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Governor O’Malley Signs Housing and Community Development Legislation to Put Maryland Neighborhoods First

ANNAPOLIS, MD (May 19, 2009) – In a ceremony at the State House earlier today, Governor Martin O’Malley signed several pieces of legislation to strengthen Maryland’s communities and support strong sustainable homeownership. The legislation signed included adjustments and enhancements to expand existing State revitalization programs administered by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), making them more accessible and useful. Additionally, new laws will better protect renters during their landlord’s foreclosure proceedings and improve access to capital for mortgage and infrastructure financing.

“This legislation enables us to support Maryland’s families and the neighborhoods in which they live,” said Governor O’Malley. “Especially during these tough economic times, we must connect citizens and communities with the resources they need to help protect their homes and improve their communities.”

HB 1546 / SB 1045 (DHCD – Community Development Administration – Financing Instruments – Mortgage Loans Guaranteed by Government-Sponsored Enterprises) will authorize DHCD to purchase or issue certain securities that are back by mortgage loans and guaranteed by government-sponsored enterprises. This legislation will enable DHCD to conduct business with federal agencies such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with the goal of keeping interest rates under the Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP) competitive with market rates to maintain the program as an attractive option to Maryland’s prospective homebuyers.

HB 1331 / SB 931 (Community Development Administration – Local Government Infrastructure Financing Program – Capital Reserve Funds) will create a capital reserve fund under DHCD’s Local Government Infrastructure Financing Program (LGIF) to enable increased financing of local government infrastructure projects. A companion piece of legislation, HB 1330 / SB 932 (Creation of a State Debt – Community Development Administration – Local Government Infrastructure Financing Program) authorizes the use of State general obligation bond proceeds in order to recapitalize the LGIF reserve fund by up to $2 million as a final contingency. LGIF provides an efficient and economical means for local governments to access affordable capital in order to finance essential infrastructure projects. It is particularly suitable for local governments that do not issue bonds routinely, for those with limited access to the capital marketplace, or for those for which managing the complexities of a public financing on their own is inconvenient and/or expensive. Since 1988, LGIF has financed $243 million in infrastructure investment, including municipal public works facilities and trucks, town halls, fire stations, police cars and emergency communication systems, and water and sewer infrastructure systems.

HB 1414 (Community Legacy Program – Neighborhood Intervention Project Applications and Financial Assistance Fund) restructures the Neighborhood Intervention component of the Community Legacy program to streamline the applications process, reducing the amount of different applications from five to two. The legislation also creates a cap on annual Neighborhood Intervention projects. Additionally, in response to recent fires in the downtown areas of Mt. Airy and Cambridge, this legislation authorizes the DHCD Secretary to set aside up to 10 percent of appropriated funds for emergency projects. The Community Legacy program was created by legislation passed in 2001 in order to encourage comprehensive approaches to revitalization investment in Maryland’s older existing communities. Over the life of the program, Community Legacy provided $49,193,000 in assistance funds that have leveraged more than $318 million in other funds, a ratio of more than 6:1.

HB 1456 (Linked Deposit Program – Loans to Minority Business Enterprises) alters the application process of the Linked Deposit Program to allow Minority Business Enterprises (MBE) to apply directly to the banks that participate in the program. The legislation also prohibits an MBE from being decertified during the term of the Linked Deposit loan if the MBE is successful and grows. The Linked Deposit program is statewide initiative designed to stimulate opportunities for certified MBEs by reducing the interest rate on loans they obtain from participating banks, enabling a qualified minority business enterprise access to affordable capital in order to grow and expand their business.

Earlier this month, the Governor also signed into law HB 1399 (Department of Housing and Community Development – Neighborhood and Community Assistance Program – Individual Donor Eligibility – Tax Credit) which expands DHCD’s Community Investment Tax Credit Program (CITC) to enable nonprofit organizations under CITC to market tax credits received under the program to individuals in addition to businesses. This enhancement makes it easier for nonprofits to raise private contributions that will directly benefit Maryland’s lower income families and communities.

“This legislative package will provide DHCD and its programs with more flexibility to improve our communities and the quality of life of their residents,” said DHCD Secretary Raymond A. Skinner. “These enhancements will enable us to put Maryland’s neighborhoods first and support the growth of our cities and towns.”

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development works with partners to finance housing opportunities and revitalize great places for Maryland citizens to live, work and prosper. To learn more about DHCD and its programs, visit www.mdhousing.org.

For more information:

Erlene Wilson
Director, Office of Communications and Marketing
410-514-7704
wilson@mdhousing.org

Rosa Cruz
Deputy Director, Office of Communications and Marketing
410-514-7712
cruz@mdhousing.org

Andy DeVilbiss
Public Information Officer, Office of Communications and Marketing
410-514-7710
devilbiss@mdhousing.org

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