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Governor Hogan Announces $192.9 Million in Additional Emergency Rental Assistance Awards to Local Jurisdictions

Governor Hogan Announces $192.9 Million in Additional Emergency Rental Assistance Awards to Local Jurisdictions
Funds Support Local Initiatives to Help Tenants Affected By COVID-19 Pandemic
State to Reopen Assisted Housing Relief Program

ANNAPOLIS, MD (May 17, 20201) — Governor Larry Hogan today announced an additional $192.9 million in funding has been awarded to local governments and service providers through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. These federal funds will support local Maryland Eviction Prevention Partnership initiatives that assist tenants whose ability to pay rent has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor also announced that the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) will reopen its Assisted Housing Relief Program, which provides rental assistance to tenants in properties financed by the department.

“Throughout the pandemic, Maryland has had one of the strongest eviction moratoriums in the nation to keep renters safe and secure in their homes despite economic hardships related to COVID-19,” said Governor Hogan. “We continue to work at the state and local levels to help tenants and landlords bring rent payments current, giving them firmer footing on Maryland’s path to recovery.”

Based on the recommendations of a bipartisan advisory group, federal emergency rental assistance was allocated as part of a $1.08 billion supplemental budget submitted by the governor and passed by the General Assembly. This allocation included nearly $193 million for the Maryland Eviction Prevention Partnership. The partnership supports local rental assistance programs administered by 22 local jurisdictions and the United Way of Central Maryland.

Maryland Eviction Prevention Partnership: This funding is in addition to $143 million in federal assistance that was allocated directly to eight jurisdictions with populations over 200,000. Tenants wishing to apply for rental assistance should visit rentrelief.maryland.gov or call 877-546-5595 to find current program status and application information in their local jurisdiction. Most local programs are open or expected to open in spring of 2021. A full list of county allocations for Maryland Eviction Prevention Partnership awards is available here.

Assisted Housing Relief Program: DHCD will reopen the Assisted Housing Relief Program with a $40 million allocation. The program serves rental units in multifamily projects financed by the department’s Community Development Administration using state funds or federal resources. In 2020, the Assisted Housing Relief program paid $15.2 million and covered 18,430 months of rental payments.

Tenants in eligible properties should contact their property management company for application information. Tenant applications will be collected and compiled by the property management company and submitted to the department as one single program application for the property. Property managers will receive direct payments from the department to bring rental delinquencies current.

Future Funding: Some of the remaining federal emergency rental assistance will be reserved so that it can be rapidly allocated based on need as local programs are deployed and to support case management, administration, and outreach to ensure eligible landlords and tenants, including minority populations and those in especially hard-hit areas, are aware of the relief. For more information, visit rentrelief.maryland.gov.

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Sara Luell, Director of Communications
sara.luell@maryland.gov



Legal Notice: Notice of Public Hearing – Residential Rental Housing Projects

Notice is hereby given that the Community Development Administration (the “Administration”), a unit of the Division of Development Finance of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, will conduct a public hearing from 12:00 pm to 12:15 pm, on Friday May 21, 2021.

DUE TO THE COVID 19 EMERGENCY, THIS PUBLIC HEARING WILL BE CONDUCTED SOLELY VIA TELECONFERENCE. PARTIES INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING IN THE PUBLIC HEARING SHOULD CALL (toll free) 1-800-201-5203 PIN: 891244 DURING THE PUBLIC HEARING TIME.

For more information, visit: https://dhcd.maryland.gov/Documents/TEFRA/2021/Notice-05-11.pdf



Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Announces Fiscal Year 2022 Application Round for State Revitalization Programs

Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Announces Fiscal Year 2022 Application Round for State Revitalization Programs
Funding Available from Community Legacy, Strategic Demolition Fund-Statewide, Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Initiative, National Capital Strategic Economic Development Fund and Seed Community Development Anchor Institution Fund

NEW CARROLLTON, MD (May 11, 2021) – The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development today announced the Fiscal Year 2022 application round for five State Revitalization Programs will open on May 17.

These programs offer funding to support local housing, community and economic development and other 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 2022 budget includes the following* for State Revitalization programs:

  • Community Legacy: $6 million 
  • Strategic Demolition Fund – Statewide: $7 million
  • Strategic Demolition Fund – Project C.O.R.E.: $7 million
  • Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Initiative (BRNI): $12 million Capital, $500,000 Operating
  • National Capital Strategic Economic Development Fund: $7 million Capital, $200,000 Operating
  • Seed Community Development Anchor Institution Fund: $10 million

*All FY22 funding levels are subject to change.

