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Hogan Administration Announces Coordinated Effort to Bring 500,000 Meal Kits to Marylanders in Need

Hogan Administration Announces Coordinated Effort to Bring 500,000 Meal Kits to Marylanders in Need
Meals Will Be Distributed to Nonprofit Organizations Across the State

ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Hogan administration today announced a partnership between the Maryland Department of General Services (DGS), the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives (GOCI), and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to coordinate the acquisition and distribution of approximately 500,000 shelf-stable meal kits, valued at over $2 million, to needy Marylanders. The meal kits will be given to Maryland nonprofit organizations, including food pantries and home shelters, whose mission is to feed the underserved.

“Our administration is committed to finding opportunities to help those most in need,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “This partnership between our state agencies, and with the support and assistance of Maryland’s nonprofit organizations, will provide nutritious meals to families in need of assistance across the state.”

The distribution of the shelf-stable meal kits was made available through the Department of General Services’ Federal Surplus Donation Program. As the designated Maryland state agency to receive surplus property through the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), DGS administers the program, which enables eligible, non-federal organizations to obtain surplus personal property no longer required by the federal government, and at no cost. More than 60 nonprofit organizations across the state have applied to receive the meal kits.

“The surplus property program is a great opportunity to get these meal kits and other resources directly into Maryland communities,” said DGS Secretary Ellington E. Churchill Jr. “Our agency is committed to delivering essential services to the citizens of Maryland and this partnership does just that.”

GOCI is coordinating the receipt of the meal kits with the nonprofits and local jurisdictions.

“Our office is honored to help execute Governor Hogan’s mission to support our communities across the state in every way possible,” said Steve McAdams, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives. “We are thrilled to be a part of this important new partnership and to connect the hundreds of Maryland non-profit organizations we work with every year to the resources they need.”

“When we learned of this surplus, we immediately turned to the network of 17 Community Action Agencies in Maryland. These organizations, funded in part by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, run a wide range of services for low-income individuals and families, including food pantries, meals for seniors, homeless shelters and much more,” said Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “This is a terrific opportunity to get this food directly into the hands and mouths of Maryland’s most vulnerable populations.”

Through GOCI and DHCD’s outreach efforts, the state confirmed a critical demand of 500,000 meals equaling 468 pallets or 18 truckloads of meal kits. DGS and DHCD coordinated the transportation of the meal kits from Greensville, North Carolina to Crownsville, Maryland. The Anne Arundel County Food Bank in Crownsville, Maryland has volunteered their facility to act as a distribution hub for nonprofits that request the meals over the following weeks.

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MEDIA CONTACTS:
Sara Luell, DHCD Director of Communications, sara.luell@maryland.gov, 301-429-7803
Nicholas Cavey, DGS Director of Communications, nick.cavey1@maryland.gov, 410-767-4958



Main Attractions: FeBREWary Highlights Maryland’s Range of Craft Breweries

Nationally, Maryland is most known for its crabs. From crabcakes to different soups and dips, the crustaceans are synonymous with the state’s image. But Maryland has another, lesser-known treasure: a wealth of small craft breweries. These businesses get the chance to showcase their talents in FeBREWary, a month-long celebration of craft beer with events held all across the state. The breweries also develop a beer especially for the occasion, called “Cupid’s Curse.” FeBREWary offers the chance to showcase some of Maryland’s most unique small businesses.

Many of Maryland’s craft brewers are located in Main Street Maryland communities, which affords those seeking to take a trip to sample some of Maryland’s best brews even more to explore. Main Street Maryland communities, as designated by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, have central business districts with plenty for visitors to see and do. Some communities, such as Frederick, are home to multiple breweries in close proximity to restaurants, retail, galleries and more. The department has also supported craft breweries outside of Main Street Maryland towns, including Union Craft Brewing in Baltimore City.

In Mount Airy, a Main Street Maryland community located in Frederick County, Red Shedman Farm Brewery occupies the same 250 acres of sprawling farmland as its sister company, Linganore Winecellars, which has been one of Maryland’s largest wine producers since the 1970s. Established in October of 2014, the brewery is owned by Victor Aellen, son of the owners of Linganore, making the two businesses a family affair.

