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!


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
Special Thanks to our Sponsors!

Awards of Excellence: Nominate a person or organization for this honor!

Nominate an organization or person for 
CDN’s Awards of Excellence!
Deadline September 30, 2016!

Each year the Community Development Network of Maryland honors organizations engaging in extraordinary community development work. The deadline is September 30, 2016 at close of business. Awardees will be announced during our Annual Meeting on October 26.

Please take time to nominate an organization or person who exhibits excellence in the following categories:
Legacy: This award is presented to a person for his/her lifetime achievement in and commitment to the community development field.
Innovation: This award goes to an entity that has implemented a practice that reflects a new way of thinking about the problem to be solved. We are looking for non-conventional approaches that are innovative within the context of entity size and geographic area.
Collaboration: This award goes to an entity that has engaged in a collaboration that creatively connects groups within the community development industry. We will highlight distinctive, creative collaborations where the entity, working with one or more partners, has created new connections among organizations that were not previously connected.
Advocacy: The Lorraine Sheehan Memorial Advocacy Award goes to an entity or person who has played a significant role in policy change or advocating for action on a specific issue at the local or statewide level.
Impact: This award given to an entity has had significant impact in the community or the lives the entity serves.
If you have any questions please contact me at

CDN of Maryland – Housing Counseling Summer Update

August 15, 2016

Greetings CDN Members and Friends:

We trust your summer is going well. We have a lot to share with you and this issue of our e-newsletter includes some important updates and information about the following:  Place-Based Training Opportunities, Promoting the Work Community Development Organizations (NHRC and CDN Survey), CDN Achievements, Membership Information, Community Development Week (October 17th-26th) and highlights from 2015, Job and Funding Opportunities, Proposed Changes to Housing Counselor Documentation, and more.


CDN Hosts NeighborWorks Place Based Training (Frederick, Maryland)

Please register for the NeighborWorks Training “HO310 Financial Coaching: Helping Clients Reach Their Goals”, September 26th and 27th.  Participate in this course to continue the process for certification in Financial Capability counseling. This is the one of three trainings required for certification.

From the Course Description: “An emerging field, Financial Coaching supports clients to work towards goals and maximize their financial potential. Financial coaches facilitate, motivate, listen and guide individuals to tap their capability to change financial habits and open the door to reach financial security. In this 2-day course participants will learn how coaching differs from and complements financial education, knowledge sharing and counseling.”

CDN has negotiated a registration fee for this training is only $100.00. You may pay process your registration and payment  online or by mailing a business check or money order to CDN Maryland Post Office Box 22426, Baltimore, MD 21203.  Space is limited to 20.

The course begins each day at 8:30 a.m. and ends at approximately 4:00 p.m. The address is:  The Arc of Frederick County, 620-A Research Court, Frederick, MD 21703. We can provide information about accommodation for those wishing to stay in Frederick. If you are interested or have questions, please email Mary at .

HUD Offers Distressed Asset Stabilization Program (“DASP”) Enhancements Seminar:

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) will be holding a seminar on Distressed Asset Stabilization Program (“DASP”) single family mortgage loan sales and recently announced program enhancements.

Date: Wed, Aug 17, 2016, Time: 1:00pm to 5:00pm (Check in begins at Noon)

Location: Philadelphia HUD Home Ownership Center, Wanamaker Building, 100 Penn Square East Philadelphia, PA 19107 or Meeting with Online Viewing. To R.S.V.P. please contact HUD’s Transaction Specialist at, or call 1-844-709-0763



Now it is time to let all our national and state policymakers know.

Fiscal Impacts Survey- Please Respond by August 19th:

National Housing Resource Center (NHRC) is working on documenting the impact of ending NFMC funding and the current state of housing counseling funding.  They are also tracking if agencies have closed their doors or stopped providing housing counseling services.  Please also report if the work your organizations doing in communities is growing. It is a short (20 question) survey. They will use this information to alert policy makers to the changes in the housing counseling world. Here is the link to the survey.

CDN’s “Return on Investment Study!”- Please Respond by August 30th:

Housing counseling is a cost-effective program that benefits counseled homeowners, investors, state and local governments, and communities that have been damaged by the housing crisis. It is critical to get your information about the impact your organization has in Maryland.

Please Complete CDN’s “Return on Investment Study!” Please look below for the survey that most reflects your organization’s mission. The time you spend will definitely be worth it. As of today, only 7 housing counseling organizations have completed the survey. ALL must complete it to get an accurate picture of investment and value of housing counseling work across the state. The survey was modified to take out the need to report data by Zip code.

Here are he links for the Housing Counseling survey and programming.

  • First-Time Homebuyer Counseling And Foreclosure Prevention Counseling Please provide information social, economic and geographic distribution of the households served.  This survey can be accessed here:
  • Social and Community Programming. We would like to take inventory of all of the program types offered by CDOs throughout Maryland.  This survey can be accessed here:

You may also contact us and we will complete it with you, just email us and we will call you are your convenience.


It’s Membership Drive Time!

Please become a member or renew your membership today to be a part of strengthening our industry.  Paid members benefit directly from CDN’s work to promote, strengthen and advocate for Maryland’s community development industry. For your convenience you may renew or become a member today online or download this form and send in a check with your membership contribution.