If this is your first time applying to one of the aforementioned State Revitalization Programs, contact a regional project manager for more information and to determine your eligibility. For a map of regions and additional contact information, visit https://dhcd.maryland.gov/Communities/Documents/SRP/PM-Map-ContactInfo.pdf.

Applications will be due on Thursday, June 24, 2021, at 3:00 p.m. The application portal will be open Monday, May 17.

Community Legacy and Strategic Demolition Fund-Statewide projects must be in a Sustainable Community, or in an Opportunity Zone in Allegany, Garrett, Somerset and Wicomico Counties. 

In addition to being located in a Sustainable Community, BRNI projects should be located in an area targeted by an eligible BRNI applicant.

National Capital Strategic Economic Development Fund applicant projects should be in Sustainable Communities located: 1) in Prince George’s County, at least in part, within the boundary created by Interstate 495 in the State and the District of Columbia; OR 2) in Montgomery County, within an Enterprise Zone or the boundary created by: a) Prince George’s County, b) Maryland Route 200, c) Interstate 270, d) Interstate 495 to the Maryland state line, and e) The District of Columbia.

Seed Community Development Anchor Institution Program projects must be located in an area of blight and support the improvement of a neighborhood that surrounds an anchor institution. Projects DO NOT need to be located inside of a Sustainable Community, but projects in Sustainable Communities will be given priority consideration for funding.

To see your jurisdiction’s Sustainable Community or Opportunity Zone boundaries, use the online revitalization mapping tool found at this website: https://www.dhcd.state.md.us/GIS/revitalize/.

Projects should help achieve the strategies outlined in a local government’s Sustainable Communities plan. All Sustainable Community plans can be found at https://dhcd.maryland.gov/Communities/Pages/dn/communities.aspx.

Application training will be hosted online this year, with dates to be determined. The website will be updated with training dates and registration links.

For additional program and application information, visit https://dhcd.maryland.gov/Communities/Pages/StateRevitalizationPrograms/.

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Sara Luell, Director, Office of Public Information
sara.luell@maryland.gov



Maryland Mortgage Program Recognizes Top Lender and Realtor Partners

Maryland Mortgage Program Recognizes Top Lender and Realtor Partners

NEW CARROLLTON, MD (April 16, 2021) – The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development today announced the top performing lender and realtor partners of the Maryland Mortgage Program during a virtual awards event. The department recognized industry partners for their exemplary performance and celebrated the continued partnership of these housing industry professionals despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the second year in a row, the Maryland Mortgage Program surpassed $1 billion in loan reservations. This achievement is a testament to both the department and its partners’ ability to adapt to changes in the industry resulting from the new safety measures related to the pandemic, including innovative approaches to showing houses, homebuyer education, loan application intake and processing, and new closing procedures.

The Maryland Mortgage Program provides fixed-rate mortgages that feature down payment and closing cost assistance, tax incentives, and student debt relief through the popular Maryland SmartBuy initiative. Under Governor Larry Hogan’s leadership, the program has provided more than $4.1 billion in mortgages, more than $98.5 million in down payment assistance, and more than $20.2 million in student debt relief over the course of his administration. This year alone, 4,383 Maryland individuals and families purchased a home through the program.  

“Homeownership is the backbone to building strong communities in Maryland,” said Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “The Maryland Mortgage Program offers crucial assistance to homebuyers facing barriers to purchasing a home, enabling them to secure a sustainable mortgage and helping them create generational wealth for their family.”

