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GIVE Maryland: Giving Thanks, Giving Back and Supporting Maryland’s Local Nonprofits

Rebuilding Together Montgomery County utilizes GIVE Maryland donations to work with community partners to provides low-income homeowners with no-cost home repairs, energy efficiency upgrades, and accessibility modifications.

Rebuilding Together Montgomery County utilizes GIVE Maryland donations to work with community partners to provides low-income homeowners with no-cost home repairs, energy efficiency upgrades, and accessibility modifications.

As families across the state prepare to give thanks, Maryland’s nonprofits are also gearing up to celebrate and encourage giving through Giving Tuesday (#GivingTuesday). Now in its seventh year, Giving Tuesday is celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. This year, November 27 will kick off the charitable season, when many begin to focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. #GivingTuesday has become a movement that encourages and supports giving and philanthropy with events throughout the year and a growing catalog of resources.

In an effort to provide Marylander’s more opportunities to connect with nonprofits in their communities, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development created GIVE Maryland. The website links donors to the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that have been awarded Community Investment Tax Credits by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development for use as incentives to attract contributions to benefit local projects and services. Individuals and businesses who donate $500 or more to an approved project can earn state tax credits equal to 50% of the value of the contribution.

GIVE Maryland gives individuals and businesses the opportunity to tailor their contributions based on their interests and to search for and donate online to nonprofits that have available tax credits and are working in their own communities.

“We are committed to Governor Hogan’s directive to recognize, promote, and encourage Marylanders to give back to their communities,” said Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “GIVE Maryland makes charitable giving simpler and easier and strengthens our efforts to revitalize Maryland neighborhoods.”

This November 27, join #GivingTuesday and GIVE Maryland to make a difference in your community.



Create New Traditions in Your New Home with SmartBuy 2.0 and the Maryland Mortgage Program

As we say goodbye to summer and usher in the cooler months of fall, we also prepare ourselves for the traditions of the season. For some, those traditions are apple picking, hay rides, and gatherings with family and friends, while others may dream of starting brand new traditions in a new home this fall. However, many people do not believe they can make their dream of homeownership a reality due to student loans. Are your student loans holding you back from owning a home? If so, maybe Maryland SmartBuy can help.

What is Maryland SmartBuy 2.0?
Maryland SmartBuy 2.0 helps homebuyers with qualifying student debt purchase a home. If you have existing student debt with a minimum balance of $1,000, Maryland SmartBuy financing provides up to 15% of the home purchase price to pay off your outstanding student debt, up to a maximum program benefit of $40,000. With this revolutionary program, home buyers can choose from any eligible home available for purchase in Maryland that meets the Maryland Mortgage Program guidelines.

Am I eligible for SmartBuy 2.0?
The full student debt must be paid off at the time of the home purchase, and homebuyers must meet all eligibility requirements for the Maryland Mortgage program. However, if there are multiple borrowers on the loan, only one of the borrowers needs to completely pay off their student debt using the SmartBuy forgivable second loan.

Additionally, SmartBuy participants must live in the home for at least five years to fully achieve the loan forgiveness benefit.

How to Apply?
If you think that Maryland SmartBuy can help you achieve homeownership, don’t delay! Funding for the program is limited. Homebuyers are required to use an approved Maryland SmartBuy lender. Start creating new traditions in your new home today by contacting a lender!



Main Street Maryland Program Celebrates 20 Years of Economic Investment in Maryland’s Historic Business Districts

Main Street Maryland Program Celebrates 20 Years of Economic Investment in Maryland’s Historic Business Districts
Two new communities designated, bringing statewide total to 30 Main Streets

LAUREL, MD (October 24, 2018) – The State of Maryland today celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Main Street Maryland program by announcing two new designated communities: the Town of New Market and the City of Laurel, at an event held in downtown Laurel. Created in 1998 and managed by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, the Main Street Maryland program builds partnerships with local governments, nonprofits, and businesses to strengthen the economic development potential in Maryland’s historic downtown districts and neighborhoods.