In a few ways, Red Shedman is not quite like other Maryland breweries. Director of Operations Chelsey Jenkins explained that they are classified as a farm brewery, meaning they primarily fall under state jurisdiction rather than county laws. As a farm brewery, they also use hops grown on their farm when they brew their beers. They can also produce no more than 15,000 barrels of a particular brew annually.

As a small-but-growing operation, the Red Shedman team handles all aspects of the business themselves, including distribution. As such, their products are currently not sold outside of Maryland, and the furthest south their beers and ciders can be found is in Bowie in Prince George’s County. The team recently acquired their own canning line, which Jenkins said will be a boost for their production capacity.

In warmer months and on weekends, the farm is often abuzz with activity. Visitors travel to sample the beers, wines, and ciders produced on the grounds while often taking in live music or enjoying a festival, such as their annual Bluegrass, Brew and BBQ Festival in April. This year’s festival, Jenkins said, is shaping up to feature 30 different breweries, as well as four local barbecue vendors and four bluegrass bands. The taproom is also open year-round for tastings.  Seasonal offerings are often a big success: for their Cupid’s Curse contribution, Red Shedman offered up a barrel-aged shoofly pie porter with notes of molasses and cinnamon and a distinct bourbon scent originating from the barrel. Other popular beers include their Suicide Blonde, a White IPA, and their Vanilla Porter.

According to Jenkins, one of the best parts of being in business there is being a member of Frederick County’s business community. “We help each other out whenever we can,” Jenkins said. “There have been times when we’re brewing, and we’re, say, a bag short on grain. We can go to other brewers — who are theoretically our competition — and they’ll help us out. There’s a lot of love and support out here.”

If you are looking to visit a brewery and explore Maryland’s many unique small towns, see below for a full list of breweries located in Main Street Maryland communities:

Du Claw Brewing, Bel Air

Independent Brewing Co., Bel Air

Burley Oak Brewing, Berlin

Smoketown Brewing Station, Brunswick

Realerevival Brewing, Cambridge

Bull and Goat Brewery, Centreville

1812 Brewery, Cumberland

Key Brewing, Dundalk

Ellicott Mills Brewing Company, Ellicott City

Manor Hill Brewing, Ellicott City

Flying Dog Brewery, Frederick

Midnight Run Brewing, Frederick

Monocacy Brewing Company, Frederick

Olde Mother Brewing, Frederick

Rockwell Brewery, Frederick

Steinhardt Brewing, Frederick

Antietam Brewery, Hagerstown

Frey’s Brewing Company, Mt. Airy

Milkhouse Brewery at Stillpoint Farm, Mt. Airy

Red Shedman Farm Brewery, Mt. Airy

Evolution Craft Brewing, Salisbury

Rubber Soul Brewing, Salisbury

Backshore Brewing Co., Ocean City

Fin City Brewing Co., Ocean City

Ocean City Brewing Co., Ocean City

Pub Dog Brewing Company, Westminster

“Main Attractions” is a regular series highlighting Main Street Maryland communities. Main Street Maryland is a comprehensive downtown revitalization program created in 1998 by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. These communities receive assistance for improving the economy, appearance and image of their traditional downtown business districts. For more information on Main Street Maryland, visit http://dhcd.maryland.gov/Communities/Pages/programs/MainStreet.aspx



Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Releases Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Report

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Releases Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Report

Report details department initiatives and successes in FY 2017

New Carrollton, MD (January 25, 2018) – The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development today released its Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Report. During this period, the department generated an economic impact of nearly $4 billion for the state, including the creation of approximately 17,000 full-time equivalent jobs and $941 million in wages and salaries. Each dollar of state funds supporting the department’s programs created more than $28 of impact statewide.

Project C.O.R.E. (Creating Opportunities for Renewal and Enterprise) experienced another successful year helping Baltimore City address blight. From program inception through FY17, 1,186 units of blight have been removed through a partnership between the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, the Maryland Stadium Authority, and Baltimore City. Sixty-five projects received awards to redevelop and beautify the city, making it a more attractive destination for businesses and families alike.

The department expanded Maryland’s portfolio of high quality affordable housing options. In FY17, the department funded 41 different projects, totaling $979 million, creating or preserving 4,254 housing units.

