigration status. In general, the family’s income may not exceed 50% of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which the family resides.

For more information, visit To check the status of an application, visit

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