With member support, CDN has accomplished a lot, here’s a partial list: Implemented  our 2nd Annual Community Development Week which highlighted various community development activities around the state and gained significant media attention (see our website for all the details and media here)

  • Successfully advocated for a 2nd year of state funding for the $700,000 Nonprofit Assistance Fund, which provides operating and capacity building dollars to community development nonprofits throughout the State.
  • Advocated for and obtained increases in dollars for Community Legacy, Strategic Demolition and Smart Growth Investment Fund, Neighborhood Business Works and the Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Initiative, all of which are utilized by our community development nonprofit and public agency members to revitalize neighborhoods.
  • Supported and advocated for legislation to enhance the community development industry including our Community Development Fund, modifying the local resolution requirements for DHCD funding applications, and others.
  • Managed a successful merger with the Maryland Housing Counselors network to assist in continuing the important work of supporting Maryland’s housing counselors through advocacy, training and capacity building.
  • Provided four NeighborWorks trainings for capacity building in Prince George’s County and enhancing skills of our state’s housing counselors, while also providing the National Development Council’s Housing Finance training in partnership with our counterparts in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and a workshop for jurisdictions to learn more about receivership as a blight elimination strategy.

Join us in this important work for our communities. Together we can do more!  For your convenience you may renew or become a member today online or download this form and send in a check with your membership contribution.


3rd Annual Maryland Community Development Week is October 17-26, 2016

We kick off the week on October 17th with Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth Holt in Baltimore City. The week’s activities will focus on community development initiatives and workshops around the state focusing on

  • Neighborhood revitalization
  • Housing Counseling and Family Stability
  • Affordable Housing
  • Small business development
  • Main Streets

On October 26th please join housing counselors across the state for our Annual Meeting Luncheon and Awards Ceremony in Brooklyn Park. Our keynote speaker this year is the Honorable Michael Busch, Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates!

We are still building the week’s program, please let us know if you are planning any open houses, ribbon cuttings, ground breakings, tours, events, etc. during this important 10 days!  We’ll list everything going on around the state!  Please let us know about your events! Contact


Job Opportunity

 St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center is seeking a Director of Housing Counseling!

Company Overview: The mission of St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center is to create, preserve and maintain equal housing opportunities for low and moderate-income people, primarily in Baltimore City, and to encourage and support strong and diverse neighborhoods.

Job Summary:  The Director oversees all elements of the Counseling Department, including program development, execution, analysis, evaluation, innovation / refinement and internal and external partnership management.    (Click here to read full job description.)


National and Local Partner News and Updates

White House Celebration of National Homeownership Month

On June 21st, HUD Secretary Julian Castro celebrated National Homeownership Month with housing counseling agencies from across the country during the “Dare to Own the Dream” event at the White House. They highlighted families who worked with HUD-Certified housing counseling agencies to purchase homes. CDN members Centro de Apoyo Familiar (CAF) and Salisbury Neighborhood Housing Services were highlighted! There were several organizations from Maryland there to celebrate and cheer on our colleagues, including representatives from Housing Initiative Partnership (HIP), Comprehensive Housing Assistance Inc. (CHAI), Druid Heights CDC, United Communities Against Poverty (UCAP), Centro de Apoyo Familiar, Salisbury NHS, and Harford County Dept. of Housing and Community Development. CDN was there to support!  It was a great opportunity! (See pictures and streaming video here.)


From National Housing Resource Center: Proposed Changes to Housing Counselor Documentation

HUD has posted a draft 9911 form, which eventually will be used to document that homeownership counseling took place.  The densely worded form lays out what the counselor certifies has been covered in the counseling session and the client certifies the topics covered in the session.  The form also provides a space to acknowledge any client fees paid to the agency either to the counseling agency or will be paid at closing. Once it is finalized, this form will be a routine part of pre-purchase and refinance counseling.  Please send us your feedback.

Link to the draft 9911 form:


From Civil Justice Inc.

Please take a look at this recent announcement from Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about updated existing protections for homeowners and finalized new protections. Servicers may have to review a delinquent loan for modification more than once over the life of the loan, and servicers may need to communicate more with successors of interest after the death of a borrower of their options. Read more here:


Funding Opportunities

The Operating Assistance Grants (Nonprofit Assistance Fund, Technical Assistance Grants, and Main Street Improvement Fund) grants rounds are now open! Applications Due September 15 at 5pm. In order to obtain an Operating Assistance Grant application, you must log in to the Department’s Project Portal: Once logged in, you can access the application by selecting “Operating Assistance Grants” from the “View My Opportunities” button.

As always, please let me know if you have questions or thoughts on any of the items in this e-newsletter.  We want to hear from you!


Odette Ramos, Executive Director

Community Development Network of Maryland

Operating Assistance Grant Round Open! Applications due Sept 15

The Operating Assistance Grants (Nonprofit Assistance Fund, Technical Assistance Grants, and Main Street Improvement Fund) grants rounds are now open!

Applications Due September 15 at 5pm

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development is committed to assisting Maryland’s local governments and nonprofit organizations build capacity to achieve their community revitalization and economic development goals.  The Department has consolidated three operating assistance programs into one Operating Assistance Grants application for FY17 funding: the Main Street Improvement Program, the Nonprofit Assistance Fund and the Technical Assistance Grants.

Applications are due September 15 at 5:00 pm. Program funds, totaling $1,000,000, are available as follows: Main Street Improvement Program: $150,000; the Nonprofit Assistance Fund: $700,000 and the Technical Assistance Grant: $150,000.

As long as the applicant meets program eligibility requirements, they may submit an application for funding from each of the available programs.


In order to obtain an Operating Assistance Grant application, you must log in to the Department’s Project Portal: Once logged in, you can access the application by selecting “Operating Assistance Grants” from the “View My Opportunities” button.

Please read the entire application to determine your eligibility to apply and eligible project activities. All applications and required documents should be submitted electronically via the Project Portal System.  All materials MUST be provided as outlined in the Required Documents checklist by the application deadline; those applicants with incomplete applications will be invited to apply in the FY18 round, assuming funding is available.


For questions concerning the application or Required Documents please contact Karen Forbes at 410-209-5809 or

For questions concerning DHCD’s Project Portal or technical issues with application submission please contact Bryan Holtzapple at 410-209-5832 or