For more information on the department’s activities in FY17, read the full report here: http://bit.ly/AnnualReportFY2017.

 

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



Legal Notice – DRAFT Performance Report Update and Comment Period on the State of Maryland’s Consolidated Plan

Legal Notice – DRAFT Performance Report Update and Comment Period on the State of Maryland’s Consolidated Plan

Notice is hereby given that the State of Maryland has opened a 30 day public comment period on the draft Consolidated Plan Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER).
The Consolidated Plan is a planning document required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and is prepared by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). It covers a five year period (July 1, 2015-June 30, 2019) and is designed to coordinate Federal and, to a lesser extent, State resources to provide decent housing, economic opportunities, and an acceptable living environment for Maryland’s citizens. The Plan is updated every year during the five year period through an Annual Action Plan, and includes a series of one year goals toward meeting the overall five year goals of the Plan.
Maryland’s Consolidated Plan covers the state’s non-entitlement jurisdictions. Entitlement jurisdictions – those that receive funding directly from HUD, including Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, and the Cities of Annapolis, Baltimore, Bowie, Cumberland, Frederick, Gaithersburg, Hagerstown, and Salisbury – prepare their own Consolidated Plans and are not covered by the State plan.
As part of the Consolidated Planning process, the State submits a CAPER to HUD which describes the progress the State has made in carrying out the one-year goals contained in the five year Plan. DHCD has just completed the third year of the five year Plan that ended June 30, 2017, and the draft CAPER details the progress DHCD made toward it housing and community development goals both in the last year, the previous year and for the full five years of the Plan.
DHCD is interested in public input and comment on the draft CAPER.  We will take written comments (via either email or standard post) on the report through COB Wednesday, February 21, 2018 at the address listed below.  In addition, we will hold a series of public meetings on the CAPER at the following dates, times, and places:
Monday, February 5, 2018 at 7:00 PM
Towson Library
320 York Road
Wilson Room
Towson, MD 21204

Wednesday, February 7, 2018 at 10:30 AM

Caroline County Central Library
100 Market Street
Small Meeting Room
Denton, Maryland 21629
Thursday, February 8, 2018 at 10:30 AM

Fairview Branch Library
Small Meeting Room
Rt. 4 and Chaneyville Road
Owings, Maryland  20736

Friday, February 9, 2018 at 1:30 PM
Allegany County Office Complex
701 Kelly Road
Potomac Room 230
Cumberland, MD 21502

All of the hearing rooms are accessible to persons with disabilities.  Persons requiring a translator should request one at least three days prior to the hearing they plan to attend.

The draft Performance Report is available on-line on DHCD’s website at http://dhcd.maryland.gov/Pages/default.aspx. It can be found under the “Publications” heading at the bottom of the website. In addition, copies of the draft Annual Plan are available at the following libraries: the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, the Blackwell Library in Salisbury, the Washington County Free Library in Hagerstown, the Lewis J. Ort Library in Frostburg, the Frederick Douglas Library in Princess Anne, and the Southern Maryland Regional Library in Charlotte Hall. A large print version is available at the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Baltimore. Free copies of the draft Performance Report are also available by calling, writing, or e-mailing me at the address and phone numbers listed below.
Ms. Ja’Nai C. Streat
Senior Housing Policy Analyst
Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development
7800 Harkins Road
Lanham, Maryland 20706
301-429-7445 or Maryland Relay for the Deaf at 1-800-735-2258
janai.streat@maryland.gov

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Maryland Mortgage Program Announces New Loan and Down Payment Assistance Products

Maryland Mortgage Program Announces New Loan and Down Payment Assistance Products

NEW CARROLLTON, MD (January 23, 2018) – The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development recently announced new loan and down payment assistance products and debuted a redesigned website for the Maryland Mortgage Program before an audience of lenders, realtors, counselors, mortgage insurers, and other program partners. New Maryland Mortgage Program products include a mortgage loan developed for borrowers with mid-range credit scores, a down payment assistance grant designed to be used with specific Freddie Mac mortgages, and the expansion of one of the department’s existing grant programs for down payment assistance to make it applicable to more types of mortgages. These new initiatives will expand access to the program for lower income homebuyers as well as those struggling with credit issues, down payment, or closing costs.