The Maryland Mortgage Program 2020 Top Performers are:

  • Top producing loan officer: Ryan Paquin
  • Top producing realtor: James Archie
  • Top producing lender: First Home Mortgage Corporation
  • Gold-tier lenders: Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc.; NFM, Inc. dba NFM Lending / Main Street Loans; PrimeLending, A PlainsCapital Company; FitzGerald Financial, A Division of TowneBank Mortgage; and Meridian Bank
  • Silver-tier lenders: Direct Mortgage Loans; George  Mason  Mortgage; Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC; Homeside Financial; C&F Mortgage Corporation; NVR Mortgage; Academy Mortgage Corporation; First Heritage Mortgage, LLC; Fairway Independent  Mortgage; Caliber Home Loans; Waterstone Mortgage Corporation; Sandy Spring Bank; Presidential Bank; Southern Trust  Mortgage; Ameris Bank; WesBanco Bank
  • Rising Star: McLean Mortgage

For more information about the Maryland Mortgage Program, visit mmp.maryland.gov.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Sara Luell, Director of Public Information
sara.luell@maryland.gov



LEGAL NOTICE: Updating Maryland’s Five Year Consolidated Plan and 2021 Annual Action Plan

LEGAL NOTICE

UPDATING MARYLAND’S FIVE YEAR CONSOLIDATED PLAN AND 2021 ANNUAL ACTION PLAN 

Under the guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), notice is hereby given that the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) will hold a combined, second set of public hearings on its new Draft Five Year Consolidated Plan (2020-2025) and first set of public hearings for the 2021 Annual Action Plan.  

The Consolidated Plan is a five-year planning document required by HUD that sets out overall Statewide goals and priorities for housing, community development, and economic development activities.  Special emphasis is given under the Plan to provide assistance for extremely low-, low-, and moderate-income persons.  

The Consolidated Plan also makes it possible for DHCD, public housing authorities, local governments, nonprofit organizations, community action agencies and others to apply for funding under HUD’s competitive grant programs.  Local public housing authority Plans must be consistent with the State’s Consolidated Plan, and USDA Rural Development housing programs and Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits are also coordinated with the Plan.   Lastly, while not directly covered by the Consolidated Plan, HUD funding allocations for the Section 8 Certificate and Voucher programs may be made in a way that enables jurisdictions to carry out their Consolidated Plan. 

In addition to being a planning document, the Consolidated Plan also serves as the State’s application to HUD for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME), Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG), Housing Opportunity With AIDS (HOPWA) and National Housing Trust Fund (HTF) funds.  For 2020,  DHCD will receive in $7.9 million CDBG funds, $6.2 million in HOME funds, $1.1 million ESG funds  and a total of $2.1 million HOPWA funds for the State’s Rural Program and HOPWA funds on behalf of Montgomery and Frederick Counties; $4.4 in HTF funds.  For the 2021 Annual Action Plan, the State will receive $7.9 million in CDBG funds, $6.4 million in HOME funds, $1.1 million in ESG funds  and a total of $2.2 million in HOPWA funds for the State’s Rural Program and HOPWA funds on behalf of Montgomery and Frederick Counties.  HTF funding for 2021 has not been released.  These funds are used primarily in the State’s rural areas, as many communities, including Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George’s Counties, as well as the Cities of Annapolis, Baltimore, Bowie, Cumberland, Frederick, Gaithersburg, Hagerstown and Salisbury prepare their own Consolidated Plans and receive their own funding directly from HUD. 

Consolidated Plan 2020-2025 Process

In developing its Consolidated Plan, the State determined it will continue to focus its resources on four main priorities Revitalizing Communities, Expanding the Supply of Decent Affordable Housing, Providing Homeownership Opportunities and Reducing Homelessness. DHCD has written the Draft 2020-2025 Consolidated Plan, which will be released for 5 days of public comment (including written comment) beginning Monday, April 19, 2021 and ending Friday, April 23, 2021.   The final version of the Plan will be submitted to HUD in May. The public review and comment period for the 2020-2025 Consolidated Plan are in accordance with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) guidance issued April 1, 2020, as part of its COVID-19 response. 

2021 Annual Action Plan Process

At this point, nothing has been written for the 2021 Annual Plan update.  These hearings are to gather initial input about what should be in the 2021 Annual Plan. DHCD will then write the Draft 2021 Annual Plan, which will be released for 30 days of public comment (including written comment).  After the public has had several weeks to review the Draft 2021 Annual Plan, a second set of hearings will be held.  Additional comments, recommendations, and suggestions will be taken during these hearings (and during the full public comment period), the final version of the 2021 Annual Plan will then be submitted to HUD. 

Hearings

The State will jointly hold two public hearings; the second set of hearings on the 2020-2025 Consolidated Plan and the first set of hearings on the 2021 Annual Action Plan. 

The State will participate in the hearings by video and telephone conference, with no physical meeting location. If you wish to participate in the public hearing via video, please email janai.streat@maryland.gov to receive a link. These real-time virtual public hearings will take place on:

Monday, April 19, 2021, at 6:00 p.m. 

