Western Maryland Housing Authorities Awarded Federal Affordable Housing Funds

A handful of housing authorities in Western Maryland received funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Public Housing Capital Fund to modernize and improve public housing. The Cumberland Times-News reports that U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen announced funding for the following communities: • Housing Authority of the City of Cumberland, $867,781. • Housing Authority of the City of Frostburg, $174,638. • Housing Authority of Allegany County, $152,795. • Frederick Housing Authority, $824,403. • Hagerstown…

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DHCD Announces Application Round for State Revitalization Programs

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has announced the FY 2020 application round for six State Revitalization Programs: Project C.O.R.E Community Legacy Strategic Demolition Fund - Statewide (all non-Baltimore City) National Capital Strategic Economic Development Fund Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Initiative SEED: Community Development Anchor Institution Program. These programs offer funding to support various types of revitalization projects, such as housing, small business attraction and retention, arts and entertainment facilities, green spaces, etc.…

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2019 End of Session Wrap-Up: Housing and Community Development

An overview of MACo’s advocacy on housing and community development legislation in the 2019 General Assembly. Under the umbrella of housing and community development, MACo advocates in support of legislation that advances local efforts to address public and affordable housing, blight, foreclosure, and community development. Follow links for more coverage on Conduit Street and MACo’s Legislative Database.  Homeless Veteran and Domestic Assualt Survivor Housing Grant Program MACo supported the establishment of a local housing voucher grant program to…

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Fixing Food Deserts – Now There’s an App for That

Areas with limited food options (commonly known as "food deserts") pose a challenge to local government planning and health departments.  A Route Fifty article (2019-03-28) highlighted one potential food distribution solution being used in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. The article described how the Allegheny County Housing Authority has partnered with  Pittsburgh-based nonprofit 412 Food Rescue to collect edible food that is either slightly flawed or just past its sell-by (but not expiration) date and distribute it for…

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NACo Releases Affordable Housing Toolkit

The National Association of Counties (NACo) has released an Affordable Housing Toolkit for counties. In 2016, over ONE-THIRD of all households were overburdened by housing costs. This phenomenon does not exist solely in large counties; rather, medium-sized and small counties in every region of the country are also struggling with unaffordable housing costs. Fortunately, each county is uniquely equipped with its own set of tools to help residents find housing they can afford. NACo's Affordable Housing Toolkit…

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City Gears Up to Demolish Vacant Houses

The Baltimore City Housing Commission has committed to demolishing over 2,000 vacant homes by the summer of 2020. The goal is to reduce the number of vacant properties to below 15,000 -- a level that hasn't been seen in over a decade. The City has struggled with vacant properties and has been demolishing them at a pace of 500 per year. Some progress was made with these past efforts, but necessary steps to prepare for…

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City Housing Department Targets Four Zones for Community Development

The Baltimore City Housing Department is launching a campaign to address blight, encourage development, and strengthen neighborhoods in areas outside of the the waterfront. The Baltimore Sun reports: Under the framework, the housing department is creating impact investment areas in which housing officials will work with community members to define a vision for what the neighborhoods could become, draw up a 10-year plan, put together a capital budget and develop a strategy for creating more affordable…

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Opportunity Zones – Big Tool, Big Questions?

Federal tax reforms from late 2017 created an "Opportunity Zone" program - will these incentives be the key to revitalizing underdeveloped areas? The recent creation of federal Opportunity Zones called for selection of targeted census tracts for development incentives. As Maryland and other states have implemented their selection, the process of refining the processes for engaging new employers and activity within their bounds. See the map of currently approved Opportunity Zones. See Conduit Street coverage…

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Legislation Introduced Allowing Montgomery County Inspector General to Investigate Housing Commission

A Bethesda Beat article (2019-01-18) reported the Maryland Senator Ben Kramer has introduced legislation that would authorize the Montgomery County Inspector General to investigate the County's Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC). In the article Kramer, stated that he introduced the legislation after receiving complaints about HOC from both constituents and HOC employees. Some of the complaints stemmed from a dispute between HOC and Macedonia Baptist Church over a historically-black cemetery. HOC Chair Jackie Simon questioned the need…

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Shutdown Snarls Rural Broadband Expansion

In today’s world, internet connectivity is no longer a luxury—it is a necessity. Access to affordable internet, broadband, wireless, and cellular services is an essential component of a county’s economic development and the socio-economic advancements of its residents. Residents benefit from increased economic growth, improved labor market access and outcomes, access to better health care, enhanced civic participation, enriched education opportunities, improved quality of life, and overall competitive and vibrant communities. And while there is…

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