“Homeownership strengthens Maryland’s communities, and homebuying strengthens Maryland’s economy,” said Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “The Maryland Mortgage Program provides homebuyers with competitive rates and the peace of mind of a loan backed by the State of Maryland. In particular, the program’s down payment assistance options set our mortgage products apart from many other loans by helping to provide extra cash at settlement.”

For down payment assistance, the department announced that the Maryland Mortgage Program’s existing Maryland 4% Grant Assist can now be used for down payment assistance for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans as well as conventional, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), or United States Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) loans. In an effort to increase access to homeownership for lower income homebuyers, the department also announced the creation of the Maryland 6% Opportunity Grant for use by income-selected homebuyers with down payment and closing costs associated with purchasing a home for Freddie Mac Housing Finance Agencies (HFA) Advantage mortgages only. The department also announced the new Maryland Credit 640 program which was developed to assist homebuyers with FICO scores in the 640-659 range with purchasing a home in Maryland. Along with these program enhancements, the department also highlighted its efforts to streamline processes for program lending partners and a new program website, http://mmp.maryland.gov, redesigned to be more user-friendly and responsive for customers.

The department presented the new enhancements and processes before an audience of nearly 300 program partners at the Westin Annapolis hotel on January 19. In addition to remarks from Secretary Holt and program announcements from Assistant Secretary and Community Development Administration Director Matthew Heckles, attendees had an opportunity to hear from Boyd Campbell, president of the Maryland REALTORS and Ernie Grue, member of the Board of Governors for the Maryland Mortgage Bankers & Brokers Association, two partner organizations that are key supporters of the Maryland Mortgage Program. The department also honored its top four performing lender partners – First Home Mortgage Corporation, PrimeLending, George Mason Mortgage, and Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc. For the third  year in a row, Mr. Naji Rashid was recognized as the Maryland Mortgage Program’s top producing realtor.

The Maryland Mortgage Program has been the state’s flagship homeownership program for more than 35 years, providing fixed-rate mortgages, primarily to first-time homebuyers, along with down payment and closing cost incentives. From Fiscal Year 2015 through Fiscal Year 2017, the Maryland Mortgage Program assisted more than 7,800 homebuyers with mortgages valued at over $1.5 billion and over $39 million in down payment assistance. For more information about the program and its new initiatives, visit http://mmp.maryland.gov.

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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 Announces Community Development Block Grant Awards as Part of Homelessness Initiative

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Announces Community Development Block Grant Awards as Part of Homelessness Initiative

Approximately $1.5 million awarded to programs serving the homeless

New Carrollton, MD (January 17, 2018) – The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development today announced the recipients of special Fiscal Year 2018 grants through the Community Development Block Grant program. Awarded as part of a homelessness support services initiative, nearly $1.5 million will be distributed to programs in Caroline, Carroll, Dorchester, Somerset, and Talbot counties, along with the Town of Oakland in Garrett County.

“The department is working every day to ensure that Maryland’s most vulnerable populations can live safely and comfortably,” said Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “We’re proud to serve as partners with organizations that share our commitment to ending homelessness in Maryland.”

Award recipients will undertake renovations to their facilities, add staff members, and cover operating costs to provide high-quality shelter and services. In Talbot County, for example, the Talbot Interfaith Shelter will use the funding to renovate an existing shelter, adding accessibility improvements to bathrooms and walkways and a wheelchair lift. The Town of Oakland plans to provide funding to construct three buildings for use as transitional housing for people who are homeless due to domestic violence.

Community Development Block Grant funds strengthen Maryland’s communities by aiding in the expansion of affordable housing opportunities, job creation, stabilizing neighborhoods and improving overall quality of life. The funds were provided to the department by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Fiscal Year 2018 Community Development Block Grant Homeless Initiative award recipients are:

Caroline County

  • St. Martin’s Ministries – $100,000

Carroll County

  • Human Services Programs of Carroll County – $158,092

Dorchester County

  • Delmarva Community Services, Inc. – $275,000

Somerset County

  • Catholic Charities, Inc.- $130,000
  • Somerset Committee for the Homeless, Inc. – $150,000

Talbot County

  • Talbot Interfaith Shelter – $74,000

Town of Oakland

  • Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Resource Center, Inc. – $609,620

 

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

 



Governor Larry Hogan and First Lady Yumi Hogan Visit Helping Up Mission

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan and First Lady Yumi Hogan, along with Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh, today visited Helping Up Mission in Baltimore City for a ribbon cutting celebrating the center’s newly renovated commercial kitchen and dining hall. The governor, first lady, and mayor also served the first meals from the refurbished kitchen, which included cucumber salad and traditional Korean pork bulgogi made from the first lady’s recipes.