Join by phone: 1 617-675-4444‬ PIN: 185 082 732 8897‬#

Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. 

Join by phone: 1 617-675-4444‬ PIN: 846 941 714 2720‬#

The Consolidated plan can be found at https://dhcd.maryland.gov/Pages/ConsolidatedPlan.aspx. The State will make every effort to accommodate those with disabilities by providing the meetings in both audio and visual format. Persons requiring a translator should request one at least three days prior to the virtual hearing they plan to attend. Any questions or comments should be directed to the address or e-mail listed below: 

Mrs. Ja’Nai 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



Governor Hogan Proclaims National Community Development Week in Maryland

Governor Hogan Proclaims National Community Development Week in Maryland
New video highlights successful community development project in Cecil County

ANNAPOLIS, MD (April 5, 2021) – Governor Larry Hogan today proclaimed the week of April 5-9, 2021 as National Community Development Week in the State of Maryland to celebrate federal redevelopment resources and their positive impact on Maryland’s communities. Three federal programs – the Community Development Block Grant, the Emergency Solutions Grants Program, and the HOME Investment Partnerships Program – are administered by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. To mark the occasion, Governor Hogan also announced the premiere of a new video which highlights a successful project in Cecilton (Cecil County) with significant federal and state funding.

“All Marylanders and all Americans deserve to live in communities that provide opportunities for jobs, housing, retail enterprise, recreation, and a high quality of life,” said Governor Hogan. “These federal programs complement state resources and further our mission to change Maryland for the better by supporting public purpose projects, affordable housing opportunities, and homelessness prevention services.”

Produced by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, the Town of Cecilton and Maryland State Ad Agency, a division of Maryland Public Television, the Community Development Week video showcases two redevelopment projects on Bohemia Avenue in Cecilton that will create affordable housing for seniors, as well as a child care and HeadStart education center. To view the video visit: http://bit.ly/CeciltonVideo.

Since 1974, the Community Development Block Grant Program has provided Maryland’s local governments with resources to improve communities, primarily by supporting facilities, infrastructure, and other public projects and services for low and moderate income Marylanders. The HOME Investment Partnerships Program has supported affordable housing opportunities for low and moderate income Marylanders since 1992 by facilitating the new construction of housing, rehabilitation of existing homes and rental properties, down payment assistance for new homeowners, and rental assistance programs. The Emergency Solutions Grants Program has provided important resources to local governments and service providers to prevent and reduce homelessness in Maryland through sheltering, stable housing, and other necessary services since 2006.

“Throughout their history, these federal resources have consistently received bipartisan support from the U.S. Congress because they have an incredible record of success,” said Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “We will continue to advocate for the continuation of these important programs, and the department will continue to prudently deploy these resources  to improve Maryland’s communities.”

For more information about National Community Development Week, visit: https://coscda.org/advocacy/national-community-development-week/.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Sara Luell, Director of Public Information
sara.luell@maryland.gov



Governor Hogan Submits $1.08 Billion Supplemental Budget Focused on Rental Assistance, Higher Education, and Transportation

Governor Hogan Submits $1.08 Billion Supplemental Budget Focused on Rental Assistance, Higher Education, and Transportation

More Than $250 Million for Rental Assistance, Including Eviction Prevention, Rent Relief, and Case Management
More Than $275 Million for Higher Education and Community Colleges
More Than $230 Million for Capital Transportation Projects

ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today submitted a $1.08 billion supplemental budget for Fiscal Year 2022 that expands critical rental assistance programs, restores key funding for transportation infrastructure projects, and increases funding for minority-serving colleges and universities.

Rental Assistance. Based on the recommendations of a bipartisan advisory group, the supplemental budget allocates federal emergency rental assistance of $258 million, including:

  • $193 million through the Maryland Eviction Prevention Partnership, which supports local rental and utility assistance programs. An additional $143 million in federal assistance was allocated directly to eight jurisdictions with populations over 200,000. All local programs are expected to be open for tenants and landlords no later than May 1, and some are currently accepting applications. Prospective applicants are encouraged to check with their local jurisdiction for more information.
  • $40 million through the Assisted Housing Relief Program, which serves rental units in multifamily projects financed by DHCD’s Community Development Administration using state funds or federal resources. Applications for the program are expected to open in mid-April.
  • $20 million will be reserved, so that it can be rapidly deployed based on need as the programs roll out.
  • $5 million for program case management, administration, and outreach to ensure eligible landlords and tenants, including minority populations and those in especially hard-hit areas, are aware of the relief.