“Main Street Maryland communities represent the very best of what our state has to offer,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “I encourage our citizens and visitors alike to celebrate and enjoy our great state by planning a trip to one of these vibrant Main Streets and enjoying the unique shops, activities, and restaurants available in each community.”

As the state coordinating program of the National Main Street Center, Main Street Maryland is part of a national network of 42 state programs across the country and is authorized to bestow official, nationally-recognized, Main Street designations for communities in Maryland. The City of Laurel is the first designated Maryland Main Street in Prince George’s County. The Town of New Market is the fifth Main Street community to be designated in Frederick County, making it the county with the most designated Main Streets. With these two designations, Main Street Maryland has now designated 30 communities statewide, supporting the locally-owned shops and restaurants, exciting events and festivals, and a variety of activities that provide an authentic Maryland experience for residents and visitors.

“We are pleased to announce New Market and Laurel as our newest, designated Main Street Maryland communities and help them celebrate this special mark of distinction,” said Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “The Main Street Maryland designation is effectively a seal of approval, recognizing that participating local governments and stakeholders are part of a statewide effort to improve the local economy, celebrate community character, preserve local history, and generate impressive economic returns.”

To date, neighborhood revitalization and redevelopment activities in designated Main Street Maryland communities have supported approximately 2,800 new and expanding businesses; created more than 10,000 jobs; leveraged nearly $305 million in private investment for nearly 3,900 projects, as well as nearly $210 million in public investment for more than 1,200 projects, and; sponsored almost 700,000 hours of volunteer work with a wage value of more than $19 million.

For more information about Main Street Maryland and the state’s 30 designated Main Streets, visit: http://www.mainstreetmaryland.org/.

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

 

 



Hogan Administration Announces Community Legacy Grants

For immediate release:
October 24, 2018
Contact:
Shareese Churchill shareese.churchill@maryland.gov
410-974-2316

Hogan Administration Announces Community Legacy Grants
Neighborhood revitalization program awards $8 million to 79 projects statewide

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today announced $8 million in Fiscal Year 2019 grant awards through the Community Legacy program managed by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. These grants will support 79 neighborhood revitalization and redevelopment projects in 22 jurisdictions across Maryland.

“Our administration is committed to supporting revitalization and local development projects across the state,” said Governor Hogan. “These investments energize our communities, boost our economy, and improve Marylanders’ quality of life. Together, we’re changing our communities – and Maryland – for the better.”

The Community Legacy program has awarded more than $33 million in grants for important projects across Maryland since the start of the Hogan administration. This program is one of Maryland’s most versatile revitalization programs and supports a wide variety of revitalization and redevelopment goals, including: business creation, expansion, and retention; streetscape improvements; homeownership and home rehabilitation incentives; commercial improvement programs; mixed-use development and community facilities; and cultural and recreational space.

Fiscal Year 2019 Community Legacy projects include:

  • A small business improvement program in Ocean City;
  • Streetscape and walkway improvements to Poplar Street in Myersville in Frederick County;
  • A home repair and rehabilitation program in Montgomery County;
  • Façade improvement programs in 22 communities including Mount Airy and Westminster in Carroll County, Oakland in Garrett County, Chestertown and Galena in Kent County, and Leonardtown in St. Mary’s County;
  • Roof repairs as part of the ongoing historic renovation project to create the Baltimore Food Hub in the Broadway East neighborhood of Baltimore; and
  • Interior restoration of the Allegany Museum in Cumberland.

“Community Legacy grants often serve as a catalyst to leverage additional public, private, and nonprofit investment for these vital projects,” said Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “We will continue to partner with local stakeholders and support their efforts to enhance the economic vitality, beauty, culture, and livability of Maryland’s neighborhoods.”

With this announcement of Community Legacy funding, the Hogan administration has announced more than $38 million for neighborhood revitalization in Fiscal Year 2019. In total, more than $275 million in neighborhood revitalization investment has been provided during the last four years for local parks, homelessness services, supporting small businesses, removing blight, and other community improvements in every jurisdiction in the state.