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) provided $1.4 million through the Shelter and Transitional Housing Facilities Grant Program to support the substantial renovation of Helping Up Mission’s shelter to accommodate for future growth. The kitchen and dining room are components of a larger campus that includes 210 emergency shelter beds for homeless adults in addition to other supportive service space. In total, Helping Up Mission provides housing, services, and nearly 1,200 meals daily to approximately 500 men who are homeless and battling alcoholism, drug addiction, or mental illness.

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Governor Larry Hogan Kicks Off Walbrook Mill Redevelopment at Project C.O.R.E. Celebration

Governor Larry Hogan Kicks Off Walbrook Mill Redevelopment at Project C.O.R.E. Celebration
Redevelopment Will Bring Affordable Housing, Retail Space to North Avenue Corridor

Governor Larry Hogan personally kicked off the demolition of Walbrook Mill as part of a Project C.O.R.E. celebration in Baltimore.

Governor Larry Hogan personally kicked off the demolition of Walbrook Mill as part of a Project C.O.R.E. celebration in Baltimore.

ANNAPOLIS, MD (October 26, 2017) – Governor Larry Hogan today kicked off the redevelopment of Walbrook Mill in West Baltimore through Project C.O.R.E., and celebrated the recent milestone of more than 1,000 units of blight removed through the initiative. 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 redevelopment. The governor was joined by Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth C. Holt, City Councilman Leon Pinkett, Coppin State University President Maria Thompson, Coppin Heights Community Development Corporation (CDC) President John Bullock, and Neighborhood Housing Services of Baltimore (NHS) Executive Director Dan Ellis, as well as numerous local elected officials and members of the community.

“Just a few weeks ago, we surpassed the historic milestone of 1,000 units of blighted properties being removed,” said Governor Hogan. “A total of 1,154 decaying units, many without roofs or walls, have been demolished, and another 32 have been stabilized for reuse.

“Today, we are continuing that incredible success here at Walbrook Lumberyard, which – thanks to Project C.O.R.E. – will be transformed into a community hub that the residents of West Baltimore, the students, and staff at Coppin State University, and all Marylanders can be proud of.”

“The Walbrook Mill project is a prime opportunity to turn distressed properties along the North Avenue Corridor near Coppin State University into much-needed affordable and market rate housing, as well as retail and industrial space for workforce development,” said Mayor Catherine E. Pugh. “Thanks to Project C.O.R.E. demolition funds, developers can take their redevelopment projects from concept to reality as part of ongoing efforts to revitalize and strengthen Baltimore neighborhoods.”

“Under Governor Hogan’s leadership, we are creating new opportunities in areas that have seen significant disinvestment,” said Secretary Holt. “In a very short amount of time, Project C.O.R.E. has brought together public-private partnership at a level never before seen in Baltimore.”

Walbrook Mill, a five-acre abandoned lumber yard in close proximity to Coppin State University, will be redeveloped in phases, beginning with today’s demolition of a blighted warehouse building. Neighborhood Housing Services of Baltimore, partnering with Coppin Heights Community Development Corporation and Osprey Property Company, has received Project C.O.R.E. funding to prepare the site for the redevelopment. The plan for the site, at full build out, is to include approximately 140 affordable and market rate rental apartments and townhomes, 9,000 square feet of North Ave commercial and retail space, and includes the rehabilitation and reuse of approximately 32,000 square feet of existing lumber warehouse space to be dedicated to workforce development opportunities.

