Harford County Receives $570K State Grant to Assist Families in Need

The state of Maryland has awarded a total of $570,994 to Harford County’s Local Management Board to fund child and family focused programs in fiscal year 2018.

According to a press release,

The Local Management Board (LMB) is a grant-funded organization within the county’s Office of Children, Youth and Families, under the administration of County Executive Barry Glassman. This year’s total includes a competitive grant award of $88,000, which the LMB will use for new programs to reduce childhood hunger, empower families to escape poverty and diminish the impact of parental incarceration on children in Harford County. The funding was announced on May 31, 2017 by the Maryland’s Children’s Cabinet, through the Governor’s Office for Children as part of $18 million in statewide grant awards to Maryland’s Local Management Boards.

Specifically, this year’s total grant funding will allow the LMB to offer the following new programs in Harford County:

“Getting Ahead in a Just Getting By World” is an educational program for low income families that addresses the causes of poverty.

“Parenting Inside Out (PIO)” is an evidence-based parenting skills training program for families affected by parental incarceration.

“Project S.E.E.K. (Services to Empower and Enable Kids)” is a program aimed at reducing intergenerational incarceration. The program addresses the risk and protective factors associated with delinquency and criminal behavior at both the individual and family levels.

“Reducing Childhood Hunger” helps families become more self-sufficient, food-secure, and economically stable. Rather than offering pre-packaged/pre-weighed food, the program creates a food pantry where clients can shop for their own groceries using a point system.

Formed in 1994, Harford County’s Local Management Board brings together local child-serving agencies; local child providers; clients of services; families, and other community representatives to address the critical needs of and recommends priorities for the County.

Read the full Harford County press release for more information.

Marylanders Educated, Prosperous, and Paying High Healthcare Premiums

dflurymw0aamnqrMaryland residents are very educated and fairly prosperous when compared to other states, according to a study by Washington-based national nonprofit Prosperity Now – but we have a ways to go in terms of business and employment equity, and are last on the list in terms of high employee shares for health insurance premiums.

Maryland ranked fourth in the nation for education, out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Almost 39 percent of adults aged 25 and older hold at least a four-year college degree, compared to 30.6 percent nationally. Nearly nine out of ten Maryland students entering high school in the 2011-12 school year graduated in four years – 87 percent. More than half of Maryland college students graduate with student loan debt, and 9.9 percent of Maryland borrowers entering repayment on their student loans in 2013 defaulted within three years.

Maryland ranks 17th on the “prosperity of its residents,” according to the nonprofit. Maryland ranked third for its low percentage of households with income below the federal poverty threshold (9.2 percent, compared to 13.8 percent nationwide). While 36.8 percent of households nationwide could not subsist at the poverty level for three months if they lost their major source of income (the “liquid asset poverty rate”), in Maryland, that number is less than 24 percent. One-fifth of Maryland jobs are in low-wage occupations. Maryland scored squarely in the middle for income volatility: 21.4 percent of Marylanders indicated that their incomes varied somewhat or a lot from month to month in the previous year, compared to 20.9 percent nationally.

Maryland ranked 23rd out of all states in the businesses and jobs category, but scored significantly poorly in business and employment equity categories. Our state ranked 43rd for its ratio of unemployment of its white, non-Hispanic labor force compared to its labor force of color. We ranked 43rd in small business ownership, 46th for business value by race, and 45th for business value by gender. (“Business value by race” is defined as “the ratio of the average business value, in terms of sales, receipts or revenue, of White, non-Hispanic-owned businesses to businesses owned by workers of color”; “business value by gender” is defined similarly as the “ratio of average business value, in terms of sales and receipts, of women-owned businesses to men-owned businesses.”)

Similar disparities exist in the healthcare category. Maryland ranked 17th for healthcare, with high rankings for percentage of non-elderly with health insurance, employer-provided insurance coverage, and few adults reporting poor or fair health status. However, Maryland actually ranked 51 out of 51 for high employee shares of premiums, or the “percentage of the average employee contribution to family premiums for employer-based health insurance.” The average employee contribution in Maryland is 35.4 percent, compared to 27.2 percent nationally. Maryland ranked 47th in the “uninsured by race” category: the uninsured rate is 3.2 times as high for people of color than the white, non-Hispanic population (compared to 2.1 times nationally).