For a full list of Community Legacy award winners, visit https://dhcd.maryland.gov/Communities/Documents/cl/CommunityLegacyFY19.pdf.

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New Beginnings Start Here

New beginnings aren’t just reserved for new year’s resolutions or spring cleaning. The beginning of something new — whether it’s starting a new job, starting a family, exploring a new neighborhood, or purchasing a new home — is always an exciting time and deserves to be celebrated!

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, the Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP) can help make purchasing your first home a reality. Many first-time homebuyers have questions about financing and are skeptical to even start their journey to a new beginning to make homeownership a reality. A new beginning starts with answering these questions:

  • Where do I want to live?
  • What style of home do I want?
  • How much home can I afford?
  • How can I possibly afford the down payment?

MMP has solutions, education, and assistance to help navigate the homebuying process. Our unique programs and incentives include grants, down payment assistance, and 30 year fixed rate loans. It also includes customized assistance with the loan application process by working with one of our 80+ Maryland Mortgage Program approved lenders. Loan officers walk you step-by-step through the homebuying process, removing the burden and uncertainty of figuring out exactly what you qualify for and how to properly complete and submit paperwork.

New beginnings start with the Maryland Mortgage Program. Click here to get started!



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

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

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 fourth year of the five year Plan that ended June 30, 2018, and the draft CAPER details the progress DHCD made toward it housing and community development goals both in the last 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 Friday, November 09, 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:

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 at 10:30 a.m.
Caroline County Central Library
100 Market Street
Small Meeting Room
Denton, Maryland 21629

Thursday, October 25, 2018 at 10:30 a.m.
Fairview Branch Library
Small Meeting Room
Rt. 4 and Chaneyville Road
Owings, Maryland 20736

Friday, October 26, 2018 at 1:30 p.m.
Allegany County Office Complex
701 Kelly Road
Potomac Room 230
Cumberland, Maryland 21502

Monday, October 29, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.
Towson Library
320 York Road
Wilson Room
Towson, Maryland 21204

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 emailing 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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Rapid Results in Rapid Re-Housing 100-Day Challenge Highlighted During Montgomery County Regional Cabinet Meeting

On September 25, Secretary Ken Holt and Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development staff were in Montgomery County for the day for a regional cabinet meeting with Governor Larry Hogan. After the cabinet meeting, Secretary Holt toured Montgomery County to recognize, celebrate, and break ground on affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization projects and initiatives.

Secretary Holt was able to meet with and congratulate homelessness services providers from across the state as they convened in Rockville to celebrate the conclusion of the Rapid Re-Housing 100 Day Challenge. Through collaboration with the University of Maryland School of Social Work and the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development sponsored a year-long Learning Collaborative, working with 28 service providers from every corner of the state. Through this learning collaborative, the providers learned best practices, strategies to increase landlord participation, and how to utilize data more effectively, with the ultimate goal of dramatically increasing the number of placements of households experiencing homelessness back into permanent housing.

At the conclusion of the challenge, the providers collectively housed 380 households, compared to 144 families housed during the first 100 days of 2018. With the skills and experience gained through this collaborative, these same providers have almost tripled the number of households that they have been able to place.

In addition to celebrating the great work being done statewide, Secretary Holt joined Governor Larry Hogan and Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford to recognize the strides being made in Montgomery County. Governor Hogan presented Uma Ahluwalia, Director of the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services and Amanda Harris, Chief of Services to End and Prevent Homelessness for Montgomery County, with a Governor’s Citation for the Montgomery County Inside/Not Outside Initiative. Since January 2016, Montgomery County has placed more than 386 chronically homeless individuals into permanent housing, becoming about a dozen people shy of being one of the largest communities in the country to effectively end chronic homelessness. More than 150 of those placements have occurred since January 2018. This follows on the heels of Montgomery County effectively ending veteran homelessness at the end of 2015.

Additional stops during the day included a groundbreaking in Silver Spring for affordable housing space for artists, a park plaza tour in Gaithersburg and a meeting with the Maryland Department of Disabilities and a team working on affordable housing for adults with disabilities in Rockville. For more information and to see photos from the day, visit our Facebook Album.