“As a Councilman representing West Baltimore as well as Chair of the Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, this is truly an auspicious occasion,” said John Bullock, President of the Coppin Heights Community Development Corporation. “Removing blight and infusing mixed income housing along with retail reflects the possibilities in previously neglected neighborhoods. The vision of Coppin Heights CDC is now coming to fruition and we look forward to replicating this model to spur vital community development.”

“NHS Baltimore is proud to partner with the Coppin Heights CDC, Osprey Property Company, and the community in the redevelopment of the former Walbrook Mill lumberyard,” said Dan Ellis, Executive Director of the Neighborhood Housing Services of Baltimore. “By working together with each partner bringing unique strengths to the project, transformative work for the benefit of community residents occurs. Support from Governor Hogan through Project C.O.R.E. has allowed this project to become reality.”

In addition to the kickoff of the Walbrook Mill project and celebrating the milestone of 1,000 blighted properties removed, Governor Hogan highlighted Project C.O.R.E.’s Fiscal Year 18 awardees, which includes 24 projects receiving nearly $15 million for demolition and redevelopment that will leverage approximately $269 million in additional private and nonprofit sector development. Projects include renovations to the historic Hoen Lithograph building, the removal of a vacant industrial laundry building to make way for the Mary Harvin Health and Wellness Center, and the stabilization of rowhomes across the street from the Western District Police Station. In total, Project C.O.R.E. has awarded more than $33 million for 65 projects, leveraging $570 million in nonprofit and private sector investments.

For more information about Project C.O.R.E., visit: http://dhcd.maryland.gov/ProjectCORE.

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



Second Year of Montgomery Homeownership Program to Assist Qualified Homebuyers in the County is Announced

Second Year of Montgomery Homeownership Program to Assist Qualified Homebuyers in the County is Announced

NEW CARROLLTON, MD (October 25, 2017) – Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth C. Holt and Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett today announced a renewal of the Montgomery Homeownership Program through the Maryland Mortgage Program. This joint initiative helps qualified applicants purchase a home by offering a zero-interest loan for down payment or closing cost assistance. Montgomery County has committed one million dollars to this program in FY18. The program will run during FY18, until funds are expended.

“We are helping qualified buyers purchase a home in Montgomery County by providing significant assistance for down payment and closing costs,” said County Executive Leggett. “By doing this in partnership with the State of Maryland, our new homeowners can receive additional support to buy a home.”

The Montgomery Homeownership Program leverages the Maryland Mortgage Program and is administered by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, which provides similar down payment assistance across the state.

“Even if a homebuyer has qualified for a mortgage loan, down payment and closing costs can sometimes be a barrier that delays them from buying a home,” said Secretary Holt. “Our hope is that this partnership will remove that barrier and empower more Montgomery County residents to purchase their first home.”

The down payment assistance program will be available for buyers with qualified incomes to purchase a Montgomery County home as their primary residence. The program is part of Montgomery County’s ongoing efforts to promote affordable and inclusive housing opportunities. It is managed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Program incentives include:

  • A zero-interest loan provided by Montgomery County equal to 40 percent of household income, up to $25,000 for down payment or closing cost assistance
  • 30-year fixed-rate financing on a first mortgage through an MMP-approved lender
  • 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 or to apply, visit Montgomery Homeownership Program at:
http://mmp.maryland.gov/Montgomery/Pages/MontgomeryHomeownershipProgramII.aspx

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



Lead poisoning in Maryland drops to lowest recorded level, testing increases in first year of state initiative

Lead poisoning in Maryland drops to lowest recorded level, testing increases in first year of state initiative

Governor Larry Hogan proclaims Lead Poisoning Prevention Week in Maryland

Baltimore, MD (October 25, 2017) – Childhood lead poisoning cases in Maryland decreased last year to the lowest levels since data has been collected in connection with the state’s 1994 lead law, according to a 2016 Childhood Blood Lead Surveillance report released today by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). Additionally, blood lead testing rates increased across Maryland in the first year of the state’s initiative to test all children at ages 1 and 2. MDE continues to work with the Department of Health (Health) and the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), as well as local partners, to prevent childhood lead poisoning in Maryland.

For the first time, the report also tracks potential sources of lead exposure in reported cases of childhood lead poisoning and finds that many young children with elevated blood lead levels may have been exposed to lead from sources other than deteriorated lead-based paint.