Maryland ranked 37th out of all states for homeownership and housing. We ranked 25th for homeownership, but half of all renters are “cost burdened,” meaning they spend 30 percent or more of their income on rent and utilities – placing Maryland 39th in this category. Maryland ranked 43rd for delinquent mortgage loans, with 1.8 percent of loans with payments 90 or more days overdue.

Prosperity Now describes its scorecard:

The Prosperity Now Scorecard is a comprehensive resource featuring data on family financial health and policy recommendations to help put all U.S. households on a path to prosperity. The Scorecard equips advocates, policymakers and practitioners with national, state, county and city data to jump-start a conversation about solutions and policies that put households on stronger financial footing across five issue areas: Financial Assets & Income, Businesses & Jobs, Homeownership & Housing, Health Care and Education.

Useful Links

Prosperity Now’s Maryland data

Baltimore data (March 2016)

Herald-Mail Media coverage, with Washington County data

Baltimore City Councilman Introduces ‘Tenant Legal Assistance Fund’ Bill

Baltimore City Councilman Robert Stokes has introduced a bill to help fund legal assistance for low-income tenants facing disputes with their landlords.

The Baltimore Sun reports:

If Councilman Robert Stokes’ bill is approved, the city would ask voters to amend the city charter in next year’s election to establish a Tenant Legal Assistance Fund and authorize the mayor and council to dedicate money to it.

The fund would help pay for lawyers to represent tenants in Baltimore’s rent court, where most renters arrive without attorneys to face landlords who almost always have some form of representation. It would also “provide legal assistance to low-income renters facing eviction,” assist renters in disputes with landlords and try to make renters more aware of their legal rights.

The bill calls for financing the fund with dedicated city revenue — fines and fees — plus grants from private foundations and charities.

A Baltimore Sun investigation this year showed that the city spends twice as much on processing evictions than it does on working to prevent them, as the city experiences one of the highest rates of evictions in the nation.

Baltimore spent $2.7 million in fiscal year 2016 for sheriff’s deputies to oversee nearly 70,000 eviction orders, while allocating $1.3 million for services to prevent evictions or homelessness.

The city reported preventing 68 evictions in fiscal year 2016 with the $130,000 it gave Maryland Legal Aid. It provided $35,000 to the Public Justice Center, which reported preventing 40 evictions.

There is support in City Hall for increasing funding for tenant lawyers.

Read the full article in The Baltimore Sun to learn more.

No Vacancy: Revitalizing Vacant and Blighted Properties

Homes that have been abandoned can create a range of problems from blight to harmful nuisances for counties and their communities. But fear not! New and improved tools to reduce blight and revitalize communities will be discussed at the 2017 MACo Summer Conference.

NO VACANCY: Revitalizing Vacant and Blighted Properties

Description: Abandoned and vacant properties are often a source of blight, nuisance, and – in severe cases – danger for the communities surrounding them. Fortunately, new tools are on the horizon for county officials to get a handle on these problem properties. This session will begin with an overview of a 2016 summer study conducted by MACo, the Maryland Municipal League (MML), and the Community Development Network of Maryland outlining the specific challenges local governments face related to blighted, vacant, and abandoned properties. Attendees will learn about legislation recently passed by the General Assembly to help counties, as well as how to deploy those resources.

Speakers:

  • Odette Ramos, Executive Director, Community Development Network (CDN)
  • Cindy Smith, Grants Administrator, Dorchester County
  • Daniel S. Ehrenberg, Klein Hornig LLP
  • Meredith Mishaga, Director, Foreclosure Outreach, Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR)

Moderator: The Honorable Marvin Holmes, Maryland House of Delegates

Date/Time: Thursday, August 17, 2017; 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm

The MACo summer conference is August 16-19, 2017 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City Maryland. This year’s theme is “You’re Hired!”.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

State Awarded $2.5M in HUD Housing Counseling Grants

The U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development is awarding $2.5M in housing counseling grants to Maryland.

According to ABC2 WMAR:

“This is a smart investment in helping families find and keep their homes,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “Quite simply, knowledge is power.  We know that armed with the information they need, those who receive counseling services are far more successful in buying, renting or avoiding foreclosure.”

Organizations receiving the grants include the Arundel Community Development Service, Inc. in Annapolis, the Garwyn Oaks Northwest Housing Resource Center in Baltimore and the Harford County Housing Agency in Bel Air.