Main Attractions: Maryland’s “Queen City” of Cumberland is a Mountain Gem

When one drives through Cumberland on Interstate 68, it is difficult to not be struck by the combination of stunning mountain views and spires from churches. Perhaps even more impressive is Cumberland’s array of family-friendly shops and activities offered on its walkable, recently revitalized Main Street. Since FY15, the city has been aided in recent redevelopment efforts by more than $1.1 million in funding from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, including a $50,000 Operating Assistance Grant in FY18 for the renovation of the Cumberland Theatre.

Formerly the second-largest city in Maryland, Cumberland has played different roles throughout its history. Like its neighboring Main Street Maryland community, the city of Frostburg, Cumberland was a prominent location on the B&O Railroad. It was also a military outpost used by George Washington during the French and Indian War, as well as a thriving mining and industrial town. Though the present-day city has had its difficulties, they have weathered the storm and are on the rise, says Downtown Development Commission Executive Director Mikayla Dodge. A native of Glen Burnie, Dodge went to Frostburg State University and fell in love with the area, and she’s not alone. “It’s got a big-city feeling packed into a small town,” said Dodge of her adopted city. “When you’re driving up here, a lot of people have told me they didn’t realize there was a whole different world. We’re up here in the mountains, but there’s plenty to do and plenty of places to be able to go.”

Cumberland’s downtown, located along Baltimore Street and the immediately surrounding roads, comes alive quite often. A recently-opened stage in the center of downtown, the McCoury Family Stage, has attracted musical acts from all over the area. A Fall Festival on October 13 will run 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and feature live performances, offerings from local shops and restaurants, and more. Events held in the downtown mall area frequently prove popular, like August’s Weinerfest event, a celebration of 100 years in business for local favorite Coney Island Famous Weiners. That event, Dodge said, highlighted the spirit of unity she feels will drive Cumberland to keep improving. “I’d love to see that more often. I know with Weinerfest, all week, their lines were out the door,” Dodge said. “We’re working together. The businesses partner with us, with each other. For all these organizations to come together, that means progress.”

Inclusion in the Main Street Maryland program has been unquestionably beneficial, said Dodge. “It’s just a great resource to go to with any questions I have, any concerns. I can write other managers and see what’s working in their communities. We get responses from all different managers, and it’s just a huge benefit.”

In the next five years, Dodge, who is relatively new to her role, wants to dispel the notion that there’s little to do in Cumberland. When she meets someone who says they’re having a hard time finding activities, Dodge said she can usually think of several options right away, and the reception from community members has been positive. “We keep getting bigger and better. People tell me ‘Hey, I have an idea!’ and to see people who’ve not previously been involved in the community is huge.”

“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



Applications Open for Keep Maryland Beautiful Grants

Applications Open for Keep Maryland Beautiful Grants
$200,000 Available for Community Beautification, Greening and Environmental Initiatives

The Maryland Environmental Trust, a unit of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, is now accepting applications for the Keep Maryland Beautiful grants program.

The five grants being offered help volunteer and nonprofit groups, communities and land trusts support environmental education projects, litter removal, citizen stewardship and solve natural resource issues in urban and rural areas. The deadline to apply for funding is Nov. 15, 2018. Awards will be announced in spring 2019.

The Keep Maryland Beautiful grants will be offered in two categories: Environmental Education, Community Initiatives and Cleanups for community groups, local governments and nonprofits, and Land Trust Capacity, Excellence and Stewardship for local land trusts. Applicants may only apply for one of the offered grants.

The Maryland Environmental Trust awards Keep Maryland Beautiful grants annually to support the removal of thousands of pounds of litter and revitalization of public lands and waterways in an effort to enhance and expand local capacity to conserve the state’s resources.

Funding for the Keep Maryland Beautiful grants program is provided by the Maryland Department of Transportation, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and Maryland Environmental Trust.

