Baltimore Mobility Program: A Better Model for Housing Vouchers?

April 15, 2014

A recent article in Governing Magazine highlighted a study on the Baltimore Mobility Program (BMP) and interviewed the researcher to find out what other cities may be able to learn from the Baltimore City approach. The BMP puts an innovated twist on traditional housing vouchers by utilizing counselors, reaching out to landlords, and providing a greater financial assistance to help ensure that participants are able to move into a diverse, low crime, low poverty neighborhoods, rather than another  high poverty neighborhood.  As reported in Governing Magazine’s Human Services E-Newsletter:

A new article from Stefanie DeLuca, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University, and Jennifer Darrah, a lecturer at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, suggests that a cocktail of intensive counseling, aggressive landlord outreach and slightly higher financial aid may help more housing voucher programs succeed. The authors reached this conclusion after conducting in-depth interviews with 110 Baltimore families who participated in or applied for the Baltimore Mobility Program (BMP), which has helped move more than 2,000 low-income African-American families from high-poverty, highly segregated city neighborhoods to more diverse, higher-income suburbs since 2003. The program is similar to the federal Housing Choice Voucher program, but includes additional court-ordered requirements to ensure that destination neighborhoods are not predominantly poor, black and on public assistance.

DeLuca and Darrah found that more than two-thirds of family participants chose to live in their new neighborhoods for longer than the required period — one year — and some remained there eight years later. That’s important because past empirical studies of housing vouchers have found that families usually don’t move to higher income, more diverse neighborhoods and if they do, they soon return to poor, segregated city neighborhoods.

But the bigger finding, according to Deluca, was that parents said their decision-making process for choosing neighborhoods had changed. After families had relocated, about 60 percent of parents experienced a shift in how they decided where to live, placing a higher value on certain criteria, such as high-quality schools, quiet neighborhoods and a diverse community.

The article’s author, J.B. Woodard, interviewed Ms. DeLuca on her research into the Baltimore Mobility Program. For more information read the full interview in Governing Magazine’s Human Services E-Newsletter or visit the Baltimore Mobility Program (BMP) website.


Second Annual Green School Summit

April 15, 2014

GSS-no-sponsors1-e1394228932210The US Green Building Council of Maryland Green Schools Committee has announced the 2nd Annual DC MD NoVA Green School Summit, The Intersection of STEM and Sustainability. This year’s event will be at Cardozo High School in DC on April 26th.  The Committee designed the summit to bring together all major stakeholders in green school construction.

The second annual Green School Summit will also serve as the culmination of  the DC Green Schools Challenge – See more at: http://www.usgbcncr.org/event/GSS#sthash.cayG1J7z.dpuf
The second annual Green School Summit will also serve as the culmination of  the DC Green Schools Challenge – See more at: http://www.usgbcncr.org/event/GSS#sthash.cayG1J7z.dpuf
The second annual Green School Summit will also serve as the culmination of  the DC Green Schools Challenge – See more at: http://www.usgbcncr.org/event/GSS#sthash.cayG1J7z.dpuf

As described by the Committee,

Our team has been working hard to put together a terrific event that should provide inspiration and information while also providing an opportunity to meet with like-minded professionals such as yourself.  We have an awesome keynote speaker lined up (Charles Orgbon, the founder and CEO of Greening Forward), a choice of green school tours (Cardozo Senior High School and Dunbar High School), and lots of great learning sessions (including a workshop by last year’s dynamic keynote speaker, Stephen Ritz of Bronx Green Machine).

For more information, including the full program and schedule, visit the event website.

 

The second annual Green School Summit will also serve as the culmination of  the DC Green Schools Challenge – See more at: http://www.usgbcncr.org/event/GSS#sthash.cayG1J7z.dpuf

“Beyond Terrapin Run” Seminar

April 15, 2014

   

1000 Friends of Maryland and the Maryland Chapter of the American Planning Association are hosting a seminar titled “Beyond Terrapin Run” on May 1 in Annapolis, Maryland.  County officials, attorneys, and planners are invited to attend.

Thursday, May 1, 2014 – 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

Pip Moyer Community Center, 273 Hilltop Lane, Annapolis

Just how binding are local comprehensive plans? Beyond Terrapin Run will provide a refresher on the Terrapin Run court case and the subsequent state legislation that overturned the court’s decision. Recent court cases from Queen Anne’s and Anne Arundel counties concerning zoning consistency with the comprehensive plan will also be highlighted. AICP CM Law credits pending.