These organizations provide a range of services to homeowners and prospective homeowners including pre-purchase and foreclosure prevention assistance.

Maryland Ranks 5th in Nation for Home Flipping

The Washington Post reports on how Maryland and DC are bucking the trend on home flipping, which has been on the decline nationwide but is still going strong in these two jurisdictions.

Home flipping has slowed across the country, but it’s booming in the District and Maryland. The District had the highest number of home flips in the nation in the first quarter, according to data collected by ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate data provider. Maryland ranked fifth.

For its purposes, ATTOM defines a home flip as a property that has sold for the second time within a 12-month period. It uses publicly recorded sales deed data from more than 950 counties across the nation.

Most of the flipping in Maryland occurred in Prince George’s County.

“Maryland is a little bit ahead of the game in clearing out their backlog compared to the District,” Blomquist said. “It’s in the lower-priced areas of Maryland that we’re seeing a lot of flipping.”

Baltimore city and Baltimore County came in just below Prince George’s County for the highest rate of home flips, but Baltimore city was where flippers made the most money. Baltimore had an average gross flipping return on investment of 106 percent. (ATTOM looks only at the difference between what the property cost to purchase and its sale price. It doesn’t include the cost of renovation.) The average return on investment for Maryland was 79.3 percent. The District had a 58.3 percent profit margin. The national average was 47.4 percent.

Read The Washington Post to learn more.

Baltimore Ranks Among Fastest Growing Cities for Tech Jobs

Baltimore City ranked no. 10 out of 20 on ZipRecruiter’s list of fastest growing tech markets. Time Magazine reports:

Job search site ZipRecruiter recently analyzed its database of more than 8 million active jobs, and ranked the 20 fastest-growing tech markets based on year-over-year data. Job growth for engineering, software, and IT roles may be losing steam in the Bay Area, but smaller cities are picking up the slack, the company says.

“The tech industry is no longer bound to the coast,” says ZipRecruiter’s Chief Economic Adviser, Cathy Barrera. “As a result, we’re seeing the tech industry expand out of the major metropolis areas, and into smaller regional cities that have since flown largely under the radar.”

Barrera credits government policies, like tax breaks that attract entrepreneurs and business startups for much of this growth. But the main impetus, she says, is the skyrocketing cost of living in coastal tech hubs like San Francisco and New York.

The Time’s article notes high rents and slowing markets as a reason tech jobs may be leaving Silicon Valley for smaller cities, but the Baltimore Business Journal shares some local insight on Baltimore City’s ranking:

Baltimore’s top tech jobs include project manager, software engineer, network engineer and software developer. Year-over-year growth in tech jobs here is 109 percent, along with $62,500 in early career median pay, $105,000 in mid-career median pay, $1,375 in median rent and a $196,900 median home price.

The city ranked just behind Jacksonville, Florida on Time’s list, and one spot ahead of Cincinnati. No other local cities made the list. The very top spot went to Huntsville, Alabama.

Baltimore has a growing tech community that has recently seen a number of co-working spaces and startup hubs open. By having various accelerators like Betamore, Spark Baltimore and City Garage to support tech entrepreneurs, more idea makers may feel confident about coming to Baltimore to build a company.

More information:

The 20 Hottest Cities for Tech Jobs Now (Time Magazine)

Baltimore ranks among 20 hottest cities for tech growth — and here’s why (Baltimore Business Journal)

Will You Throw the First Pitch?

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Step up and share your county’s IT needs at MACo’s Summer Conference.

This year’s MACo Conference offers attendees an opportunity to voice county government information technology interests directly to private sector providers in an informal, informational format.

Share challenges & discover capabilities in this new Tech Wednesday offering.

SWITCH PITCH” IGNITE! — Meet Your Match: Solutions to County IT Challenges

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Gain quick insight into what tech can do for county governments in this fast-paced session. County IT and management professionals will state their needs, and vendors in the Tech Expo Tradeshow will respond with their pitch for solving the top tech issues. Attendees will get a chance to learn a little about a lot of vendors in a short period of time. Listen and learn!

Example County Pitches

  1. How do I empower employees to work from home in a secure and productive manner at minimal cost to the County?
  2. There are so many mobile apps in the market. Other than reading through the reviews, how can one determine the overall quality of a mobile app?  Is there a standard to check an app’s quality? What is it?
  3. What and where have been some of the more successful public/private partnerships providing broadband to unserved rural areas?