The report follows Governor Larry Hogan’s announcement earlier this year that the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved an application by the Maryland Department of Health to launch a $7.2 million initiative to reduce lead poisoning and improve asthma, two conditions related to environmental conditions in housing. The Department of Health, in collaboration with the MDE and the DHCD, will implement the initiative. Governor Hogan also proclaimed this week as Lead Poisoning Prevention Week in Maryland.

Blood lead testing rates and a new initiative

Blood lead testing rates increased across the state in 2016. Maryland’s new initiative to test all children at ages 1 and 2, regardless of where they live, was announced by the Hogan administration in October 2015 in response to data showing that the state could improve its testing and identification of children with lead exposure.

Although the new Department of Health regulations for increased testing were in effect for only nine months in 2016, starting in March of that year, the 2016 Childhood Blood Lead Surveillance report shows that the number of children age 1 or 2 tested for blood lead in Maryland was 12.2 percent higher than the comparable average for the prior six years. Most counties experienced increases in testing rates, with the largest increases in Howard, Frederick and Carroll counties, each of which saw rates in 2016 increase by more than half. Harford, Queen Anne’s, and Calvert counties also saw increases from 25 to 50 percent.

The report attributes the increase in testing of young children to the universal blood lead testing initiative for 1- and 2-year-olds and to another Maryland Department of Health initiative to endorse Point of Care testing for lead, which allows healthcare providers to test children and provide results in the same office visit. This simplifies testing for parents and, in most cases, eliminates any further office visits or testing for lead.

Childhood lead poisoning cases and Maryland’s lead law

Even with the increase in blood lead testing, the report shows that the percentage of tested young children in Maryland with blood levels at or above the level that triggers action under state law decreased compared to the prior year. This is the lowest level since the beginning of such data collection in 1993.

Last year, less than 0.3 percent of Maryland children tested had an elevated blood lead level that equaled or exceeded the state law-defined elevated level of 10 micrograms per deciliter. The comparable figure for Baltimore City also decreased to the lowest levels since the beginning of data collection, to 1 percent. The report’s findings represent a decrease since 1993 of more than 98 percent in the number of young children reported to have lead poisoning. Much of the decline in blood lead levels is the result of implementation and enforcement of Maryland’s 1994 Reduction of Lead Risk in Housing Act.

The report also shows a decline in the percentage of tested children with blood lead levels below the state-law-defined elevated level, but still of concern based on guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of Maryland children identified with blood lead levels of 5-9 micrograms per deciliter decreased from 1,789 in 2015 to 1,729 in 2016. MDE and the Baltimore City Health Department coordinate to investigate pre-1978 rental units in the city where children with test results of 5-9 micrograms per deciliter live.

MDE serves as the coordinating agency for statewide efforts to eliminate childhood lead poisoning. In addition to the new lead testing plan, under the Hogan administration, Maryland has moved to protect more children from the health risks associated with lead paint poisoning by enforcing an expansion of the type of rental housing covered by the state’s lead law.

Tracking potential sources

In 2016, MDE began comprehensively tracking potential sources of childhood lead exposure. While exposure to lead paint hazards continues to affect children across Maryland, exposure from other sources has been observed, the report states.

For example, 20 of 35 confirmed cases in Prince George’s County were children of refugee families who had relocated to the United States and recently settled in that county, the report finds. Also, cosmetics, such as kohl, and spices purchased outside the United States were identified as potential health hazards during investigations of a significant number of cases across Maryland.

DHCD’s Lead Hazard Reduction Program

The Special Loans Program of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development continues to make a significant impact on the lead exposure from lead-based paint in pre-1978 housing stock statewide. The Lead Hazard Reduction Loan and Grant Program was established by the Maryland General Assembly in 1986 solely for the purpose to extend loans and grants to eligible individuals, child care centers, and sponsors to finance the lead hazard reduction of residential housing units. In Fiscal Year 2017, the program helped abate lead in 114 homes for $1,776,139. In addition, the department’s energy programs utilized abatement-related activities on 37 homes for $75,000.

Healthy Homes for Healthy Kids Lead Initiative gets approval

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved an application by the Maryland Department of Health to launch a $4.17 million initiative to reduce lead poison conditions through the abatement of lead and other lead-related repairs in housing.

