Baltimore City Announces Two Initiatives to Support Housing

This week, Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott announced two initiatives to support housing in the city. 

Baltimore City Mayor Brandon M. Scott recently unveiled two new affirmative steps Baltimore City is taking to combine affordable housing crisis. First, the city will be enhancing their Baltimore City Employee Homeownership program; and second, the Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services (MOHS), and the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Programs (MORP) are announcing a nearly $30 million investment in a Housing Accelerator Fund.

Baltimore City Employee Homeownership Program Enhancements

Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott
Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott

Middle neighborhoods, often described as stable and diverse communities, form the backbone of Baltimore City. These areas are neither exceedingly affluent nor distressed, and they play a crucial role in maintaining urban stability and community well-being. Recognizing the importance of these neighborhoods, the administration has allocated $9.7 million specifically for programs that support middle neighborhoods, part of an over $100 million investment of ARPA funding dedicated to housing.

According to the press release: 

“Home ownership has always been something that changes the game for working families – serving as a threshold to help support families’ futures and build generational wealth,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “I want everyone to have the opportunity to own their own piece of our great city of Baltimore. Owning a home means building a community, building wealth, and building a legacy. We’ve made so many investments in ensuring that homeownership is still an achievable dream in Baltimore, and I wanted to ensure that Baltimore City’s own employees are supported in pursuing it. This enhancement is just one more way that we’re building a more equitable and thriving Baltimore.”

As of this year the city has 156 middle neighborhoods, and the middle neighborhoods strategy is directed towards 26 neighborhoods in five carefully selected areas where vacancy rates are low, homeownership rates are above 50%, and over 80% of the residents are Black.

Aligning with this already established strategy, the Mayor announced that for the next year (through September 2024), the Baltimore City Employee Homeownership Program will be unlimited in number, offering a $5,000 incentive towards down payment and closing costs across the city. The program will offer a doubled Incentive for select neighborhoods. Homes purchased by city employees in 205 of our most affordable neighborhoods will receive an incentive of $10,000.

This one-time enhancement underscores Mayor Scott’s commitment to investing in our communities and strengthening Baltimore City’s workforce. By encouraging homeownership, the City is not only investing in the city’s neighborhoods but also in the futures of employees and their families. As one of the city’s largest employers, Baltimore City Government has the ability and the responsibility to assist in generating wealth.

Housing Accelerator Fund

Together, the Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services (MOHS), and the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Programs (MORP) are announcing a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) beginning September 6, 2023.  This is an investment of nearly $30 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds – $15.2 million from the City’s American Rescue Plan Act State and Local Recovery funds (SLFRF) and $14.7 million from the Home Investment Partnerships Program American Rescue Plan Act funds.

According to the press release:

“This Housing Accelerator Fund will genuinely change lives by helping produce the one guaranteed thing we know reduces housing insecurity: more affordable housing,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “With this ARPA funding, we’re investing historic amounts in efforts to create permanent supportive housing that will help those who are either experiencing or at risk of homelessness. This Housing Accelerator Fund will not only grow our housing supply, but help eliminate the challenges that so many of our most vulnerable Baltimoreans continue to face.”

The NOFA proposes maximum awards for the construction of affordable housing of up to $250,000 per unit for permanent supportive housing and up to $100,000 per unit for traditional affordable housing. Additionally, projects will be eligible for awards of up to $500,000 for predevelopment costs associated with the funded units. An information session to discuss the components of the NOFA wills take place on September 14, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. Register here.

The Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) has been assisting the City of Baltimore in advancing solutions like the Housing Accelerator Fund to improve the lives of vulnerable people. Within the next 30 days, DHCD and MOHS will also launch a Supportive Housing Institute, coupled with early-stage predevelopment grants of up to $150,000 per project, to help build the pipeline of those providing permanent supportive housing solutions in Baltimore.

Read more about the Baltimore City Employee Homeownership Program Enhancements. 

Read more about the Housing Accelerator Fund.