SIGN UP HERE TO BE A PART OF THIS SESSION Space is limited – Reply by July 19.

Have a pitch, but you are not attending this session?  Contact Robin Clark Eilenberg at MACo.

Tech Wednesday Vendor List

  • AVI-SPL, Inc
  • CDW-G
  • Comcast
  • Commvault
  • Cybersecurity Association of Maryland, Inc.
  • Data Networks of America
  • ePlus Technology Inc.
  • Esri
  • Freedom Broadband
  • Fujitsu America, Inc.
  • GovDeals, Inc.
  • Juniper Networks
  • Lenovo
  • Maryland Department of Natural Resources
  • Maryland Libraries
  • Maryland Relay
  • Motorola Solutions, Inc.
  • Musco Sports Lighting
  • NIC Maryland
  • Phillips Office Solutions
  • Presidio
  • Prosys Information Systems
  • Regent Development Consulting, Inc. (RDC)
  • Ricoh USA, Inc.
  • Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc.
  • Rudolph’s Office & Computer Supply, Inc.
  • SAIC
  • ShoreScan Solutions
  • Splunk
  • Sprint
  • Supply Solutions, LLC
  • Tomi Environmental Solutions

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Mayors Poised to Oppose Federal CDBG Cuts

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is considering adopting a resolution at their annual conference to oppose cuts to the federal Community Service Block Grant (CDBG) program.

Route Fifty reports:

Local leaders have been pushing back hard against a proposal in President Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget plan to ax the grants. The block grant program, commonly called CDBG, was allotted about $3 billion in a bipartisan budget deal for the current fiscal year.

Members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors will consider adopting the resolution as the group convenes for its annual meeting this Friday through Monday.

They’ll also consider a resolution opposing the elimination of funding for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, which provides local governments with grants meant to support affordable housing. HOME was allotted about $950 million in the current budget cycle.

Both HOME and CDBG are administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

CDBG is an important source of funding for many counties as well. In March, the U.S. Conference of Mayors CEO & Executive Director Tom Cochran, National Association of Counties Executive Director Matthew Chase, and National League of Cities CEO and Executive Director Clarence E. Anthony released a joint statement condemning the cuts:

“Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds are the heart, lungs and backbone of cities and counties, small, medium and large. By eliminating or cutting them, the administration mortally wounds the places where the majority of Americans live, work and play.  Such a move risks ending or harming programs that keep Americans safe, help them find better-paying jobs, improve their health and keep public facilities in good shape. It is an attack on places the president said he wanted to help.

“The National Association of Counties and The United States Conference of Mayors visited Congress last week and solidified support for CDBG. The National League of Cities will follow next week. Together, strongly united with the full force of our organizations, we will demand from Congress, representing the people that sent them to Washington, that they take action to speak and vote against any proposal to cut or eliminate this vital and successful federal program.”

The National Association of Counties (NACo) has been urging counties to contact their members of Congress to support $3.3 billion in funding for CDBG in the FY 2018 appropriations process and it will likely be a topic of conversation at the 2017 NACo Annual Conference.

For more information:

Mayors to Consider Adopting Resolution Against Trump’s Proposed CDBG Cuts (Route Fifty)

Local Elected Officials Stand United Against Attack on Community Development Block Grants (NACo)

Commissioner Highlights Importance of CDBG and HOME at Capitol Hill Roundtable Discussion (NACo)

Trumps Proposed Budget Eliminates 66 Programs, Including “CDBG” (Conduit Street)

NACo Webinar: National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization – What Counties Need to Know

On Monday, June 26, the National Association of Counties (NACo) will host a webinar to educate stakeholders about the potential impact of changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

The upcoming webinar titled “National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization: What Counties Need to Know” will provide participants with an overview of the NFIP and how it works. Additionally, the webinar will provide an update about legislation that Congress is developing to reauthorize the program before it expires on September 30, 2017.

Monday’s webinar will feature Caitlin Berni, Vice President for Policy and Communications at Greater New Orleans, Inc., who recently testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee about the potential impact of changes to the program on communities throughout the United States.

NACo encourages local leaders from communities that participate in the NFIP to register for the webinar by clicking here.

Additional information is available on the NACo website.