Registration fee: $35

Continental breakfast and free on-site parking provided.
Doors open at 8:30.

View Panelist Bios

View Agenda

Register


Task Force to Study Bay Acidification

April 15, 2014

An April 14 DelmarvaNow.com article reported on the passage of legislation (HB 118) that would create a task force to study acidification in the Chesapeake Bay and other Maryland Waters over the 2014 interim.  The task force must make recommendations on how to deal with the issue by January 1, 2015.  The bill was sponsored by Delegate Eric Luedtke.

Luedtke hopes the task force will allow the state to begin developing policies to address potential issues related to acidification.

“The state’s been putting millions into oyster restoration, so it doesn’t make sense to do that and not look into this issue,” Luedtke said. “We need to start figuring out how we can best help watermen adapt.”

Some watermen said they were skeptical that the task force would help stave off acidification in the bay.

“There’s nothing a group of politicians comes up with that’s going to end up helping us out. That’s just the way it goes,” Tim Devine, owner of Barren Island Oysters in Hoopers Island, said in February. “By the time it gets agreed upon, it doesn’t do anything.”

The article also noted that Governor Martin O’Malley has not yet formally indicated whether he would sign the bill although a representative from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources predicted he Governor would sign.


Baltimore Overhauls Grants Management

April 15, 2014

As reported in the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore finance officials are planning to overhaul city policies on grants management, train staff and keep grant records in a centralized database. The action follows a September study that found accounting gaps with regard to grant money that Baltimore received from state, federal and other sources.

Bill E. Harris, of Glen Burnie, was hired this month to serve as the first ever citywide grants management director. . . Harris and his deputy will lead the efforts to write new policies and procedures, using best practices from other large cities.

The goal is improve oversight of the grant application process — including whether the grant’s purpose matches the mayor’s priorities — and better control the receipt of the money and the monitoring of subrecipients, Black said. Doing so will allow the city to better “track, monitor and enforce compliance,” he said. “We’ll know what’s going on at every corner of the city.”

By putting all of the records into an internal database, finance officials also will have access to real time data, Black said.

For more information, see the full story from the Sun.

Boards of Education Release Legislative Session Summary

April 15, 2014

The Maryland Association of the Boards of Education (MABE) released their summary of the 2014 legislative session, including a description of bills that passed and failed  relating to education funding and school construction.

The Green Sheet, as the summary is named, shows where MABE joined MACo in supporting and opposing legislation, and the areas where our two organizations diverged.  MABE and MACo both opposed House Bill 727/Senate Bill 232 Procurement-Prevailing Wage-Applicability.  Unfortunately, despite the opposition, the legislation passed.   As MABE states, the result of this law is a dramatic expansion of the application of mandated prevailing wage rates, which will increase future costs of school construction projects.

However, MABE opposed HB 349 Education – Maintenance of Effort – Lease Payment Exclusion, which MACo supported. And MABE also opposed House Bill 1145 Maintenance of Effort – Qualifying Nonrecurring Costs – Methods of Approval, MACo’s initiative bill.  HB 349 would have encouraged private investment in school construction through allowing lease payments towards schools built with private funding to be excluded from other education funding calculations. HB 1145 would have created incentives for additional investment in education above required funding mandates.

The Green Sheet also list “Session Highlights,” of education legislation that passed and failed this session, including the passage of the Prekindergarten Expansion Act of 2014, and the failure of a bill to shift the burden of proof in due process hearings for children with disabilities.

highlightsFor more information, see MABE’s Green Sheet.

 

 


April is Financial Education Month

April 11, 2014

The Financial Education and Capability Commission, co-chaired by Senator Katherine Klausmeier and Delegate Dana Stein, recently released a calendar of events highlighting financial education opportunities across Maryland. Events will focus on teaching children to save, planning for retirement, saving for college, among many others. From the organization’s press release:

In celebration of National Financial Education Month, the Financial Education and Capability Commission issued a “Knowledge Pay$ Off” calendar highlighting financial education opportunities across Maryland. The calendar lists free financial education classes and events which are open to the public and provide non-biased, fact-based information on a wide variety of financial topics. “We are committed to promoting financial education programs that provide high quality financial education services, so that our residents in Maryland have access to the information they need to build a successful financial life,” states Co-Chairs Senator Katherine Klausmeier and Delegate Dana Stein.

Events are being hosted by the Maryland Bankers Association, Junior Achievement of Central Maryland, Maryland Supplemental Retirement Plans, and the College Savings Plans of Maryland.

Financial Education Calendar


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