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

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

 

Community Development Week! Check out these awesome events!

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October 17 – 10:00am – Building from Strength in Baltimore City –
Join Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth Holt to kick off Community Development Week in West Baltimore. Take a walking tour of historic Pennsylvania Avenue to learn about the fantastic history and the strength of West Baltimore. Location: Upton Community Empowerment and Wellness Center 1429 McCulloh Street, Baltimore MD 21217  Register Here 
October 18 – 10:30am – Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Maryland Heritage Areas in Prince George’s County – Learn about the community and economic development impact of Maryland’s thirteen Heritage Areas, and take a tour of the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area in Prince George’s County.  Location:  Anacostia Trails Heritage Area new offices at the Pyramid Building, 4318 Gallatin Street, Hyattsville, MD 20781 Register Here  
October 20 – 4:00pm-Façade Improvements in America’s Coolest Small Town– Join the Berlin Main Street to celebrate the new Façade Improvements along the Main Street. Hear from local businesses about the importance and impact of the Main Street, and take a tour of this cute town, designated as America’s Coolest Small Town in 2014 by Budget Travel. End with happy hour at the historic Atlantic Hotel. Location: Berlin Welcome Center, 14 S. Main Street, Berlin, MD 21811 Register Here 
October 21 – noon – Rally to pass Question J in Baltimore City! – Get ready for early voting and Election Day with the Housing for All Coalition (which CDN coordinates). Question J is the initiative that if passed will create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund in Baltimore City. Take a tour of a beautiful development that houses and serves low to moderate income families. It is an example of the types of development the Affordable Housing Trust Fund could fund.
Location:  Lillian Jones Apartments, 1303 Greenmount Avenue, Baltimore MD 21202 Register Here
October 22 – 10:00am – Housing Counseling and Community Action in Southern Maryland– Join the Southern Maryland Tri-County Community Action Committee in learning about their housing counseling work, observe a homebuyer workshop, and tour their long time mixed income housing projects. Community Action is designed to lift families out of poverty. Location: Yardley Hills Community Center, 700 Yardley Drive, Prince Frederick, MD 20678  Register Here 
October 24 – 4:00pm – Main Street and Arts District in Hagerstown – Join us for the Grand Opening of Hagerstown’s entrepreneur center, called the “Burobox” on the Main Street and the Arts District!  Take a tour of the Center and the surrounding area. The Center is a perfect place to launch a new business in the heart of a growing downtown area. Location: 60 W. Washington Street, Hagerstown, MD 21740  Register Here
October 25 – 10:00am – Creative Re-use for Affordable Housing in Elkton– Learn about how important the state’s Rental Housing Works program is to Maryland by visiting a beautiful affordable senior residence in the heart of Elkton. The development is built within the old Cecil County jail!  Location:  214 North Street, Elkton, MD 21921 Register Here
October 26 – 10:00am – Neighborhood Revitalization in Bay Brook region– Learn about the cross jurisdictional planning with Curtis Bay (Baltimore City) and Brooklyn Park (Anne Arundel County) and what it takes for the entire community to plan and realize their vision. A panel discussion will follow a driving tour of the area. The panel discussion includes leaders from Brooklyn Curtis Bay and Brooklyn Park, Arundel Federal Savings Bank, and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta which has a major announcement. Stay for CDN’s Annual Meeting starting at noon. Location: Chesapeake Arts Center, 194 Hammonds Lane, Brooklyn Park, MD 21225 Register Here 
October 26 – noon – CDN’s Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon – Celebrate the work of CDN and Maryland’s entire community development industry. This free event includes CDN’s Awards of Excellence, report to the members, CDN’s proposed legislative agenda, and Keynote Speaker Michael E. Busch, Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates. Location: Chesapeake Arts Center, 194 Hammonds Lane, Brooklyn Park, MD 21225 Register Here
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