“More than half a billion dollars has been dedicated to helping renters in need since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Governor Hogan. “With one of the strongest eviction moratoriums in the nation in place, we have been able to help Marylanders stay in their homes. This relief is another essential part of bringing back economic security for thousands of residents.”

“The governor’s supplemental budget will ensure that this relief will be distributed in an equitable manner to those across the state who need it most,” said Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “This forthcoming rental support builds on more than $100 million of state, local, and federal funds that were allocated for rental assistance and eviction prevention last year.”

Read more: https://governor.maryland.gov/2021/03/17/governor-hogan-submits-1-08-billion-supplemental-budget-focused-on-rental-assistance-higher-education-and-transportation/



Hogan Administration Announces Fiscal Year 2021 State Revitalization Program Awards

Hogan Administration Announces Fiscal Year 2021 State Revitalization Program Awards

More than $27 million will support 157 projects and activities

New Carrollton, MD (March 9, 2021) – Today Governor Larry Hogan announced awardees from the Fiscal Year 2021 application round for three state revitalization programs administered by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. The Community Legacy program, the Strategic Demolition Fund, and the Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Initiative will provide more than $27 million to 157 projects in 19 counties and Baltimore City that support community development and economic growth.

“Through the state’s revitalization programs, we have a comprehensive toolbox to work with local governments, nonprofits, residents and other partners to improve their communities,” said Governor Hogan. “These awards will create jobs and support Maryland’s continued economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The three programs will support revitalization and redevelopment projects and activities including: business expansion and retention; streetscape improvements; homeownership and home rehabilitation incentives; commercial improvement programs; mixed-use development, and demolition activities. This state funding is expected to leverage more than $100 million in additional public, private and nonprofit investment

Considered one of the state’s most flexible revitalization programs, Community Legacy awarded more than $6 million to 64 projects in designated Sustainable Communities throughout Maryland. Some of these projects include pedestrian streetlights to enhance downtown Chestertown (Kent County); stabilization of a historic African-American theater in Baltimore City that serves as the home for Arena Players, and; acquisition of the Cannery Building in downtown Cambridge (Dorchester County) to enhance and preserve the area which features the now world-famous “Take My Hand” mural of Harriet Tubman.

The Strategic Demolition Fund awarded more than $8 million to 11 projects, including renovation of a historic building in the City of Frederick for use by the city’s Arts Council and the community, and revitalization of the historically African-American neighborhood of Jonathan Street in the City of Hagerstown (Washington County).

The Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Initiative, designed to support redevelopment in communities within the Baltimore Beltway, awarded $13 million to 82 projects. Projects include: acquisition and renovation of vacant properties to create homeownership opportunities and eliminate blight in Baltimore City’s Cherry Hill neighborhood; funding for Black Women Build – Baltimore’s continued work along Etting Street to acquire and rehab vacant properties while teaching valuable trade skills and promoting local workforce development, and; ongoing development of the Social Settlement House in the Arlington community to increase space for after-school programs, job readiness training, and mental health and social services case management.

“These programs have a proven track record of success in cities and towns in every corner of our state,” said Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “Every community we help revitalize improves the economic and cultural health of Maryland.”

A full list of the awardees is available at http://bit.ly/FY21SRPAwards. For more information about the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and its revitalization programs, visit https://dhcd.maryland.gov/Communities/Pages/StateRevitalizationPrograms.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Sara Luell, Director of Communications
sara.luell@maryland.gov


State of Maryland Designates New Sustainable Community in Caroline County

State of Maryland Designates New Sustainable Community in Caroline County

Town of Goldsboro will become 122nd Sustainable Community in Maryland

New Carrollton, MD (March 4, 2021) – The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development today announced that the Town of Goldsboro has been named Maryland’s newest Sustainable Community. With this designation, Goldsboro becomes the sixth Sustainable Community in Caroline County and the 122nd in the state. The Sustainable Community program provides local governments with a revitalization “toolbox” of state resources including programs, loans, grants and tax credits that can support brick and mortar community projects, small business development, job creation, and tourism.