“Keep Maryland Beautiful is an incredible multi-agency partnership supporting local cleanup and beautification efforts that promote environmental awareness and revitalize neighborhoods,” Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth C. Holt said. “We are pleased to have committed more than $500,000 since 2017 to support these grants to empower community stakeholders to turn their energy into action to create and maintain litter-free streets, clear waterways, and sustainable practices for a clean and green future.”

Announced in April 2018, the Fiscal Year 2018 awards included 82 grants totaling more than $300,000 for beautification projects, community cleanup activities and environmental education programs in 22 counties and Baltimore City.

“Keep Maryland Beautiful is one of the leading programs through which our state supports local environmental stewardship,” Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton said. “Through the work of Maryland Environmental Trust and the support of our valued partners, these grants inspire and engage conservation in every community.”

The Maryland Department of Transportation has pledged $50,000 a year to the program for five years, starting in fiscal year 2018, totaling $250,000.

“This commitment shows we can meet day-to-day transportation needs and still be a good steward of the environment,” Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn said. “By working together we can beautify and change Maryland for the better.”

Grants and funding amount available are:

  • Aileen Hughes Grant of up to $2,000 is awarded to an individual representing a Maryland land trust for outstanding leadership, partnership and innovation in a conservation project or organization development.
  • Bill James Environmental Grant of up to $1,000 is awarded to school groups, science and ecology clubs and other nonprofit youth groups for proposed environmental education projects.
  • Clean Up & Green Up Maryland Grant of up to $5,000 is awarded to local governments, community groups and nonprofit organizations to promote neighborhood beautification and cleanliness by increasing litter removal, greening activities, community education and citizen stewardship.
  • Janice Hollman Grant of up to $10,000 is awarded to land trusts to increase capacity, support programming and innovation, and foster stronger, better connected trusts that will protect all natural resources and enhance the lives of citizens and generations to come.
  • Margaret Rosch Jones Grant of up to $2,000 is awarded to nonprofits or communities for an ongoing project or activity that has demonstrated success in solving an environmental priority. This award recognizes those organizations that have been actively educating people in their communities about community beautification, litter prevention or addressing the causes of a local environmental challenge.


Be Prepared for Homeownership

Be Prepared for Homeownership

There’s a lot involved in buying a home. It takes months of planning and preparation. Here are some ways to get prepared for homeownership.

Take a homebuyer education class.
Homebuyer education can be a powerful tool for helping you get your financial footing when preparing for homeownership. A housing counselor can explain what documents you will need for the homebuying process. They can also help you make a budget and refer you to helpful, local resources.

For Maryland Mortgage Program loans, completing homebuyer education is a requirement. Classes can be taken in person or online. Beginning Oct. 1, loan recipients can take an online HUD-approved homebuyer education program for a loan associated with a HUD-approved product. Additionally, a homebuyer education program certificate approved in one county can be used in another county. For homebuyer education classes in your area go to https://mmp.maryland.gov/Pages/homebuyer-education.aspx.

Get your finances in order.
Review your credit report to be sure it’s accurate. If there are discrepancies, get them taken care of before getting your loan. A lender, such as one of our state-approved Maryland Mortgage Program lenders, can help you get started with this step and tell you exactly which documents and information you need. For a list of approved lenders, go to https://mmp.maryland.gov/Pages/Find-A-Lender.aspx.

Develop a wish list and prioritize it.
Your dream home is out there. Creating a wish list and prioritizing it will help you identify the type of house you want and even location in which you want to live. Most homebuyers want certain features in the kitchen, living room, master bedroom, and baths. Do you want an open floor plan or an eat-in kitchen? Do you need a one- or two- car garage? Or is street parking fine? Do you need two bathrooms or will one suffice?

Location can make a difference in price and on your wish list. Define the area you want to live in by ZIP code or highlight the neighborhood you are interested in on a map. If you have children, you may want to live in a certain school district. Do you want to live near a park or is right in the middle of downtown better for you? Finalizing your needs and wants, before you go home shopping, can save you time, money, and patience.

The Maryland Mortgage Program can help you prepare for homeownership by connecting you with lenders to get you started. Go to mmp.maryland.gov for more information.



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