The initiative leverages federal funds available through the Maryland Children’s Health Program under the authority of a Health Services Initiative State Plan Amendment. The Healthy Homes for Healthy Kids Program will receive $4.17 million in funding, using a combination of $3.67 million in CHIP federal matching funds and $500,000 in State fiscal year 2018 funds. Eligibility requirements for the initiative are as follows: a child who has a lead test result of 5 mg/dl; 18 years or younger, lives in or visits in the home or apartment for 10 hours or more a week; and are currently eligible or enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP.

DHCD will administer the initiative through a network of nonprofits, local agencies, and contractors to help complete the projects. The local health boards and primary care physicians will assist in referring the impacted families to the program to get the much-needed repairs completed.

More information

Childhood lead poisoning is a completely preventable disease.

Exposure to lead is the most significant and widespread environmental hazard for children in Maryland. Children are at the greatest risk from birth to age 6 while their neurological systems are developing. Exposure to lead can cause long-term neurological damage that may be associated with learning and behavioral problems and with decreased intelligence.

Maryland’s lead law requires owners of pre-1978 rental dwelling units to register their properties and reduce the potential for children’s exposure to lead paint hazards by performing specific lead risk reduction treatments prior to each change in tenancy.

Under the Maryland lead law, the Department of the Environment: assures compliance with mandatory requirements for lead risk reduction in rental units built before 1978; maintains a statewide listing of registered and inspected units; and provides blood lead surveillance through a registry of test results of all children tested in Maryland. The lead program also: oversees case management follow-up by local health departments for children with elevated blood lead levels; certifies and enforces performance standards for inspectors and contractors conducting lead hazard reduction; and performs environmental investigations of lead poisoned children. The lead program provides oversight for community education to parents, tenants, rental property owners, home owners and health care providers to enhance their roles in lead poisoning prevention. Maryland works in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Baltimore City and other local governments and non-profit organizations such as the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative to prevent childhood lead poisoning.

 Quotes

“We are making progress in the battle against childhood lead poisoning in Maryland. The Maryland Department of the Environment is committed to reducing exposure to lead in newer rental homes now covered under Maryland’s lead law and to enforcing the law for older rental units, including those in Baltimore City. We will work closely with our partners, such as the Department of Health, the Department of Housing and Community Development, Baltimore City, the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative, and the U.S. EPA to eliminate this completely preventable disease.”

–  Ben Grumbles, Secretary, Maryland Department of the Environment

“We are extremely pleased with the progress that the State’s health care providers, parents, and advocates have made over the last year in testing more children for lead, in conjunction with the Department of Health and the Department of Environment.  Together with the State’s recently announced efforts to increase resources for lead abatement and environmental case management through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the increased testing helps to fulfill the State’s commitment to reduce and eliminate childhood lead poisoning in Maryland.”

–  Jinlene Chan, Acting Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services, Maryland Department of Health

“The Department of Housing and Community Development is proud to partner with the Department of the Environment and the Department of Health to support lead paint abatement in our state’s communities. Programs like the Lead Hazard Reduction Loan and Grant Program have been instrumental in the reduction of childhood lead poisoning cases and new initiatives like Healthy Homes for Healthy Kids will enable us to continue our positive progress to protect Maryland’s children from exposure to lead.”

–  Matt Heckles, Assistant Secretary, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development

Additional information

2016 Maryland Childhood Lead Registry Annual Surveillance Report

Graphic: Childhood blood lead surveillance statewide 1993-2016

Graphic: Childhood blood lead surveillance Baltimore City 1993-2016

Graphic: Change in 2016 Maryland blood testing rates by county

Lead Poisoning Prevention Week proclamation

Maryland Department of the Environment Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

Maryland lead law fact sheet

Maryland Department of Health

Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development

Baltimore City Health Department

U.S. EPA

Green & Healthy Homes Initiative

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Media Contacts:

DHCD: Sara Luell, sara.luell@maryland.gov301-429-7803

Health: Brittany Fowler, Brittany.fowler@maryland.gov410-767-1368

MDE: Jay Apperson, jay.apperson@maryland.gov410-537-3003



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