Town of Goldsboro train station

The Town of Goldsboro plans to renovate the historic train station to create a welcome center.

The Town of Goldsboro is located in Caroline County, north of Denton and east of Centreville near the border with Delaware. Formerly known as Oldtown, it was incorporated in 1906. The Town’s commercial area is within the Caroline County North County Enterprise Zone, which will encourage industry and business development. As the newest Sustainable Community, the Town of Goldsboro plans to build off business and community strengths. The Town’s Sustainable Community key outcomes include creating a beautification and streetscape strategy, promoting home upgrades, providing more senior housing opportunities, and encouraging the development of infill lots, especially for business, housing and community assets. One goal is to renovate the historic train station to create a welcome center for the Town.

“The designation of the Town of Goldsboro builds on the success of Sustainable Communities in bringing community planning, resources and revitalization to urban, suburban and rural communities across Maryland,” said Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development will continue to work with our state and local partners to provide technical support, resources and renewal to Sustainable Communities.”

To date, 118 municipal- and 4 county-level Sustainable Communities have been designated, including 57 unincorporated areas. They are as diverse as Frostburg in western Maryland, the Town of Ocean City on the eastern shore, unincorporated areas of Calvert County and large urban jurisdictions in central Maryland. For more information on the Sustainable Communities program, visit https://dhcd.maryland.gov/Communities/Pages/dn/default.aspx

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Sara Luell, Director of Communications


Hogan Administration Launches New “SpeedSurvey” Website; Announces Progress in Expanding Broadband Access for Students

Hogan Administration Launches New “SpeedSurvey” Website; Announces Progress in Expanding Broadband Access for Students
All Marylanders encouraged to participate in “speed survey”;
$15M grant award will expand access for unserved students across the state

NEW CARROLLTON, MD (February 24, 2021) – Governor Hogan today announced significant progress being made by the Governor’s Office of Rural Broadband to expand high-speed broadband access for students and to improve data collection of Marylanders’ internet speeds, which will be used to direct future funding and projects.

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that access to high-speed internet is essential for all Marylanders,” said Governor Hogan. “My administration has been proactive and continues to build upon our successes to bring broadband to underserved communities including students who need it most.”

As part of today’s announcement, the state of Maryland has launched the “SpeedSurvey” website. Residents can visit https://maryland.speedsurvey.org to test the speed of their internet connection on computers, tablets and smartphones or to report an address that does not have service.

“We encourage every Marylander to take part in the SpeedSurvey,” said Kenrick Gordon, Director of the Governor’s Office of Rural Broadband. “The data we obtain from the survey will help us better understand Marylanders’ needs as well as verify Federal Communications Commission data which will help our planning efforts and ultimately drive more federal dollars to the state.”

Governor Hogan also announced today that Collaborative Solutions Maryland (CSM), a 501(c)3 corporation formed by the University System of Maryland to provide network services, has been awarded $15 million to create a new wireless network across Maryland for educational access. The network will initially serve K-12 students and is expected to expand to post-secondary education in the future. Operational costs will be shared by participating school districts, and the local school districts will coordinate student access to the network.

CSM has already begun working with design firms on proposals for the network and is facilitating a feasibility study to identify jurisdictions where unserved students are located. The network is expected to touch all 18 rural counties as well as other unserved areas of the state.

To save on construction costs and speed development, the network will make use of existing state and local “vertical assets” such as communications towers, water towers and buildings. The first counties will start receiving service this summer and the entire network is expected to be complete by the end of the year. 

“The problem of the digital divide is an enormous ongoing societal issue that impacts both rural and urban areas. The challenges related to continuity of learning in the K12 area during the pandemic have placed a whole new spotlight on the problem,” said Gary Davis, chairman of the Maryland K12 Technology Leadership Forum, a key partner in the project. “This grant for an education-specific wireless network is a tremendous first step in addressing this challenge for the longer term.”

This project builds upon prior work of the Office of Rural Broadband during the pandemic to expand access to unserved students including grants for school and library broadband networks and to provide wireless devices to students in both rural and urban areas across the state.

Housed in the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, the Office of Rural Broadband was established by executive order in 2017 to expand broadband capabilities statewide in rural areas of Maryland. For more information, visit dhcd.maryland.gov/RuralBroadband.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Sara Luell, Director of Communications
sara.luell@maryland.gov







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