CDN Executive Director Odette Ramos receives Dickens Warfield Award

Community Development Network’s Odette Ramos Honored by Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc.

Dickens Warfield Fair Housing Award honors those who have demonstrated leadership and commitment to fair housing principles

Baltimore, Md.  – Odette Ramos, executive director of Community Development Network of Maryland, has received the 2017 Dickens Warfield Fair Housing Award from Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc.  (BNI). The award is presented each year to three individuals who have demonstrated leadership and commitment to fair housing principles.

As a part of her work for the Community Development Network, Ramos also helps lead the HOME Act Coalition, which advocates for legislation to ban housing discrimination based on source of income, which can include federal housing vouchers.

“I am honored to be one of the recipients of this wonderful award this year,” said Ramos. “I thank BNI for their fierce commitment to fair housing all across the state. I look forward to continuing to work with them and other advocates to promote fair housing policies and strong, safe and diverse neighborhoods.”

BNI works for justice in housing across Maryland, focusing on fair housing policies and tenant-landlord issues.

Two other individuals received the same award – Antonia Fasanelli, executive director of the Homeless Persons Representations Project, Inc., and C. Matthew Hill, staff attorney for the Public Justice Center – also for their work on the HOME Act..


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(from left to right, Lou Pierson- BNI Board Chair, Antonia Fasanelli- Homeless Persons Representation Project, Odette Ramos- CDN, Matt Hill – Public Justice Center, Rob Strupp – BNI Executive Director

Southern MD Tri-County Community Action works to alleviate poverty in Southern MD

Southern Maryland Tri-County Community Action Committee, Inc.  (SMTCCAC, Inc.), located in Hughesville, Maryland, was established as a private non-profit corporation in 1965.  Under the laws of the State of Maryland and the federal government, SMTCCAC is the designated agency to combat poverty and serve individuals and families who have low-incomes residing in Charles, St. Mary’s and Calvert counties.  Our mission— “ to provides services for eligible citizens that alleviate the causes and conditions of poverty, promote upward mobility and enrich the quality of life”. Service programs include:  Head Start, Housing Counseling , Career Training/Commercial Driver’s License,  Maryland Energy Assistance, Emergency Food Assistance, Adult Medical Daycare, Senior Companion and Affordable Rental Housing.  In 2016, services were provided to 21,800 consumers. To address the issues of self sufficiency the agency operates with a budget of about $8.5 million  dollars.



CDN releases vacant, blighted, abandoned properties study

CDN, in cooperation with the Maryland Municipal League and the Maryland Association of Counties, conducted a survey of counties and municipalities to try to get a handle on Maryland’s challenges with vacant, abandoned and blighted properties.

The results of the study were released January 17, 2017 during a briefing before the House Environment and Transportation Committee.

See the report here: CDN_policy_vacant property survey results_final_designed_Jan2017

As a result of the survey, and conversations in working groups over the summer, CDN is proposing four pieces of legislation to address vacant, blighted and abandoned properties:

Land Bank Reform: This legislation makes changes to the current Land Bank law enabling counties to create Land Banks for blight elimination purposes. The legislation includes enabling counties to release liens and for the Land Bank to self-fund.

Foreclosed Property Registry changes: This legislation adds a requirement that banks must file with the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation notice of foreclose at the Order to Docket stage of the foreclosure, rather than at the end of the foreclosure process.

Definition of vacant and abandoned property: Legislation that defines “vacant and abandoned” property and provides for a certification of a vacant property.

Tax Sale Reform: This enabling legislation reforms the tax sale system to eliminate the certificate process to reduce the number of families who become victims of tax sale and help ensure properties are returned to productive use (this may become a summer study).

To see CDN’s full policy agenda, click here. CDN_Policy Agenda_proposed January 2017