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A New Canvas for Baltimore: Restoration Gardens 2 Will Provide Haven for Homeless Youth

The developer of Maryland’s first and only permanent housing facility for homeless youth will soon build another 42 units of supportive housing for some of Baltimore’s most vulnerable residents.

With the help of $400,000 from the department’s FY17 Project C.O.R.E. funds, Empire Homes Inc. will begin site preparations for Restoration Gardens 2, to be located on the 4200 block of York Road in the Pen Lucy neighborhood. These new apartments will support Restoration Gardens 1, a 43-unit facility catering to the same population that opened in the Park Heights neighborhood in 2010. In addition to the Project C.O.R.E. awards, the program is also funded by  $6,845,060 in Low Income Housing Tax Credits, a $188,335 Rental Housing Program Cash Flow loan, $250,000 from the Strategic Demolition Fund, and a $200,000 bond bill from the state.

When Restoration Gardens 1 was opened, the positive impact it had on the community was immediately clear. All rooms available were leased within three months of its opening. Soon after, a senior center in the area was renovated, and homeownership in the vicinity increased, along with maintenance of other nearby buildings. Restoration Gardens 2 is projected to have a similar positive effect, creating jobs during its construction and lowering the rate of homelessness and crime in the area. By providing supportive housing for a population in need, both the city and the youth living there are prepared for a better future.

“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 Department of Housing and Community Development Announces Fiscal Year 2018 Application Round for State Revitalization Programs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Announces Fiscal Year 2018 Application Round for State Revitalization Programs

Funding Available from Project C.O.R.E., Community Legacy, the Strategic Demolition Fund and the Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Initiative

NEW CARROLLTON, Md. (April 10, 2017) – The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development is announcing the FY18 application round for four available State Revitalization Programs –  Project C.O.R.E. (Creating Opportunities for Renewal and Enterprise), Community Legacy, Strategic Demolition Fund – Statewide (all non-Baltimore City) and the Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Initiative.

These programs offer funding to support local housing, community and economic development and revitalization projects. They are part of the department’s commitment to helping the state’s local governments and nonprofit agencies achieve their community revitalization and economic development goals.

Specifically, Governor Hogan’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget items, approved by the Maryland General Assembly, include the following:

  • Project C.O.R.E.: $10 million capital funds
  • Community Legacy: $6 million capital funds
  • Strategic Demolition Fund – Statewide: $3.5 million capital funds
  • Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Initiative: $8 million capital funds and $750,000 operating funds

The online State Revitalization Program application will not open until May 8, 2017, at which time applicants will have access to the application under the “My Opportunities” tab within the Project Portal System at http://projectportal.dhcd.state.md.us. Eligible applicants who are new users must register to the system to gain access. Applications are due June 8, 2017.

Applicant organizations must serve communities that include designated Sustainable Community areas (http://dhcd.maryland.gov/Communities/Pages/dn/) and projects or initiatives that themselves align with local Sustainable Community Action Plans.

Additional program information is found on the following websites:

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MEDIA CONTACT: Michael White, Chief of Staff, michael.white@maryland.gov



Maryland Mortgage Program Announces Annual Award Winners

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Maryland Mortgage Program Announces Annual Award Winners

NEW CARROLLTON, Md. (April 7, 2017) – Today, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development hosted its annual Maryland Mortgage Program awards breakfast. The event honored the program’s top performing lender and real estate partners in 2016. The department announced 13 awards in six categories, recognizing the awardees’ efforts to increase homeownership through the Maryland Mortgage Program.

“Creating and supporting strong partnerships between the department and our network of lender and real estate partners is vital to the continued success of the Maryland Mortgage Program,” Deputy Secretary Tony Reed said. “Today’s awards ceremony recognizes the valuable contributions of our top-performing partners and celebrates our shared commitment to helping Marylanders achieve the dream of homeownership.”

