From the Field: Maryland Legislature Passes Wins for Housing and Community Development

The Maryland General Assembly recently wrapped up their 2018 legislative session, a positive one for affordable housing and community development. The 2019 budget includes $20 million for Rental Housing Works (RHW), a subordinate gap financing program used solely for projects financed by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Multifamily Bond Program and 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credits. An additional $5 million may be authorized to RHW if bond proceeds exceed the budgeted amount. The DHCD also received full funding for other rental housing program funds and a $2 million increase for the Community Legacy Program, which provides local governments and community development organizations funding for community strengthening and revitalization, for a total of $8 million.

The legislature approved language in the budget bill that requires DHCD to complete an assessment of the affordable rental housing needs across the state, including where housing and what age groups are most in need. The Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition (MAHC), an NLIHC state partner, expressed hopes this information will help inform future Qualified Allocation Plans and address the need for additional senior housing. DHCD must also prepare a plan to preserve existing affordable housing to continue to serve low income residents in the future. Preservation is becoming increasingly important as older properties’ subsidies and affordability restrictions begin to expire.

As for other legislation, MAHC opposed HB580 (Prohibited Lease Provisions–Late Fees for Tenants Receiving Government Benefits), which did not pass. MAHC supported the successful establishment of the Community Development Fund (CDF), designed to finance affordable housing and community development. The CDF does not yet have a funding source, but legislation is expected to follow next year to establish one. Additionally, the “Heritage Rehabilitation Tax Credit Act” passed, making state historic tax credits transferrable and refundable for affordable housing projects that are also receiving an allocation of Low Income Housing Tax Credits. The bill also authorized an additional 5% tax credit for commercial projects that have an affordable housing component.

For more information, contact Miranda Darden at the Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition at: mdarden@mdahc.org