Olszewski Announces Plans for County Department of Housing and Community Development

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced plans to introduce legislation that would create Baltimore County’s first Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).

The new DHCD would help ensure access to affordable housing, provide housing stability support, and develop stronger neighborhoods by providing community revitalization supports in a timely and efficient manner.

From the press release:

“Access to quality housing is a fundamental right and we must do whatever we can to build stronger, more resilient neighborhoods across Baltimore County,” Olszewski said. “Amid this pandemic, we’ve provided millions for eviction prevention and other social supports, but we recognize that our work is just beginning. As we plan our long-term recovery, this new department will help Baltimore County ensure the availability of high-quality, affordable housing and continue building capacity in our communities to empower residents to build better lives for themselves and their families.”

Baltimore County’s new Department of Housing and Community Development will improve coordination, eliminate overlapping functions, and streamline planning for key outcomes that are currently dispersed across multiple departments. The components of the new DHCD will include:

  • Baltimore County’s housing stability efforts, such as eviction and foreclosure prevention, tenant counseling, legal services, and benefits navigation support
  • The Office of Housing, which supports efforts to provide affordable housing opportunities for low income families while furthering fair housing efforts and addressing housing discrimination. This office also includes the County’s federally-funded housing inspectors
  • The Neighborhood Improvement Division, which manages state and federal grants for housing development, homeownership services, home modification and rehabilitation programs, and grants to partners
  • The Office of Homeless Services, which works with public and private stakeholders to address and prevent people from experiencing homelessness
  • Oversight of the County’s Voluntary Compliance Agreement (VCA) with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  • Supporting the work of the County’s Commission on Disabilities

The new Department will manage more than $120 million in state and federal grant funding. Olszewski will include $850,000 in the FY 22 operating budget for the new Department, which will be presented to the Baltimore County Council on April 15, 2021.

Stay tuned to Conduit Street for the latest.