The 2019 Maryland Legislative Session ended on April 8 with a number of victories for affordable housing advocates. The final 2020 Budget passed by the legislature includes $27 million for Rental Housing Works, $16.5 million for the State Rental Housing Program, and $6 million for the Partnership Rental Housing Program. These funds will ensure that key affordable rental housing programs can continue to accept new applications and will grow the momentum for even greater successes in the years to come.
All the housing advocates’ priority asks successfully passed in the legislature. The funding victories were in large part due to the concerted efforts of advocates and to the support and leadership of Appropriations Chair Maggie McIntosh and Budget and Tax Chair Nancy King, along with Speaker Pro Temp and Capital Budget Subcommittee Chair Adrienne Jones and Senate Capital Budget Chair Doug Peters.
NLIHC state partner Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition (MAHC) called on the legislature to fully fund the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) rental housing programs. The Department received $54 million, an increase of $3 million over the prior year, for the very successful Rental Housing Works loan program and other critical programs.
MAHC also worked to ensure the passage of several other important affordable housing bills. One (HB 1045/SB 917) will require local governments to incorporate housing elements in their Comprehensive Plans, including an affordable housing needs assessment. Miranda Darden, executive director at MAHC, testified in support of the bill in February. Delegate Brooke Lierman sponsored this important law to ensure local governments fully assess their affordable housing needs.
Governor Larry Hogan announced an expansion of the Maryland Opportunity Zone program on January 3. The Opportunity Zone Omnibus Bill (SB 581) that passed this session will allocate $56.5 million to attract new businesses, development and investment in areas in need, directly benefiting the state’s workforce. The bill also includes state low-income housing tax credits for workforce housing in opportunity zones. MAHC expressed eagerness to work with DHCD on the regulations to implement this new program.
For more information, contact Miranda Darden at the Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition (MAHC) at: firstname.lastname@example.org