The award winners are:

Top Producing Lenders

  • First Home Mortgage Corporation
  • George Mason Mortgage
  • PrimeLending, a PlainsCapital Company

Rising Star Award

  • Southern Trust Mortgage

Best Utilization of New Programs

  • Presidential Mortgage for Best Utilization of the Maryland Pathway to Homeownership in Garrett County Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc. for Best Utilization of the Maryland SmartBuy: Affordable Homeownership for Buyers with Student Debt

Staff Recognition Awards

  • Karen Tolson, Loan Processor, First Home Mortgage Corporation
  • Sandra Vogel, Processing Team Leader, Prosperity Home Mortgage

Top Loan Originator

  • Eric Short, First Home Mortgage Corporation

In addition to the awards presentation and Maryland Mortgage Program updates from department leadership, attendees also received industry updates from US Bank, the Maryland Mortgage Brokers & Bankers Association, the Maryland Association of REALTORS®, and Live Baltimore.

The Maryland Mortgage program is the state’s flagship homeownership program, providing fixed-rate mortgages, primarily to first-time homebuyers, along with down payment and closing cost incentives. For more information, visit www.mmp.maryland.govFor pictures, visit http://bit.ly/MMPLenderAwardsPhotos.

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



Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Partners With Montgomery County for New Homeownership Program

Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Partners With Montgomery County for New Homeownership Program

NEW CARROLLTON, Md. (April 4, 2017) – The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development is partnering with Montgomery County for a new homebuying initiative through the Maryland Mortgage Program. Called the Montgomery Homeownership Program, the program incentivizes homebuying in Montgomery County by offering a zero-interest loan of up to $40,000 that can be used for down payment or closing cost assistance. The program will run from April 4, 2017, until December 31, 2017, or until funds are expended, whichever occurs first.

“We are excited about our partnership with Montgomery County,” said Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “With the generous down payment and closing cost assistance and the other attractive features of the Maryland Mortgage Program, we expect this program will take homeownership from a dream to reality for families across Montgomery County.”

When purchasing through the Montgomery Homeownership Program, buyers can receive the following incentives:

  • A deferrable, zero-interest loan equal to 40 percent of the household income up to $40,000, provided by Montgomery County, which can be used for down payment or closing cost assistance
  • 30-year fixed-rate financing
  • Tax credit savings available through the Maryland HomeCredit Program
  • Streamlined and straightforward home buying and financing experience

Potential homebuyers are subject to household income limits and must meet standard qualifications under the Maryland Mortgage program, including completion of homebuyer education. The Maryland Mortgage program is the state’s flagship homeownership program, providing fixed-rate mortgages, primarily to first-time homebuyers, along with down payment and closing cost incentives.

For more information, visit http://mmp.maryland.gov/montgomery.

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



A New Canvas for Baltimore: Eager Street Townhomes Bring Affordable Options to Historic Area of East Baltimore

The availability of attractive and affordable homes goes hand in hand with community revitalization. Through a Project C.O.R.E. award, an East Baltimore nonprofit will work toward providing new housing in an area of the city where it is greatly needed.

East Baltimore Development, Inc. was awarded $500,000 in Project C.O.R.E. funding for preparation of the site of the future Eager Street townhomes, starting along the 2000 block of the street. With this funding, EBDI plans to begin the remediation and infrastructure work necessary before construction can begin. Within three years, the site will be ready for the construction of 45 new homes, of which 10-15 percent will be affordable housing, to be offered to those who are eligible for HUD-subsidized rent. In FY 2016, EBDI also received $1.05 million in Strategic Demolition funds to clear space for Eager Park, a new 5.5 acre park located near the future townhomes in Baltimore City’s Middle East neighborhood.

Despite having become disinvested over time, this area is rich in history. Eager Street is the northern border of Baltimore’s East Monument Historic District, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. Dating back to the 1800s, the community was, for a time, the place the majority of Baltimore’s Czech immigrants called home. The bulk of the homes were built by these same immigrants, including noted Baltimore architect Frank Novak, who built many of the two-story row houses in the city that were designed for its working class. Although much of Baltimore’s Czech population has dispersed over the years, their influence is still very present in this area of the city.

The removal of the properties that have aged with time will help to bring a renewed vigor to the area. With its proximity to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and its School of Nursing,  the new development will enable Baltimore City homebuyers to live, work, and play in the same area. Through a combination of good economic development principles and providing safer and more attractive homes, this new construction will entice people of all walks to come to 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 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.



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